Are A Levels hard is something we are often asked by students. A Levels are one of those courses that people believe are very hard to study and take a lot of commitment. But this isn’t strictly true and studying A Levels can be very straight forward and rewarding for people. The qualification itself is Level 3, which means the syllabus is created and designed to give students a solid foundation understanding of the topic to then go on and study it at a higher level.
Whether a student will find A-Levels hard depends on a number of factors. For example, if you’re a student with no previous experience of secondary education (such as GCSEs), then chances are, it will take you some time to get to grips with how best to answer exam questions and how best to prepare and revise ready for examination. However, if you have had some experience of GCSEs or equivalent, then the progression onto A-Level study should be smooth and very doable.
What are A Levels?
A Levels (Advanced Level qualifications) are a UK subject-based qualification. They were introduced in 1951 and were designed to replace the former High School Certificate. Although a UK qualification, A Levels are recognised worldwide by higher education institutes. Traditionally used as a method to gain acceptance onto Degree courses, students are expected to study at least three subjects to achieve a minimum of 112 UCAS Points.
Usually, in a school environment, A Levels are studied over two years. With the focus on each topic evenly spread through the study time. The range of A Levels now available for students is numerous and covers many different subjects, both old and new. As it stands, there are four main awarding bodies for A Levels, AQA, Pearson Edexcel, Cambridge International and OCR.
When opting to study A Levels as a Private Candidate, you have the option to fast track your learning. So this means instead of two years of studying, you can get your qualification in as little as a year. And best of all, you don’t have to go back to school to do it. Studying A Levels as a Private Candidate, makes learning much more flexible.
A Level qualifications are useful for students in both a professional and educational environment. Holding A Levels can give you entry into managerial positions or the police force or get you entry onto a Degree course.
What is is like to Study A Levels?
Studying A Levels can be hard if you don’t choose the right studying method for you. For example, one person may enjoy studying in a classroom environment with a teacher guiding them. Another person may prefer to be left alone to self-study and explore the subject on their own. There is no right or wrong way to study, but choosing the wrong way will make A Levels hard for you.
One A Level subject takes the average student, someone with some experience of secondary education but no A-Levels, approximately 350 hours of study. These hours of study can be divided over one or two years depending on the student’s goal. Which means that the study of an entire subject can be covered with as little study time as a couple of hours per week. Really not a lot to ask, right?
Depending on the A-level subject itself, the detail and difficulty of the course will vary and there are some A-Level subjects that carry a reputation for being harder than the rest. For example, some of the top 5 tricky A-Levels to study are as follows:
What you have to keep in mind, is that for some students Physics and Maths are a breeze. But the thought of having to write a five page essay relating to History would be horrific. It all depends on the student themselves. So when considering A-Levels and the study of them, keep in mind which subjects you enjoy the most.
How are A Levels Assessed?
Written examinations for A Levels are held in the summer of each year. Usually, one A Level subject will consist of three written papers, but there are some courses which come with additional elements like practicals or coursework. The assessment of practicals is usually conducted throughout the time of study by the student, but can also be condensed into a shorter period if the student prefers. When it comes to coursework, this is usually constructed by the student and then reviewed and worked on with their tutor or teacher until it’s ready to be rough marked and submitted to the awarding body.
The grades for A Levels run from A* through to E. Depending on the level of the grade you achieve, you will be awarded UCAS points, which in turn you use to apply for University. Should you be unlucky enough to not pass your A Levels, you do have the option to re-take or re-sit your A Levels in the next examination period to try again.
When can you Start?
Studying A Levels can begin at any time of year. However, if you want to start studying A Levels outside of the usual academic year, you will need to either study independently or opt to learn them online with a college like Open College. It is always a good idea to start your A Levels as soon as you can, as that way, you give yourself as much study time as possible.
If you do decide to study your A Levels online, you can cover all your studies and preparation for examination in a year rather than two. Meaning you have more freedom and flexibility with applying for university.
A Level Subjects you can Study Online
Believe it or not, you can study almost any A Level online as a Private Candidate. There are a few subjects like Art or Drama, that you simply can’t do, but the range is still huge! Examples of courses you can study include:
- Classical Civiliastion
- Environmental Science
- Religious Studies
So having looked at A Levels as a whole, what they are and their assessment methods, it’s safe to say that A Levels are hard, but worth the work that you put in. The key to successfully learning the subjects falls on selecting the right study method for you and the right subjects. There is no point in making yourself cover a subject like Physics, if you’re all about the arts.
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