All about the A-level in Britain

A Study Mind tutor tells everything you need to know UK A-Level Programs: Entry Requirements and Costs

We at StudyMind offer great online courses designed to make the preparations for A-level qualification as easy as possible. However, it was noticed that there is a great mass of misconceptions about A-level programs among our students. Therefore, one tutor of ours decided to write a brief piece explaining what A-level is about. 

What is A-level? 

A-Level is a two-year course that is part of the compulsory general education program in the UK. The A-Level program leads to a British-style certificate of complete secondary education – the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) Advanced Level. This means that after studying at the A-level, you can enroll at a university in Britain for a bachelor’s program.

Availability of online programs

You can study at A-Level not only in full-time format, but also online. This is a great opportunity for foreigners who cannot travel abroad or want to save money on living in another country. Every year more and more British educational institutions offer A-Level programs online.


Indeed, has plenty A-level courses to offer, including Studymind A level biology course and Studymind A level chemistry course – the two specialties that are more than valuable in the modern world of oft pandemics. 

Why apply to A-Level programs?

Here are a few reasons why many international students enroll in A-Level programs. 

Access to universities in the UK and other countries

A-Level is the standard curriculum for international students who wish to study in the UK. Passing A-Level gives the student access to the best universities in the UK and a number of other countries. A-Level results are accepted in Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Egypt, Jordan, South Africa, the Netherlands, Germany and Spain.

Getting a Specialization

Depending on what the student plans to study at the university, on the A-Level program he can choose subjects in his specialty and, even before entering the university, gain specialized knowledge in the area of interest.

UK Study Experience

For a foreigner, entering the A-Levels program is a great way to integrate into the British academic environment, get used to studying in English and adapt in the country before entering a university.

Structure of A-level programs

The structure of the A-level program is pretty easy to understand, provided you find a decent explanation. 

How is an A-level program set up? 

The A-Level program includes 45 subjects. Each student chooses 3-6 disciplines to study and pass exams on them. The choice of subjects at the A-Level should be given special attention, since they must correspond to the future university specialization. That is, if you want to study engineering, then you must take the A-Level exam in mathematics, chemistry and, for example, a foreign language of your choice.

Which subjects are included in the A-level program? 

The list of proposed disciplines for passing the A-Level exam is very diverse and includes such subjects as mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, economics, accounting, higher mathematics, business, English literature, politics, psychology, etc. Students who have not yet decided what they want to study at a university are encouraged to choose classical disciplines or those that they know best as part of their A-level qualification. 

For how long does an A-level program take place? 

The A-Level academic program consists of two parts, AS (Advanced Subsidiary) and A2 (AL), each of which lasts 1 year. The program involves 20-25 hours of classes per week, including classes in selected subjects and English. After the first year of study, students receive an AS-Level degree, after the second year – an A2-Level degree. After completing the program, students take A-Level exams to receive a certificate.

What is the scoring system for the A-level exam? 

As a result of examinations, a score is given for each subject. It uses the A-B-C-D-E grading system, where A is the highest score and E the lowest. There is also an A+ score, which is awarded to students with the highest academic performance.

How is an A-level diploma useful? 

The A-Level diploma and the obtained exam scores are the most important criteria for enrolling in universities. For example, students who are going to study medicine or law at a university must receive the highest scores in exams. A-Level diplomas prove the knowledge of students and, as we have already noted, are recognized not only in the UK, but also in many other countries. Thus, an A-level diploma is a necessity should you want to pursue higher education in Commonwealth countries. 

Specifics of A-level programs

The A-Level program described above is a classic, it is on it that most students study. However, A-Level programs have their own specifics. For example, some schools offer abbreviated A-Level programs that last 1 year. Such programs usually accept gifted students, especially those who are fluent in English and who have graduated with honors.


There are also other ways to shorten the A-Level study period. This way, some universities accept students with an As-Level degree, i.e. after 1 year of study in the program. It is true of course that this does not apply to all universities and is possible only in the case of obtaining the highest scores in corresponding exams.

What should one do after receiving an A-Level diploma?

After receiving an A-level diploma, certificate and exam results, a student can apply to one or more universities that accept such documents. 


Depending on the country, various methods of submitting documents to universities are accepted. For example, in England (and the United Kingdom as a whole), students can apply directly to educational institutions through the centralized UCAS system. 


At the same time, each university has its own requirements for the results of A-level exams. Consequently, some programs do not accept students with scores below A, and for other programs C scores are considered well enough, etc. 

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