A-Level is an academic qualification of The General Certificate of Education Advanced Level, offered by educational institutions in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to students completing secondary or pre-university education. This qualification is also offered in Scotland as an alternative school-leaving qualification.
A-levels are the most widely accepted qualifications for entry to higher education in the UK, and thus the most common route for UK students entering university. Click the link for an overview of UK routes to higher education.
This two year advanced level pre-university programme is usually referred to as Sixth Form in the UK. Students require at least 4-5 A*-C GCSE Grades, including English and Mathematics to meet the pre-requisite to start A-levels.
What A-level subjects that students take are important for their future career path. Students usually take 3-4 chosen subjects over two years study, leading to AS-level qualifications at the end of the first year, and final A-level qualifications at the end of the second year. The subjects that students can choose to study vary between schools and colleges, and students can also choose which exam boards’ papers they will be sitting for each subject. The three main examining boards for A-levels in the UK are AQA, Edexcel and OCR.
The passing grades are A*, A, B, C, D and E, and the study is either in a Secondary Education institution or in a Sixth Form College for students aged 16–18, as part of their Further Education.
A-levels qualifications enable UK students to progress to higher education, including BTEC HNDs, DipHEs, Foundation Degrees and undergraduate degree courses. Good A-level results give students access to some of the best universities in the world.
Non-European students can only study A-level courses at an UK fee-paying independent school. A Tier 4 (Child) Visa if under age 16 or a Tier 4 (General) student visa is required. Click the link to read more about UK independent schools, and to compare the performance of top UK independent schools.