School Curricula Guides

A Level

The GCE Advanced Level, or A Level, is a secondary school leaving qualification in the United Kingdom and an international school qualification worldwide. It is widely accepted by universities around the world.
A Level
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
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To its advocates the A' Level is the gold standard for post-16 education. To its detractors, it demands too much focus, too early.

There is no doubt as a qualification it delivers the goods when it comes to university entrance. The exam is widely accepted and widely respected at tertiary institutions around the world.

Students normally sit three A' Levels, but some sit four, and others as few as two. This would still deliver the points required for some UK universities - and pretty much every UAE institution which often accept lower level GCSEs and AS Levels.

A Level students tend to choose subjects of a similar type, usually split between humanities (English, History, Economics...) or sciences (Maths, Physics, Chemistry...). Languages tend to sit fairly easily within both camps.

Largely as a result of this specialisation, over the last five years the International Baccalaureate has begun to nip at the A' Levels heels. You can read more of IB versus A level in articles across the site, but the key to which one to choose lies with the student: Does he or she want to specialise, or does he/she enjoy and perform equally well at science, art, languages, and social science? 

IB students take six subjects, three at higher level and three at standard level. These subjects are studied for two years and are examined at the end of that two year period.


What's new

New AS and A levels have been taught from September 2015. The first results for the new AS levels came in 2016, and for the A levels will come this year (2017). Further subjects will be introduced over the following two years.

The new A' and AS levels move the qualifications closer in many ways to the original A' Level examination, and is part of a process to allow greater differentiation between the most able students.

The main features of the new qualifications are:

  1. Assessment is mainly by exam, with other types of assessment used only where they are needed to test essential skills.

  2. AS and A levels will be assessed at the end of the course. AS assessments will typically take place after 1 year’s study and A levels after 2. The courses will no longer be divided into modules and there will be no exams in January.

  3. AS and A levels will be "decoupled" – this means that AS results will no longer count towards an A level, in the way they do now. Under the old system AS Levels were studied in Year 12 with exams taken in May-June. They were worth 50% of your overall A Level qualification.

  4. NOTE: This is NOT the case for the international A' Level where the AS Level will continue to count towards the A' Level.

  5. In many countries, including the UK, both UK and International A Levels are offered - although more rarely within the same school. Those with higher numbers of students from the UK tend to offer the UK A' Level. Those whose demographic is more international tend to offer International A' Levels.

  6. AS levels can be designed by exam boards to be taught alongside the first year of UK A levels - meaning AS Levels can be gained during the course of studying the A Level exam. An AS Level is an examination in its own right, and therefore still has value of its own.



Timetable for the new A' Levels

New AS and A level to be taught from: First AS results will be issued in: First A level results will be issued in: Subjects
September 2015 Summer 2016 Summer 2017 art and design
computer science
English language
English language and literature
English literature
September 2016 Summer 2017 Summer 2018 ancient languages (classical Greek, Latin)
drama and theatre
modern foreign languages (French, German, Spanish)
physical education
religious studies
September 2017 Summer 2018 Summer 2019 accounting
ancient history
classical civilisation
design and technology
environmental science
film studies
further mathematics
government and politics
history of art
media studies
music technology



