Deciding that you want to enrol and start studying A-Levels is a big step! Not only are you making a massive commitment to your future (both immediate and far reaching), but you’re also making a financial commitment to paying the fee, so it’s important to be sure you give yourself the best start you can, starting with deciding on the right time to start.
So first, let’s look at A-levels themselves, one A-Level subject usually takes a student approximately 350 hours of study time, that’s covering the course syllabus from start to finish and including both the AS and A2 part of the course. Usually, if studying A-Levels at school or college, you would spread this studying over a 2 year period and study more than one A-Level subject.
With the above in mind, you can work out from there, when the best time for you to start studying A-Levels would be by simply asking yourself a few questions.
How many A-Level Subjects do I need?
Depending on what you’re looking to do with your qualification, you need to work out how many A-Levels you need to study to gain the UCAS points you want and need. For example, if you want to go on and study a degree, but don’t have quite enough UCAS points, then you might only need one A-level subject. If you have no A-Levels at all and you want to go to uni, then you’re probably going to need 3 or 4.
So start with a search of UCAS to see how many UCAS points you actually need, so you have a rough idea of the amount of study time you need to have available.
How Soon do you want your A-Level Qualification?
This factor is an important one! Although A-Level subjects are tied to when the examination periods are, you don’t have to spend 2 years studying them! Infact, as a Private Candidate, it’s perfectly possible and feasible for you to complete an A-Level in 6 months if that’s what you want to do.
If you are retaking your A-Levels because you didn’t quite get the grades you wanted or needed, then you can even look at covering your subjects in 3 months as technically you’re just revising what you learnt before, but this time, making sure it sticks!
When are A-Level Examinations?
A-Level examinations are held yearly at set times. So for awarding bodies like AQA, Pearson Edexcel and OCR the examinations are in the June of each year. With CIE examinations, these are both in June and November, so a little more flexible and available if you need.
Once you know your subjects and a rough idea of how long you want to spend studying your A-Levels, you can Google for when the next available examination period is and from there, you know exactly when to start your studying of A-Levels.