A levels


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What are A levels?

A Levels and AS levels are the usual courses offered to 16-19 year old’s at colleges and sixth forms in the UK and are the qualification of choice for higher education centres who require that potential students have completed and gained grades in a particular number of courses specifically tailored to the higher education course. Most A levels are academic however there are a few work based ones available, students start off taking an AS level in their first year which can be a stand alone qualification or they can choose to continue studies in the second year and increase that to a full A Level.

How many can they take?

Most common practise is for students to take four AS level courses in year 12 and then drop one to carry on making the other three full A level qualifications, there is however no reason why students can’t take any number of combinations of As Levels to build up their points (UCAS Points) in order to gain university entry. The majority of AS and A Level study is tested by written exam with most courses having coursework in the second year and some classes such as Chemistry also setting practical examinations.

Option to resit for better grades

A levelsA and AS level qualifications are assessed throughout years 12 and 13 culminating in an end of year test which will be put with their coursework or earlier tests to give an overall mark from A* to E and also a score out of 300 for AS students and 600 for A level students. Should your child wish to they can resit a module to try and improve their score and the best score will be taken, this may however delay them getting into university and could see them heading off to higher education a year later than expected. The grades they receive at A level will give them UCAS points and each student must have received a particular number of UCAS points in order to be accepted onto the course, this number differs for each course and is usually higher depending on the perceived difficulty of the subject matter, when applying for university your child will receive a conditional offer which sees them offered a place on the condition they receive a set number of grades, for example a B in Maths and two other C’s. If they fail to gain these grades they may be offered a place anyway or they may be able to apply for another course which isn’t filled and requires less grades, alternatively they can resit the exams.

Government changes

There is a plan for educational reform that will see the more common subjects being altered so that they are full A level qualifications with no AS level substitute and where AS level qualifications are fully stand alone courses with no option to increase to a full A Level. The government says this will offer a broader spectrum of education and offer greater variety to the student who wants to study more subjects without losing the value of the points they are awarded. A Level reform is set to take place from September 2015 and will see subjects such as English, Maths and Science go through radical changes to their structure.





About Steven Petter

About Steven Petter

Steve has three children, Connor, Harmony-Skye and Fletcher. He is a Martial Arts enthusiast as well as an avid reader of books about Philosophy, he began writing short stories and also writes music reviews.

Website: Steven Petter

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