A-Levels is a subject-based qualification offered by Cambridge International Examinations. It leads to further study in universities, training or work. Cambridge International AS and A Levels are taken in over 130 countries with more than 530,000 subject entries each year.
Qualification required to appear for A-Levels:
In order to be able to study A-Levels, students need to qualify O-Levels (Ordinary Level). O-Levels is a qualification also provided by the Cambridge Board, it comes before A-Levels. Students need to appear for at least 8 subjects in O-Levels to be considered for higher education. Although students can apply for A-Levels, without appearing in O-Levels, they need to have a secondary school education.
What are A and AS Levels?
A-Levels stands for Advanced Level and AS-Level stands for Advanced Subsidiary Level. AS-Level comprises half the syllabus of the corresponding A-Level and is completed in one year. Following the AS-Level, the next year’s candidates appear for the other half of the syllabus making it equivalent to A-Levels. It gives students flexibility and reduces the burden on them.
In A-Levels students appear for the whole subject in one go. Although it is also taught for two years, the exams for the whole syllabus are taken at the end of year two. Students normally appear for at least three subjects, although occasionally some may take four or five subjects.
How to choose A-Level subjects?
First, you should talk to your teachers about the subjects and their content coverage. Then talk to the students already taking those subjects and find out the method of assessment of the course. After all the research, you should select subjects in which you have an interest and may also excel. As A-Level leads to higher education, one should select subjects according to their career choices. If there is no particular career in mind then subjects should be chosen to keep career options open. For assistance in choosing your A-Level subjects, you can refer to this article, “How to choose A-Level subjects: All you need to know”.
Grading Scale for AS-Level and A-Level:
The Cambridge International A-Level has a grading scale from A* (highest grade) to E (lowest grade). Each subject has a number of paper components for which the students appear. A percentage of the total marks obtained from every component is taken and a grade is given. A* does not exist for individual components of a subject. There is no A* grade for Cambridge International AS-Level. The grading scale for it ranges from A (highest) to E (lowest). For further details about the grading thresholds, you can refer to the article, “How Do Grade Thresholds Work In Cambridge Examinations?”
What can you do after A and AS Levels?
You can apply to universities for further education. Typical UK university entrance requirements are above grade C in three subjects, for academic courses in established universities. Very popular courses will often require higher grades. Medical schools would require higher grades such as A, A, B in relevant subjects. Highly selective universities may require higher grades. Good A-Level results are of paramount importance for acceptance in all the world’s major universities.
You can also apply for work alongside studying, after A-Levels, as this level of qualification is deemed fit for a basic salary job. If not for a job, you can apply for an internship as well. This would help you gain experience in the work field and find the perfect route into the career you want.