A levels

If you’re thinking of going to university or unsure of what career or job you want to do in the future then A levels can be a good way of keeping your options open. However, they are not your only option. Please see T levels, Vocational and Apprenticeships too, before making your choices.

What are A levels?

A Levels [Advanced level qualifications] are subject-based qualifications mainly offered by schools [sixth form] and in some colleges.

A levels are offered in a broad range of subjects. The range of subjects offered, and the combination of subject options may be different in each school and college and therefore it is best to research what’s on offer at each institution.

Note: It is advisable to consider groups/clusters of A levels required for progression to university and any maths and English requirements e.g. social sciences, humanities, technology… before you make your final choice. Consider carefully any prior grades in these subjects at GCSE too, as this could be an indication of how you may perform at A levels.

You will normally study three or four A levels over two years. Some subjects have elements of coursework, but the majority of assessment is through examinations.

As part of the A level programme you will also be supported to develop your personal and study skills, as well as undertaking work experience.

If you’re considering A levels, you can access information on the A level performance of schools and colleges near you here.

A levels can lead to university, more advanced apprenticeships, or employment.

University A level entry requirements

Entry requirements for A levels can vary between different schools and colleges.

You will usually be expected to have at least 5/6 GCSEs at grade 9-4 [A*-C old grade] including English and maths at a minimum of grade 4 and sometimes science depending on the subjects you wish to study. Often you will need at least grade 6 [B old grade] in a subject if you want to go on to study it an A level.

It is advisable for you to check the entry requirements with each institution you are looking to study at.

Some wider online guides include:

Uniguide – for information on how to choose you’re A levels

The Russell Group of universities – Click to access the new Informed choices website to find out more about how subjects taken at sixth form or college can affect students’ options at university and later on. This can also be used by students, parents, and teachers.

UCAS - If you are thinking of going to University – find out information on where to start and entry requirements on the UCAS website

Are T levels better than A levels?

The qualifications, called T levels commence in the U.K. from September 2020 and will be graded Distinction* (A level equivalent to three A*s), Distinction (three As at A level<), Merit (three Bs at A level), Pass at C or above in core component (three Cs at A level), Pass at D or E in core component (three Ds at A level).