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Acing A Level: Your Guide to Academic Excellence

by Antonina Kudrova | October 20, 2022

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The A Level Adventure

A levels are a critical component of the UK education system. This provides students with the opportunity to specialize in a specific area of study before heading to university. A levels typically take two years to complete. They are available in a range of subjects, including mathematics, sciences, humanities, and languages. The grading system for A levels ranges from A* (the highest grade) to E (the lowest passing grade). In addition to traditional classroom learning, A levels may involve coursework, practical assessments, and written exams. A levels are an essential component of the university admissions process in the UK, with most universities requiring specific grades in certain A level subjects for admission to particular degree programs. They are also used to assess academic achievement for employment or further education.

What are A Levels?

A Levels (Advanced Level qualifications) are a UK subject-based qualification for students aged 16 and above. They are usually studied over two years, leading to qualifications recognised for entrance to higher education institutes in the UK and many others worldwide. Most higher education institutes require a minimum of 3 subjects.

There are no compulsory subjects with A Levels. Students are free to choose the topics that interest them or feel will benefit them for their future studies and careers. Students typically study three subjects. Subjects can include English Language & Literature, French, Maths, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, History, Geography, Psychology, Economics, Art, Information Technology and Modern Foreign Languages such as French, German, and Spanish.

It’s always best to check in advance which subjects the school offers, as this can vary from school to school. Many Boarding Schools in the UK will offer far more than just the subjects listed above. This is why we take time with families to recommend schools whilst paying close attention to the needs, interests and abilities of our students.

Written examinations – taken at the end of the 2-year course of study – are the main form of assessment. However, some subjects will require students to complete coursework. Students contribute to the final grade by completing a research-heavy essay assignment over a period of time.

Why A Level?

Suitability to the A Level curriculum is broad. The A Level curriculum can suit everyone from a budding mathematician (Maths, Further Maths and Physics), a student of the classics (English Literature, Philosophy and Classics) to the student wanting to sample a variety of disciplines in deciding what to apply to university for (Geography, Economics and Art).

It’s a myth that IB is for the brightest and the best, whilst A Level is for everyone else. For instance, a talented mathematician looking to study maths or a related subject at university would be better suited to A Level. A Level would allow your child to explore a smaller range of fields in much greater depth which provides a more specialist approach. This is the perfect preparation for higher education. So, if your child plans to study maths or medicine at Oxford, A Levels – perhaps Maths, Further Maths and Physics for a student who particularly dislikes free-time – is still the best route there.

If there is a particular subject group your child wants to focus on, we would usually advise that A Levels is better suited to your child. While the challenge of IB might be gaining status and recognition. An avid reader wanting to study Literature at University might struggle expending their energy and efforts on the labour-intensive IB. The students that look forward to their A Levels are the ones that feel ready to specialise.

What next?

A Levels have long been the most common route to applying to university. All universities in the UK will have varying expectations of entry requirements. They will most commonly look to students’ A Level results to assess. During the final year of A Level study, students will begin applying to universities. This is most commonly for courses directly or indirectly related to their A Level choices.

Struggling with choosing subjects or preparing for the A Level exams?

We use cutting edge, data-powered assessments to predict which subjects you would receive the best results in. Our expert team have knowledge of university course subject requirements and preferences. Our experienced consultants can help you select the right subjects which fit your aptitude and plans for the future. Receiving the best grades you can in A Level exams (and predicted grades beforehand) is crucial for your university offer. Juno can provide support across multiple subjects and managing anxiety in an exam setting. Get in touch today and we will be more than happy to set up a complimentary consultation to discuss your needs in detail.