The General Certificate of Education Advanced Level, or A Level, is the ‘gold standard’ of Cambridge qualifications. It is accepted as an entry qualification by universities of the European Union and elsewhere around the world. A Level examinations are usually taken after 13 years of education and are based on approximately 360 hours of guided learning per subject, normally over a two year period. A Levels are highly specialized and a student will normally take three subjects, although occasionally exceptional students take four or five.
Cambridge International A Levels are taken throughout the world, sometimes as the national examinations of certain countries (such as Singapore and Mauritius), sometimes within international schools and sometimes in bi-lingual government schools alongside national exams.
There are six passing grades (A* – E). Typical UK university entrance requirements are above three passes at grade C for academic courses in established universities. Very popular courses will often require higher grades.
For example, medical schools in the UK often require grades of AAB and the highly selective universities of Cambridge and Oxford ask for at least AAA. Good A Level grades can also be a key to admission for all the world’s major universities. University course credit and advanced standing is often available in countries such as the USA and Canada, where entrance to university takes place after 12 years of education. Good grades in carefully chosen A Level subjects can result in up to one full year of credit. An A/AS Level Recognition Search is available from the Cambridge International Examinations website.
There you will find up-to-date information on universities that recognise Cambridge International AS and A Levels for entry to undergraduate programmes. It also includes details of advanced credit offered. You can read more about the recognition of Cambridge qualifications in this brochure.
The subject content of each of the A Level syllabuses has been subdivided into two parts: the AS syllabus content which is expected to be covered in the first half of the course, and part two of the syllabus commonly referred to as ‘A2’. This flexible approach enables students to choose from three options:
- Take all A Level components in the same examination session at the end of a course of study, usually at the end of the second year (Year 13)
- Follow a staged assessment to an A Level by taking the AS qualification in one examination session, and the A2 assessment in a subsequent session
- Take the AS qualification only – either at the end of a one-year or two-year course.