What Are A Levels?
GCE Advanced Levels, or A levels, are subject-specific qualifications offered in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. A levels are usually studied by 16-18 year-olds after GCSEs or International GCSEs, though anyone can study A levels at any age to gain a qualification in a subject of interest.
The full A level qualification is made up of two levels: the AS (advanced subsidiary) level and the A2 level. The AS level is the first half of a full A level, tends to be less demanding than the A2 level, and is a qualification on its own. The A2 level is the second half of a full A level and builds on the knowledge gained from both the AS level, as well as the GCSE level. Both the AS and the A2 levels must be successfully completed in the same subject in order to be awarded the full A level qualification.
How Do A Levels Work?
Students usually take 1 year to complete the AS and a further year to complete the A2 – so a full A level usually takes two years. Our A level courses, however, are fast track A levels, meaning you complete the course in half the time (i.e. one year instead of two years). The fast track A level works in exactly the same way and you get the same certificate as you would on the two-year course.
A levels are available in over 45 subjects, from English and maths to psychology and business studies. You can study A levels as part of a Diploma or alongside other qualifications such as an extended project, NVQs or other vocational qualifications. Each level is broken up into units, and most units are assessed by exams administered by examination boards, such as Edexcel. A levels are at level 3 on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and the Qualifications Credit Framework (QCF), and they carry UCAS points, awarded according to the grade achieved (A = 120, B = 100, C = 80).
What Could I Do With an A Level Qualification?
Schools and colleges highly value A level qualifications as the standard for assessing the suitability of students for higher academic programmes in English, Welsh and Northern Irish universities. Many courses at university or college will require you to take A levels in certain subjects before entering your preferred programme. These universities also frequently demand that applicants achieve a minimum grade on their A level examination in order to be accepted into the programme. We highly recommend you check the requirements for your preferred university programme and take the appropriate subject A levels.
Employers also highly value A levels, as they serve to demonstrate a job candidate’s competency in a particular subject area, show ambition, dedication and a willingness to learn and to work hard. Many employers in the UK even use A-levels as a recruitment tool.
Changes to A Levels
With rising accusations of grade inflation within the A level system, the UK government is currently reviewing A levels for possible reform. The reform efforts are highly controversial, with differing views between teachers, universities, students, and various governing bodies. At the time of writing, plans for major changes to A levels have been confirmed by the UK Education Secretary. If implemented, these reforms would not take place until 2015.
Our A Level Courses
We offer a variety of fast-track A levels through distance learning, offering you the flexibility to earn a recognised qualification while studying from home. Our A level home study courses include the following: