After students have completed their GCSEs, they are able to breathe a sigh of relief for a while. However, after a long summer, suddenly college or sixth form hits and students realise another big set of exams are looming on the horizon.
A-Levels are the most common pathway for students. These are a very important progression in their academic career. Students will need them or another form of further education to successfully move on to university, and they are important if you want to move straight into a career or an apprenticeship after university. So, when do they start? When should you enrol in college? How long is the exam period? And when do they finish?
Generally, students start studying for their A-Levels in the first week of September, after they have completed their GCSEs. A-Level courses last for 2 years. You take your A-Level exams in your second year of study (Year 13).
The A-level exam period usually takes place between May and June. However, this depends on each student, as different subjects start at different times. Some A-Levels may begin in June. However, all A-Levels will be finished by the end of June.
If you want to discover the time frames for A-Levels in more specific detail, check out the rest of this article!
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When do A-Levels start in 2023?
Generally, A-Levels always start around the middle to the end of May. This is approximately three or four weeks after the Easter holidays. May half term then occurs in the middle of most student’s A-Levels.
Students should have hopefully finished all A-Level content before the exams start, so all they have to do is revise, as they wait for their first exams. However, the starting dates of A-Levels are different, depending on the different subjects and exam boards.
You can check out the different starting and ending dates for the different exam boards if you visit their websites here:
In general, the official starting date of A-Levels in 2023 was the 15th of May. You can find out more about this on this article from the BBC.
When do students enrol in their A-Level courses?
Students normally enrol for their A-Level courses before they finish school in Year 11. Before you finish your GCSEs, you will most likely have an assembly or even a meeting with your teachers about what subjects you should take for A-Levels.
Struggling for inspiration on which A-Levels you should take? Check out this Think Student article for an extensive list of A-Level combinations.
Enrolment varies between schools, however most students enrol for a course near the end of Year 11. Their places are then confirmed after results day, when they have achieved the grades ready for them to start.
When enrolling for an A-Level course, it is important that you pick the right subjects, regardless of whether you go to college or sixth form. If you are struggling to choose your A-Levels, check out this article from UCAS to discover what you should really base your decisions on.
When is a student’s first day at college?
In general, college normally begins at the very start of September. This often feels too soon, especially if you are enjoying your summer holidays! When you start college, there is often a week of induction before the course actually starts.
This is to introduce students to the college and allow them to familiarise themselves with their new surroundings. If you want to find out the exact date of when your college courses start, you can search your individual college on the government website, if you click here.
If you want to discover when you should apply to college, check out this article from Think Student.
When do A-Levels finish in 2023?
Thankfully, there is always an ending date for A-Levels- they do not last forever! (Although it may seem like it).
Again, the date each student finishes their A-Levels depends on the subjects they have chosen. Some lucky students may finish all of their exams relatively close to the start of June, whilst other students have to keep slogging on till the last official day of exams.
In general, the official leaving date varies each year, however, always occurs near the end of June. In 2023, the official ending date for exams is the 27th of June, according to this article from the government website. Regardless, many students finish much earlier than this!
When do students finish learning their A-Level syllabus?
Students begin their A-Levels in year 12, generally when they are 16 years old. In the first year, they will learn their year one content, which is known as an AS-Level.
Some students decide to take their AS-Level exams at the end of the Year 12. This is equivalent to half an A-Level and they will receive official grades for these.
However, if you decide to take an AS-Level, you are unable to also take an A-Level in this subject. If you want to find out more about AS-Levels, check out this article from Think Student.
If you choose to keep on learning the A-Level, you will learn the rest of the content in Year 13 and then sit the exams at the end of the year. Most schools try and finish the syllabus before the Easter holidays, however, again this varies.
The A-Level syllabus should always be finished before the exams start. You shouldn’t be learning any more content after the exams start. In some rare cases, you could still be learning if your teacher was a bit too slow during the two years. This is not advised however!
When is a student’s last day at college?
Due to the exams being on different dates, the day a student finishes college depends on the subjects they have chosen! If they take A-Level subjects which are examined earlier, they will finish earlier.
Likewise, if a student takes A-Level subjects which are examined later, they are will finish college later. Most schools will let you leave college or sixth form as soon as you have completed your last exam!
After all, you will not need to learn any more content, so there is no point of you being in school. You may have to pop in if you need to talk to teachers about your plans for after A-Levels but that is all.
Do students have to go in after their exams?
As already stated, most students don’t need to go into school after they have finished their exams, as they don’t need to do anything else for their A-Levels! They can then experience an extra long summer! Some students may also be able to leave school during their exams.
This is known as study leave, allowing students to stop attending lessons so that they can independently study at home. This is not offered by all schools, however, it is quite common.
How long is the A-Level exam period?
The A-Level exam period generally lasts about six weeks. This runs through May and June and occurs every year. However, students will only complete their A-Levels in their second year of college or sixth form.
Most students will take a period of mock exams which are used to mimic the real exams in Year 12. However, these exam periods are generally smaller, so your exams will be less spread out.
Mock exams are still important for practise though! You can find out how important A-Level mocks are if you check out this article from Think Student.
In 2023, the A-Level exam period lasts seven weeks, from the official starting date of the 15th of May to the official ending date of the 27th of June. It would be extremely unfortunate for a student to have their exams spread out throughout this whole period!
Most students complete their exams in four weeks or slightly longer, depending on the subjects they have chosen. Most students take about eight to nine exams, therefore, this duration may not last the whole of the official exam period.
What are the A-Level exam dates in 2023?
When sitting your A-Levels, your school should provide you with an individual timetable, telling you the different dates of your exams. Each exam board has the different exams on different dates.
Therefore, it’s best to check out the individual exam board websites if you want to discover when your exams will be. These are linked at the start of this article.
If you want to compare when the maths, biology, chemistry and physics exams are for the different exam boards in 2023, check out this helpful article from Save my Exams.
How do you prepare for your upcoming A-Levels?
When you reach Year 13, the best thing you can do to prepare for your A-Levels is to revise! It is best to create a revision timetable to structure your revision in an organised way.
You can discover how to create a revision timetable if you check out this article from Think Student. However, before you even start your A-Levels, there are a couple of things you can do after your GCSEs. You can discover a couple of things you could do if you check out this article from Think Student.
What happens after you have finished your A-Levels?
After you have finished your A-Levels, it is time for you to relax! A-Levels are definitely intense, so make sure that you treat yourself to a period of calm after your last exam.
You could then start thinking about your next steps. Will you go to university? You can find out when universities receive your A-Level results if you check out this article from Think Student.
Will you travel? Will you do an apprenticeship? It is completely up to you what you do after your A-Levels!