Find out how A-levels work, how to choose your a-levels and how A-levels can affect your degree choices.
What are ‘A-levels’?
An ‘advanced level’ or A-level is a qualification offered across a range of subjects to school-leavers (usually aged 16-18 years old), graded A*-E.
A-levels are studied across two years: your AS year (Year 12) and your A2 year (Year 13).
- Study four subjects in their AS year;
- Drop one, which they achieve an AS-level in;
- Continue with the other three in their A2 year to achieve full A-levels in these.
A-levels and AS-levels have been ‘decoupled’ in recent years, which means your overall A-level grades now depend solely on exams you take at the end of your second year, for the most part.
Previously, marks that you achieved for a subject in your AS year could be ‘banked’ and carried over, to contribute to your A-level grade. For those who aren’t keen on exams, sadly this is no longer the case.
That said, some subjects still have coursework-based assessment, including art and design. Regardless of the subject, these will only ever account for 20% or less of your final grade.
Check with your school or college as to whether they offer AS-level qualifications.