A Levels and International Baccalaureate

After taking GCSE many pupils enter the Sixth Form (Year 12). They may do this at the school at which they took their GCSE subjects or they may attend another school or college. There may also be the option to study one of the subjects at a nearby school, whilst remaining a pupil at the original school. This change may be because they choose to move on. It may also be due to the fact that nearby schools combine their A level teaching and the subject that the pupil proposes to study is taught at a neighbouring school.  There are sixth form colleges or Further Education colleges and some teenagers feel that they would benefit from this environment rather than remain in school.

exam

New AS and A levels have been taught in schools in England from September 2015. The first results for the new AS levels were in 2016, and for the A levels will be in 2017. Further subjects will be introduced over the following two years.

What new AS and A levels will look like The main features of the new qualifications are:

  • Assessment will be mainly by exam, with other types of assessment used only where they are needed to test essential skills.
  • AS and A levels will be assessed at the end of the course. AS assessments will typically take place after 1 year’s study and A levels after 2.
  • The courses will no longer be divided into modules and there will be no exams in January.
  • AS and A levels will be decoupled – this means that AS results will no longer count towards an A level, in the way they did.
  • AS levels can be designed by exam boards to be taught alongside the first year of A levels.
  • The content for the new A levels has been reviewed and updated. Universities played a greater role in this for the new qualifications than they did previously.

INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE (IB)

An increasing number of schools in the UK are offering the IB alongside, or as an alternative to, A-Level. This course is broader than A-Level and has a curriculum of six subject groups and is studied over two years. At both Higher and Subsidiary level, each examined subject is graded on a scale of 1 (minimum) to 7 (maximum).

The award of the Diploma requires a minimum total of 24 points. The maximum score attainable is 45. The most competitive universities will be looking for candidates with around 40 points.

Here are some tables of ideas of A Level subjects required for courses in Higher Education based on Arts, Modern languages and Science.

 

 

Here are examples of A Level subjects required based on Arts courses

 

Course

Advanced Level Subjects required or preferred

Suggested School
Course

 

Notes

  Architecture

None specified

Any but Design, Mathematics or
Physics can be useful

 ‘A’ Level Art not needed.
Portfolio of Drawings/
Photographs desirable

Economics & Allied Subjects

None specified but   Economics advantageous

Economics, Mathematics, Geography or English or History or Physics or a
Language or Politics

About 30% require or prefer Mathematics

  English

 

English

English, History, French .
Many combinations available

 

  Geography

Geography

  Geography, Economics,
Mathematics or Geology

BA and B.Sc degree courses available

  History

History

  History, English, French or Economics or Politics

 

  Law

None specified except
at Scottish Universities

  Any

Good comprehension and
writing skills required

 

  MODERN LANGUAGES

Course

Advanced Level Subjects required or preferred

Suggested School
Course

Notes

 

 French

 

 

 German

  French

 

 

  German

French, German, English
or History

 

German, French, English or History

Degree courses are   available either as single
or as combined languages

 

 Philosophy

  None specified

  Any

 

 Psychology

  None specified

  Any

Some prefer some Science

  Politics/Social Studies

  None specified

  Economics & Politics

 

 

SCIENCE - Based Courses

Course

Advanced Level Subjects required or preferred

Suggested School Course

Notes

 

Agriculture

Chemistry and two of Biology, Physics or Mathematics

Physics, Chemistry, Biology

 

 

Biochemistry

Chemistry and two of Biology, Physics or Mathematics

Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics or Physics

 

Biological Sciences
(Anatomy, Bacteriology, Botany, Physiology, Zoology)

Biology, Chemistry

Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Mathematics

 

Chemistry

 

Chemistry, Physics or
Mathematics

Chemistry, Physics,
Mathematics

 

 

Computing/Computer
Studies

Mathematics

Any with Mathematics

‘A’ Level Computer
Science seldom specified

Aero, Civil, Electrical,
Mechanical, Electronic
Engineering

Physics
Mathematics

Mathematics,
Further Mathematics ,
Physics 
or Physics,
Chemistry, Mathematics
or Physics, Maths, Electronics

Design would support application on certain courses

Chemical Engineering

Physics, Chemistry

Physics, Chemistry,
Mathematics

 

Mining Engineering,
Geology, Minerals
Science

Two Science subjects

Any two Sciences plus Mathematics, or three Sciences

Geology would confirm interest and commitment

Mathematics

Single Mathematics required, double
Mathematics preferred

Two Mathematics,
Physics

  Single Mathematics
and Physics acceptable

Medicine, Dentistry

Mathematics or Physics or Biology, Chemistry

Biology, Chemistry,
Physics or Maths

 

Metallurgy, Materials
Science

Physics, Chemistry,
Mathematics

Physics, Chemistry,
Mathematics

 

Pharmacology, Pharmacy

Chemistry and two of Physics, Maths, Biology

Physics, Chemistry , Biology

 

Physics

Physics, Mathematics

Physics, Chemistry,
Mathematics 
or Physics , Mathematics,
Further Mathematics

 

  Psychology

None specified

Any

Some prefer some Science

  Veterinary Science

Chemistry, Biology

Biology, Chemistry, Physics

Most accept Physics and Mathematics

  Product Design,
Industrial, 3 - D,
Design Management

Design , Physics , Maths

Design, Physics, Maths

 

  Geography

Geography

Geography, Biology, Maths or Geology

BA & BSc Degree courses are available

The UCAS site will also provide you with information as will the universities and colleges.

Cambridge Pre-U is a post-16 qualification that prepares learners with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed at university. It promotes independent and self-directed learning in preparation for undergraduate study.

Remember to talk to the careers advisers, your family and, if you are deciding on a profession such as medicine, law etc, find people who have made this choice recently and ask for advice. All this information could make life much easier for you later on.

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