1. Everything You Need to Know About The A Levels

Everything You Need to Know About The A Levels

Published on 22 Jan 2021

What are A Levels?

The Advanced Level qualification, also known as A Levels, is a well known UK subject-based qualification for students aged 16 and above. Students who take up this course will study over the course of two years which will lead them to qualifications recognised for entrance into the higher education institutions in the UK and many other countries worldwide. In order to enter most higher education institutions, students are required to take up at least three subjects in the A Levels. Even though it is a UK qualification, schools across the world offer A Levels as this qualification is popularly known among most universities across the globe. The AS Levels was reformed and implemented between 2016 and 2018 where it is now a separate qualification. Even though AS Levels equates to the first year of study of the full two-year A Level programme, most universities do not consider AS Levels to be adequate as an entry on its own. 


How do A Levels work?

Admissions are usually dependent on the students’ GCSE grades. Therefore, students are able to choose which A Levels subjects they want to study when they are doing their GCSEs. In order to take up the A Levels subjects, students must have at least five GCSEs at grades 4 to 9/A* to C. There are some occasions where students will need a 5/B or above at GCSE to take up certain subjects that they want to study during A Levels. However, some may vary depending on the schools or universities that the students will be enrolled in. A Levels courses take over two years to complete and students will need to study three or more subjects to fulfil the requirements. Some students even take up more subjects if they are planning to enrol in a more competitive university such as Cambridge or Oxford, or courses such as medicine or law. 


What subjects do A Levels students take?

There are over 80 A Levels subjects to choose from. There are no compulsory subjects as students are free to choose subjects that they are interested in studying or that they feel will benefit them in their future studies or career. As mentioned earlier, students will study three A Levels subjects. They can choose from a variety of subjects such as English Language and Literature, French, Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Arts, IT, Economics, Geography, and Psychology. There are also Modern Foreign Languages such as French, Spanish and German. Students are encouraged to enquire about the list of A Levels subjects offered at a particular institution before sending in their application. 


What is the difference between A Levels and AS Levels?

Both of these courses are similarly taught, however, for A Levels, it takes a longer time period to complete as it is more advanced compared to the AS Levels. For AS Levels, it is only similar to the first year of an A Levels programme. In 2017, changes were introduced gradually as AS Levels results used to count towards the student’s final A-Levels results. However, due to the changes made, all subjects have moved to the new system. 


Why choose A Levels?

This course is a great choice for students who have a clearer idea of what they want to excel in and what subjects they want to study. It is a course that allows students to pick the subjects that they are more passionate about. For instance, if a student is stronger in English Literature and weaker in Science, he is able to forgo the subject to focus on the other subject. As the A Levels emphasises on the importance of the final written examination, it is more suitable for students who are strong academically and love to study. Moreover, students who are able to revise effectively and perform well in timed examinations are more suited to take up A Levels. 

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