Everything to Know About A-Level

What are A-Levels?

The A-Level (“Advanced Level”) is a subject-based qualification for students completing secondary education in the UK. Students typically begin the A-Level syllabus in Year 12 and complete the final examination by the end of Year 13, their final year. Students present these qualifications when applying for university. There are no specific subject requirements in A-Level; students are free to choose any combination of courses they wish to take. However, students typically choose their subjects based on what they wish to study at university, as most degrees require specific A-Level subjects for entry.

When do you take A-Levels?

Students usually take 3-4 subjects in Year 12, with most cutting back to 3 final subjects by the beginning of Year 13, their final year of high school or secondary school. They then sit the final examination near the end of Year 13. Some subjects also include coursework, which is usually completed throughout the year, instead of at the end of the syllabus.

Can you take A-Levels outside of the UK?

Yes. While A-Levels are mostly taken in the UK, they are offered in countries outside of the UK as well. Some schools offer International A-Levels (IAL) instead, which are considered to be the international equivalent of A-Levels.

Can you self study for A-Levels?

Yes, it is possible to self-study the subjects, as long as you register with the relevant examination board. Different exam boards include CAIE or CIE (Cambridge Assessment International Education), Edexcel, OCR, and AQA. Depending on which exam board you register with, you will need to make sure you follow their syllabus closely, as course content may differ slightly across different exam boards. The A-Level examinations are offered at certified testing centres around Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (HKEAA) lists the centres on their website.

Can you get accepted to US universities/universities outside the UK with A-Levels?

Yes. A-Levels are internationally recognized, so most US universities or universities outside the UK will accept them as valid certification when you are applying. However, many universities will still require additional basic requirements such as the SAT or ACT, and/or TOEFL as proof of English proficiency. Requirements may vary depending on the university, so be sure to double check with the school directly if you are unsure.

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