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Q Please ex­plain what are AS/A lev­els. Also, are they as dif­fi­cult as ev­ery­one makes them out to be? The A level is a sub­ject-based qual­i­fi­ca­tion for school-leav­ing stu­dents con­ferred by the UK Ed­u­ca­tion Board, and forms the back­bone of of­fers is­sued by uni­ver­si­ties.

The re­sults are pri­mar­ily based on writ­ten ex­ams and the qual­i­fi­ca­tion fo­cuses on aca­demic sub­jects, although some are work-re­lated. The Gen­eral Cer­tifi­cate of Ed­u­ca­tion or Ad­vance Level (A level) com­prises two sec­tions/parts; the ad­vanced sub­sidiary level (AS level) also known as A1 and the ad­vance level (A Level) or A2. The grades are marked in let­ters, with A be­ing the high­est.

AThe A-level cur­ricu­lum is of­fered in a pe­riod of two years. They start the first year with four sub­jects at AS level. In the sec­ond year stu­dents usu­ally take three sub­jects and sit for the A-level ex­ter­nal exam. The three sub­jects at the A level would typ­i­cally be those that’ll as­sist in ad­mis­sion to uni­ver­sity. The choice of sub­jects need not be be­tween math and sciences or English and hu­man­i­ties; it is pos­si­ble to mix them.

The se­lec­tion of sub­jects is ab­so­lutely crit­i­cal as it will shape your fu­ture ap­pli­ca­tion to the uni­ver­sity and it is ad­vis­able to dis­cuss them with your coun­sel­lor. Some uni­ver­si­ties may think a sub­ject does not have the re­quired aca­demic rigour, so be care­ful in se­lec­tion. You’ll be re­quired to do ex­tra read­ing so se­lect sub­jects you are pas­sion­ate about and those that are also your strengths.

Schools may dif­fer in the way the pro­gramme is of­fered as the Board is in the process of elim­i­nat­ing the AS-level exam.

It is ad­vis­able for stu­dents who are mak­ing a shift in cur­ricu­lum to be­gin with ex­tra prepara­tory classes. This will al­low the stu­dent to not only be­come fa­mil­iar with the un­known but also bet­ter ac­quainted with the new cur­ricu­lum.

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