What are A Levels?

A Levels, like GCSEs, are academic qualifications in a particular subject. They are more advanced and in-depth than what you study at GCSE, and give you the opportunity to pursue any interests you may have. A Levels encourage you to read around your subject, while supplying a good foundation for you to build up from.

You can opt to take A Levels at a sixth form or college. Students typically study three A Level courses (although some people choose to take four, with the fourth typically being Further Maths) over the course of two years. Most A Levels are assessed through a series of exams at the end of the two year period. Some include coursework, which will be managed by your school and completed during the academic year.

If you already know you want to go to university, and you know what course or area of study you are interested in, it’s a good idea to do some research to see which A Level subjects are typically accepted for your course.

Should I take extra A Levels?

You might decide to take extra A Levels because they support your core three A Levels, for example Further Maths. Equally, you might decide to take extra options because you can’t decide between them. These are both valid choices! However, don’t feel you need to take extra A Levels just for the sake of it.

All higher education institutions only require the recommended three A Levels. Taking more A Levels than needed won’t improve your chances of being accepted. You should only take extra options if you need a particular A Level to meet entry requirements, or you really can’t choose between them (if this is the case, you might consider taking all four at the start, seeing what they’re like, and then cutting down to three).

Like with all things, quality is better than quantity as far as A Levels are concerned! You don’t need to collect them. It’s far better to take three and do really well at them, than taking too many, getting stressed, and falling behind in all of them.