A-Levels are a secondary education qualification that are mostly common in the UK, but growing with popularity worldwide. Often referred to as Advanced level qualifications, they are subject-based courses that are used to gain entry to university or further study at a higher level.
A-Levels are assessed and graded through the use of a series of examinations, usually held in the June of each year, depending on whether your A-Levels are with AQA, Cambridge International, Edexcel or OCR. The grades you can gain by studying the courses range from A* to F and come with UCAS points. UCAS points are a way for universities to provide offers of places on courses to students based on how well they perform during the examination period.
Usually to study an A-Level at school or college, you need to hold GCSEs in the topic matter, however, this varies from subject to subject and often you will find that online course providers only ask that you have some experience of studying at secondary/high school. For example, Open College (an online course provider), only require that you are over 16 years of age and you have experience of studying, although do recommend you hold a GCSE in the same topic to ensure your successful completion of the course itself.
When deciding to study A-Levels, one of the hardest things you will find is choosing which subjects to study. A good starting point is to look at which subjects you particularly enjoy. There is no point in studying Mathematics or Biology, when you’re real passion lies in Psychology. Another thing to keep in mind is always the degree you want to go on and study at university, all degree courses hold set combinations of subjects they require for you to be offered a place. For example, if you wanted to study medicine, you would need a combination of Biology, Chemistry, Physics and English to gain an offer. If you are unsure of what subject combinations you need for your degree, we recommend you visit the UCAS website that has many helpful articles regarding this.