What are Cambridge A and AS Levels?
GCE Advanced (A) Level is one of the most recognised qualifications around the world. For over 50 years, Cambridge A Levels have been accepted as proof of academic ability for entry to universities and institutes of higher education. They are also important to employers who frequently demand A Levels as a condition of job entry.
Advanced Subsidiary (AS) Level represents the first half of a full A Level course and gives students the opportunity to study a broader range of subjects without committing to doing a full A Level. Students can choose to complete an AS Level examination, then stop studying for that particular subject. Alternatively, after gaining an AS Level qualification, students can complete the remaining course of study in order to take the A Level assessment.
Cambridge A and AS Levels offer a flexible course of study that gives students the freedom to select the subjects that are right for them.
Where are Cambridge A and AS Levels accepted and recognised?
Cambridge International A Level is a ‘gold standard’ qualification. It has exactly the same value in admitting students to universities as the UK equivalent, and is accepted as an entry qualification by universities worldwide.
- Good A and AS Level grades are a key to admission for all the world’s major English speaking universities and many non-English speaking universities
- Good grades at A Level can result in up to one full year of advanced standing or credit at universities in the USA and Canada
- AS Level carries half the weighting of an A Level and is typically awarded half the credit value This is a general guide. To find out the exact number of A and AS Levels and grades required for further study it is advisable to contact the individual university or institute of higher education. There are some examples below that should help for university study in the USA.
- Yale University awards credit for grades A and B
- Harvard University requires three A Level subjects at grades A and B
- Boston University grants advance credit for grades A, B and C
- New York University grants advance credit for grades A, B and C
Who can take A and AS Levels?
Cambridge AS Level examinations are usually taken at age 17 and Cambridge A Level examinations at age 18. If students have already taken IGCSEs or O Levels, then they will find many of the skills they have already learnt relevant and beneficial to A Level study.
How are A and AS Levels taught?
Cambridge A and AS Levels offer such flexible programmes that there is a lot of diversity in the way they are taught – typically each AS Level course would require guided learning time – in class, in the library or resource centre – of 180 hours. For A Levels the learning requirement would be 360 hours.
The syllabus is set by Cambridge, but how it is taught will depend on the school or college.
The course differs for each subject, but there will be a mix of assessment methods, which may include coursework, practical exercises, oral and listening tests, projects and written examinations.
All syllabuses will require students to develop analytical skills and their application of knowledge in individual study. Cambridge A Levels demonstrate students’ content knowledge in a subject as well as their ability to present a well-reasoned argument, to understand and apply principles and to acquire deep understanding of a body of knowledge. Studying for Cambridge A Levels is academically challenging, but offers excellent preparation for study at university or college.
Cambridge A Level courses take two years to complete with exams taken at the end. Cambridge AS Level examinations are taken after a year either as part of the A Level course, or as a qualification in their own right. Alternatively, the AS Level qualification can be taken at the end of a two year course.
Examinations are held in June and November each year with results issued in August and February respectively. Students must enter for A and AS Levels through a registered CIE Centre.