A Levels

A Levels are the traditional qualifications offered by sixth forms and colleges for students aged 16–19.

A Levels usually focus on academic subjects and can be a good option if your child is considering further education — some universities won’t accept vocational qualifications.

What can my child study at A Level? 

There are more than 40 A Level subjects. Some of them may have studied at GCSE, others may be completely new. It’s usual to study three or more over two years. 

Students usually need to have at least five GCSEs at grades 4–9 or A*-C in order to progress to A Levels, however this does vary, so it’s best to check with the sixth form or college your young person is applying to.

Where can my child study A Levels? 

Many school sixth forms and colleges offer A Levels. Your child doesn’t have to stay at the school where they did their GCSEs, so encourage them to have a look at what other options are available. 

What is an AS Level? 

AS Levels are half an A Level — they give a broad understanding of a subject but without as much detail. They’re examined at the end of the first year, so your child may study, for example, three A Levels and an AS Level in their first year, and just 3 A Levels in their second. 

How are A Levels different from GCSEs? 

A Levels study a subject in much more depth, and the way your child is expected to work will be different too. Tutors or teachers will expect much more independent study and engagement.