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What is an A Level?

A levels – (sometimes called General Certificates of Education (GCE) or Advanced level) – are normally studied by international students after they have completed their GCSEs at a British Boarding School. However some international students can be accepted to study A levels without having completed GCSEs.

 A levels – what exactly are they?

The A level qualification usually involves studying the theory of a subject combined with some investigative work.

They are studied full-time at boarding school. Every student will start with the AS level, which is considered the ‘first half’ of an A level and a qualification in its own right. Then if the student has done well and enjoys the subject they can then continue studying the A2 level or ‘second half’ of the the qualification.

The required time for a student to complete the AS is one year and another year for the A2, so to complete a full A level will require 2 years at a boarding school.

Why should my child study A levels?

A levels are highly valued by British universities and one of the requirements for entry.

 What subjects can be studied?

A levels are subject-specific qualifications. A level courses are potentially available in over 30 subjects ranging from the more traditional English and Mathematics through to the more unusual such as  Greek!

However the actual subjects offered by each boarding school will be limited, no boarding school will offer all 30 so we can help you find the school offering the right A level subjects for your child.

How are the A levels assessed?

Depending on the A level chosen, they will be assessed differently. But all A levels contain exams, which your child will take throughout the course in either the January or Summer exam sessions.

An A level is also likely to be assessed through coursework, which can include research, essays, projects, investigations, artwork, fieldwork, experiments or other practicals. Your coursework will be planned out by your teacher and you will be given a timetable of when it will need to be completed throughout your course.

Why does it matter what subjects my child takes?

Many courses at university will require you to have taken A levels in certain subjects. If you have a particular career in mind such as a Lawyer you should check the requirements for that course and take the appropriate subjects.

What should my child do once they have taken A levels?

Acquiring your A level qualifications can provide your child with a variety of options but the most common is to progress to one of the excellent British universities. Your chosen boarding school will be able to help you with selecting the best one.


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