What are A-Levels?

Programme Model

The A-Level (Advanced Level) qualification is traditionally seen as the “gold standard” for post-16 education in many countries, particularly those with ties to the UK where the examinations originate. Although A-Levels are a UK qualification for students aged 16 and above, many schools across the world offer A-Levels and the qualification is widely recognised for entrance to higher education institutes in the UK and many countries worldwide. There are three examination boards offering the A-Level certification worldwide, Cambridge CAIE, Pearson Edexcel and Oxford AQA. TKHC is a registered centre for all three boards.

A-Level students typically study 3-4 subjects over two years. Universities typically require a minimum of 3 A-Level subjects for admissions with the vast majority of students studying three subjects. There are no mandatory subjects or fixed subject combinations for the A-Level, unlike IBDP.  Students tend to specialise and study subjects of a similar type, with a common split being between the humanities (such as History, Geography, Economics, etc.) or the sciences (such as Maths, Physics, Chemistry, etc.). 

The combination of subjects students choose is usually determined by their interests or the subjects that are required for future studies in their chosen field.  For example Maths and Physics are typically required A-Level subjects for students planning to study Engineering at university. University admissions for humanities courses tend to have fewer strict prerequisites regarding A-Level subjects.

Key Facts

  1. In 2019, 68% of 18 year-old students in England took 3 A-Levels; 4.3% took 4 A-Levels. At least 3 A-Levels are usually required for admission onto a bachelor’s undergraduate degree programme.
  2. The A-Level is an international qualification with a long history. Cambridge International AS and A Levels are taken in over 130 countries with more than 530,000 subject entries each year, with Pearson Edexcel taken in over 80 countries.
  3. The national A-Level in many countries is based on the original A-Level, including Malaysia, Singapore, and previously Hong Kong.
  4. Some examination boards offer an international version of the A-Level called the IAL. This qualification is treated identically to the regular A-Level qualification for admissions purposes.

A-Level at TKHC

  1. TKHC is an approved Cambridge CAIE, Pearson Edexcel and Oxford AQA A-Level (and IGCSE) official centre.
  2. Teachers will select the most suitable and appropriate examination board for their subjects based on the examination syllabus and assessment design.
  3. Subject selection process seminars for A-Level will be held in Grade 10.