If you are familiar with the British education system, particularly if you are in secondary school, you may also be familiar with the term A-Levels. If you are in Year 11, you may even have selected the A-Levels that you plan on taking at sixth form or college. However, you may not be as familiar with the term AS-Level, and you may be wondering what it actually means.
Both AS and A-Levels are further education qualifications. AS stands for Advanced Subsidiary and A stands for Advanced. An A-Level course is a two-year course and AS-Level forms the first year of the course. In other words, it is worth half an A-Level.
Read on to find out more about AS-Level and A-Level qualifications. This article will take you through a brief overview about what is involved in each of these qualifications.
What are AS-Levels?
To put it simply, an AS-Level or Advanced Subsidiary Level is the equivalent of the first year of an A-Level course. Due to this, when referring to the first year of A-level study students may refer to it as AS or sometimes even A1.
However, an AS-Level can also be taken separately from the A-Level qualification. This means that you can get an AS-Level qualification after one year without having to do the entire A-Level qualification.
Universities usually only require three A-Level grades for your predicted grades and actual grades and many schools will advise you to take only 3 subjects at A-Level due to the workload. However, due to additional UCAS points, some students may choose to do an extra AS subject.
If you’d like to learn more about AS-Level qualifications and the differences between taking an AS-Level and A-Level qualification, check out this article on Think Student.
What are A-Level qualifications?
The A-Level or Advanced Level qualification refers to the qualification you will receive after you spend two years preparing for the exams you take in the summer of Year 13.
A-Levels are level 3 qualifications that are normally taken from the age of 16 to 19. However, unlike GCSEs they are not compulsory.
Similarly, to how GCSE exams have different exam boards, A-Level exams will also be assessed with different exam boards. The exam boards currently in use are AQA, OCR, Pearson Edexcel, CCEA and WJEC/ Eduqas.
However, unlike the 9-1 grading system GCSE exams use, A-Level exams use the more traditional A*-E grading system. Check out this article from Think Student for more about how A-Level qualifications and how their exams are assessed.
The stress that is associated with A-Level usually comes from your grades. This is because they are one of the factors that will be used by universities to determine whether or not you receive a place on the course.
Both your AS-Level and A-Level grades can be converted into UCAS points. An A grade at AS-Level is worth 20 UCAS points.
However, A-Level grades are offered many more points. For example, an A grade at A-Level is awarded 48 points instead.
Many universities use UCAS points when setting their entry requirements rather than specific grades. Check out this article on Think Student to find out how many UCAS points you may need. Also, look here to be taken to the UCAS tariff points calculator.
Hopefully, this article has provided you with a better understanding of what is associated with the terms AS and A-Level.