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.
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.
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.