What is it?

A (Advanced) levels are general academic qualifications valued by both universities and employers. Many students go on to study AS and A levels after their GCSEs, if they have the right grades. A levels are usually studied over two years.

AS levels are also advanced level qualifications, but are studied over one year. Advanced level qualifications in England (not in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland) are undergoing change - AS level examination results at the end of the first year of the course have previously counted towards the final result of the full A level (A2). This is no longer the case for many subjects as all A level examinations are taken at the end of the course.

Find out more about A level changes here.

Both AS and A levels earn UCAS tariff points towards a place on a higher education (university) course.

What A and AS levels you can choose will be determined by what is available in your school or college. Although there are A and AS levels in around 80 different academic subjects, most schools and colleges offer only some of these. If you want to do a specific higher education course in the future it is a good idea to check which A levels may be needed for that course.

As an adult if you are missing some specific subject knowledge for a higher education course you might be advised to consider taking an A level as preparation for higher education.

Where could I study?

Most young people take A and AS level courses in Post 16 at a school, at a 6th Form College or at a local further education (FE) college. 

How long will it take me?

In a school or college people can normally study three or more A levels over two years. 

Options after the course?

A and AS levels are one of the main routes into higher education, but they can also be useful if you want to go straight into a job or progress to an Advanced, Higher or Degree Apprenticeship.