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A and AS levels explained

Wondering how A/AS Levels can help you get the qualifications you need for your career? Read on to find out more...

Who are A-levels for?
Many students take AS and A-level qualifications in Years 12 and 13, after completing their GCSEs. However, adults can take them too. 

Some schools also offer AS levels in certain subjects for gifted and talented students in Years 10 and 11 (ages 14 to 16).
What's the difference between A levels and AS levels?
A levels and AS levels are taught in a similar way, but A levels are more advanced and take longer to complete. AS levels are similar to the first year of an A-level course.

AS level results used to count towards your final A level result. This is changing now, so while you will still be able to study an AS level alongside the first year of your A level course, your A level result will be based entirely on the exams you do at the end of the two-year course. These changes are being introduced gradually, but all subjects will have moved to the new system by 2017.
Where are they taught?
You can study A/AS levels at your school's sixth form or at a further education college.
What subjects can you study at A-level?
There are about 80 AS and A-level subjects available. You can continue with subjects taken in Years 10 and 11 and/or take new ones.

Most students studying for A-levels take three or four AS levels in their first year. This means you can keep your options open about which subjects to study as a full A level.
How long does it take to study A/AS levels?
AS levels involve 180 guided learning hours. They are equivalent to just under half an A-level and, if studied full-time alongside other courses, generally take a year to complete.

A-levels involve 360 guided learning hours and generally take two years to complete if studied full-time alongside other courses.

Guided learning hours are the number of hours of supervised or directed study time you'll need to do to for your A/AS level qualification.
How many UCAS points do I get with A/AS levels?
UCAS points for A levels and AS levels are changing for people who apply to go to university in 2017 or later. Under the new system, AS levels will be worth 40% of an A level instead of 50%. The number of points will also be lower, but this isn't because A levels will be worth less - university offers will change too.

Under the current system, A levels are worth 40 points with an E grade, and you earn an extra 20 points for each grade above that, up to 140 for an A*.

Under the new system, an E will be worth 16 points, and each grade above that will add 8 points to the total.
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