115 UK Schools offering A Level

School name Community Region
Akeley Wood School Buckinghamshire South East England
Ardingly College West Sussex South East England
Ashbourne College Kensington Greater London
Bedales Hampshire South East England
Bede's Senior School East Sussex South East England
Benenden School Kent South East England
Bradfield College Berkshire South East England
Brentwood School Essex East of England
Brighton College East Sussex South East England
Bromsgrove School Worcestershire West Midlands
Brooke House College Leicestershire West Midlands
Bryanston Dorset South West England
Canford School Dorset South West England
Cardiff Sixth Form College Cardiff Wales
Caterham School Surrey South East England
Cheltenham Ladies College Gloucestershire South West England
Chetham’s School of Music Lancashire North West England
City of London School Westminster Greater London
City of London School for Girls Westminster Greater London
Concord College Shropshire South West England
Cranbrook School Kent South East England
Cranleigh School Surrey South East England
d’Overbroeck's Oxfordshire South East England
DLD College London Westminster Greater London
Downe House Berkshire South East England
Dulwich College (UK) Surrey Greater London
Durham School Durham North East England
Earlscliffe Kent South East England
Eastbourne College East Sussex South East England
Eaton Square (Senior & Sixth Form) Westminster Greater London
Edgbaston College Warwickshire West Midlands
Elmhurst Ballet School Warwickshire West Midlands
Epsom College Surrey Greater London
Eton College Berkshire South East England
Fettes College Edinburgh Scotland
Frensham Heights Surrey South East England
Godolphin and Latymer Hammersmith & Fulham Greater London
Gordonstoun Moray Scotland
Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls Hertfordshire East of England
Haileybury School Hertfordshire East of England
Hampton School Middlesex Greater London
Harrow School Harrow Greater London
Highgate School Camden Greater London
Hurstpierpoint College West Sussex South East England
Hurtwood House Dorking South East England
Kent College, Canterbury (Senior School) Kent South East England
King Edward's Witley Surrey Greater London
King's College School, Wimbledon Westminster Greater London
King's InterHigh Westminster Greater London
King's School Canterbury Kent South East England
King’s Ely Cambridgeshire South East England
Kingham Hill School Oxfordshire South East England
Lancing College West Sussex South East England
Latymer Upper School Hammersmith & Fulham Greater London
Leighton Park School Berkshire South East England
Lord Wandsworth College Hampshire South East England
Loretto School East Lothian Scotland
Magdalen College School Oxfordshire South East England
Malvern College Worcestershire West Midlands
Malvern St James Girls’ School Worcestershire West Midlands
Mander Portman Woodward (Birmingham) Warwickshire West Midlands
Mander Portman Woodward (Cambridge) Cambridgeshire South East England
Mander Portman Woodward (London) Kensington Greater London
Marlborough College Wiltshire South West England
Millfield (Senior School) Somerset South West England
North Bridge House (Senior Canonbury) Barnet Greater London
North London Collegiate School Harrow Greater London
Oakham School Rutland East of England
Oxford International College Oxfordshire South East England
Queen’s College, Taunton Somerset South West England
Queenswood School Hertfordshire East of England
Radley College Oxfordshire South East England
Reigate Grammar School Surrey Greater London
Roedean School East Sussex South East England
Rossall School Lancashire North West England
Royal Grammar School Guildford Surrey Greater London
Royal High School Bath (Senior School & Sixth Form) Somerset South West England
Rugby School Warwickshire West Midlands
Ruthin School Denbighshire South West England
Sedbergh School Cumbria North West England
Sherborne School Dorset South West England
Shrewsbury School Shropshire South West England
St Albans High School for Girls Hertfordshire East of England
St Catherine's, Bramley Surrey South East England
St Mary's Calne Wiltshire South West England
St Mary's School, Cambridge Cambridgeshire South East England
St Mary’s School, Ascot Berkshire South East England
St Paul's Richmond Greater London
St Paul's Girls' School Hammersmith & Fulham Greater London
Stonyhurst College Lancashire North West England
Stowe School Buckinghamshire South East England
Taunton School Somerset South West England
The Abbey (Junior School) Berkshire South East England
The Abbey (Senior School) Berkshire South East England
The Hammond School Cheshire North East England
The Mount, Mill Hill International School Barnet Greater London
The Perse School Cambridgeshire South East England
The Purcell School Hertfordshire East of England
Tonbridge School Kent South East England
Tring Park School for the Performing Arts Hertfordshire East of England
Uppingham School Leicestershire West Midlands
Warwick School Warwickshire West Midlands
Wellington College Berkshire South East England
Wells Cathedral School Somerset South West England
Westminster School Westminster Greater London
Whitgift School Surrey Greater London
Wimbledon High School Merton Greater London
Winchester College Hampshire South East England
Windermere School (Senior School & Sixth Form) Cumbria North West England
Woldingham School Surrey South East England
Worth School West Sussex South East England
Wycliffe Senior School Gloucestershire South West England
Wycombe Abbey Buckinghamshire South East England
Wymondham College Norfolk East Midlands
Yehudi Menuhin School Surrey South East England

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