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A levels in scrabble letters

A Level Congratulations!

August 14, 2014

Today marks a very exciting (and scary!) day for college-leavers as they open the results that will determine whether or not they have gotten into university. In the UK the vast majority of students will follow the typical schooling structure of GCSE exams (sat when students are 15-16 years old) followed by a sixth form college course. While many sixth form colleges offer a range of vocational courses such as BTEC National Diplomas, the most popular choice for students hoping to progress to university is ‘A Levels’. A Levels are subject-specific and are designed to offer an academic bridge between subjects studied at school and the level of knowledge expected at universities. Most students usually choose four subjects, however, it is also possible to choose five if you can handle the workload! A Levels take two years to complete, with the first year of study leading to an AS Level and the second year of study (A2) leading to the full A Level. Students often drop one of their four (or five) subjects at the end of their first year and take three subjects to full A Level. Three A Levels is what universities ask from applicants, with exceptions often made for students who have taken a BTEC and single A Level. The grading system is very simple with A* being the best possible grade and E being the lowest. University courses are often strict with their requirements, so students usually have to think carefully about their career choices before they select their A Levels. For example, if you would like to study Medicine, universities will ask for A Levels in Biology, Chemistry and one other highly academic subject. If the university is very competitive they may even specify that Maths has to be taken as a third subject. This can be stressful for students when they have to choose important subjects in their final year of secondary schools, but just like the dedicated application team at IEC Abroad, most students talk it through with their careers adviser before applying to college. Universities sometimes ask for UCAS points which are essentially a numerical way of representing A Level grades. Please don’t be confused if you aren’t sure of how the exam structure in your home country equates, your International Education Consultant will be able to advise you on this. Universities are also very welcoming of international students and most prospectuses will have full guides to help you work out entry requirements. Whether you’ve just received results or not, if you’re going to university in September why not get in touch on Facebook or Twitter and let us know what you’re looking forward to most? On behalf of everyone at IEC Abroad we’d like to say a big congratulations to all those students celebrating today. You deserve it!