Why choose A Levels?
These are Level 3 qualifications that you can choose to take after your GCSEs (there are lots of other options too - check them out on the Route Planner).
You can take A Levels in schools, sixth form centres or at a college. They are very well regarded by universities and employers.
A Levels will give you a chance to find out about your GCSE subjects in greater depth or it may be that you choose to study a new subject, one that only becomes available to study at A Level, such as Law, Economics or Psychology.
GCSEs needed to study A Levels?
To study A Levels you will need to have done well in your GCSEs. Most schools and colleges will expect you to have gained A* -C grades in your GCSEs. Requirements can vary from 4 passes to six passes, so you should check with each institution. Often you will need a GCSE at grade B or above in a subject if you want to go on to study it at A Level.
How many years of study for an A level?
A full A Level qualification is achieved after 2 years of study. In the first year of study you will gain AS qualifications, which are qualifications in their own right. Exams normally take place in June of Y12 or Y13.
With AS Levels qualifications, students could continue their education or training with an Apprenticeship or a vocational qualification. However, most students do choose to continue with their A Level studies into the second year.
Both universities and employers really value A Level qualifications, but there are other pathways to both work and university, through a vocational qualification like a BTEC or through an Apprenticeship.
How many A levels should I take?
Most students take four or even five subjects in Year 12. After AS Level exams they drop one or two subjects, and continue the other three through Year 13. Generally speaking the GCSE grades you achieve determines the number of AS subjects taken. It is better to get three good grades at A level than stretch yourself too far and produce lower exam grades
Vocational qualifications alongside A Levels
It is possible to combine vocational qualifications such as BTEC Level 3 qualifications or OCR qualifications with A Levels. These qualifications attract UCAS points in the same way as A Levels do.
Grades and points
A Levels are graded A*-E and these are all regarded as pass grades and gain points towards university entrance. Some employers now specify a required number of UCAS points for some of their jobs.
To see just how many points you could gain look at the Tariff tables on the UCAS website. If your qualification does not appear, contact the Admissions department at the university to check whether it will be considered.