Do Your A Levels Matter After Uni? Master’s Applications

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Do A levels really matter once you have completed university? Many students spend years stressing over exams and coursework, but do these qualifications hold any weight once you have graduated?

A levels are seen as a very important stepping stone to higher education, but the relevance of these qualifications can often be questioned once you have obtained a degree. Many individuals wonder if their A level grades truly impact their future career prospects.

While A levels may have been important in gaining entry into university, their significance may diminish once you have completed your studies. However, there are still factors to consider when evaluating the importance of A levels post-graduation. In this article, we will explore whether A levels truly matter after university and how they may still impact your future opportunities.

What Is A-Levels?

The A-level (Advanced Level) is a subject-based certification awarded as a component of the General Certificate of Education as well as a school-leaving certification provided to students completing secondary or pre-university education by educational institutions in the United Kingdom and British Crown dependencies.

They were launched in 1951 to replace the Higher School Certificate in England and Wales. If an A-level student receives a mark that is adequate, they may be eligible for admission to a university.

The A-Levels (Advanced Level qualifications) are for students aged 16 and above. They are usually studied over two years, leading to qualifications recognized for entrance to higher education institutes in the UK and many others worldwide. Most higher education institutes require a minimum of 3 subjects.

READ ALSO: Is Physics A Level Hard? How Hard is A-Level Physics?    

What Subjects Do A-Level Students Take?

There are no compulsory subjects with A Levels. Instead, they are free to pick the subjects they are most interested in or believe would help them in their future academic or professional endeavors.

Typically, students take three subjects. French, math, biology, physics, chemistry, history, geography, psychology, economics, art, information technology, and modern foreign languages including French, German, and Spanish are among the subjects covered. Since this varies from school to school, it is generally wise to confirm in advance whatever topics the institution you are considering provides.

How Are A Levels Assessed?

The primary method of evaluation is through written exams, which are given at the conclusion of the two-year program. There is now significantly less project work as a result of the aforementioned measures. Nevertheless, depending on the subject, some coursework does continue to count towards the final grade.

The grading scale for A-levels runs from A* – E. Students who don’t meet the minimum standard will receive a grade of U. They need 40% to achieve an E, 50% for a D, 60% for a C, and so on. Any student averaging 80% across all modules will gain an A*.

If a student fails, they must re-sit the whole exam – students cannot re-sit specific modules. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that students can retake their A Levels as many times as necessary.

Here is a tabular representation of how A-levels are graded:

A Level GradePercentage
A*90% +
U (Ungraded)0-40%

SEE ALSO: What A-Levels Do You Need to Become a Lawyer?

Why Do People Take A-Levels?

A-Levels are an excellent choice for students who have a clear idea of which subjects they excel in. Additionally, students receive separate certificates in each subject they pass, rather than one overall certificate as the IB. 

People take A-levels for a variety of reasons, as A-levels serve as a crucial part of the education system in many countries, particularly in the United Kingdom. Here are some common reasons why individuals choose to take A-levels:

University Admission

A-levels are a standard qualification for gaining entry into universities in the UK and several other countries. Students take A-levels to meet the academic requirements of their chosen degree programs. Different universities and courses may have specific A-level subject requirements and grade expectations.

READ ALSO: What Happens if You Miss an A-Level Exam?

Career Aspirations

Many professions and careers require specific A-level qualifications as prerequisites. For example, aspiring doctors often need to take A-levels in biology and chemistry, while those pursuing engineering might require mathematics and physics A-levels.

Subject Specialization

A-levels allow students to focus on subjects they are passionate about or excel in. They provide an opportunity to study subjects in greater depth and with more specialization than the broader curriculum offered in earlier years of education.

Interest and Passion

Some students choose A-level subjects based on their personal interests and passions. They may want to explore subjects they find intellectually stimulating or enjoyable, even if they don’t have immediate career plans related to those subjects.


A-levels offer flexibility in terms of subject choices. Students can choose from a wide range of subjects, including humanities, sciences, arts, and languages. This flexibility allows them to tailor their education to their strengths and interests.

READ ALSO: What Happens if You Miss an A-Level Exam?

Do Your A Levels Matter After Uni?

Universities and future employers will definitely look at your A-level grades, but they won’t be the deciding factor on whether you’ll be accepted to study an MSc or an MA. Similarly, once you successfully achieve your master’s qualification, employers won’t pay much attention to your A-Level grades.

Can A-levels Impact Your Graduate Job Prospects?

While A-levels alone may not heavily influence your job prospects after university, they can be relevant if they are directly related to your field of study or career goals. They may also be considered if your degree classification is borderline, as some employers use A-levels as a tiebreaker.

Do A-levels Matter If You Plan To Pursue Postgraduate Studies?

If you intend to pursue a postgraduate degree, such as a Master’s or Ph.D., the focus will generally shift toward your undergraduate performance, particularly your degree classification and relevant experience. A-levels may be less important at this stage.

SEE ALSO: When Do Universities Get Your A-Level Results?  

Can I Study BTEC With A-levels?

When deciding whether to take a combination of BTEC and A-levels, you should think about how it might affect what you want to do in the future, particularly when it comes to university. 

While most UK institutions would accept applicants with BTEC credentials, each institution will have different entrance criteria. These ought to be available on the university’s website or the Ucas page for your program.

Your decision to study a combination of A-levels and Btecs will depend on a few things, particularly what you plan to do afterward. While Btecs allows students to acquire practical and vocational skills as part of the course, some universities and courses may have qualification preferences they look for.

They’ll state clearly what they look for in their entry requirements, so if you have your heart set on a certain university or course it’s worth checking which qualifications they’ll accept before you make any decisions about what to study. 

Can I Include Your A-level Grades On Your CV After University?

It’s not necessary to include A-level grades on your CV if you have a university degree and work experience in your field. However, if your A-levels are particularly relevant to the job you’re applying for, you can choose to include them.

Related Post: How to get an A in A-Level Chemistry in 2024

Are A-levels Considered When Applying For Masters?

A-Levels do not matter that much in a master’s degree application. They are mostly relevant when you apply for your undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Sciences (BSc) or a Bachelor of Arts (BA).

They will undoubtedly be taken into consideration by the institution, and you could even be questioned about them in an interview, but generally, your application will not be much impacted by them. Universities will be more interested in factors like your undergraduate degree classification (or foreign equivalent) and any prior professional experience you may have. There are many people with subpar or no A-Level credentials who have earned master’s degrees!

If you are trying to pursue a master’s in a field that is different from your degree, then the relevant A-Levels might have quite a significant weighting. For instance, if you completed a degree in History and wanted to pursue a master’s in economics, a university is more likely to look at your A-level economics grade than your degree.

FAQs On Do A Levels Matter after Uni

Are A-levels considered when applying for internships or graduate programs?

Some companies and graduate programs may request A-level results as part of their application process, especially if they have a minimum academic requirement. Always check the application requirements for each opportunity.

Are there any exceptions where A-levels are crucial after university?

Some specialized professions, like medicine or law, may require specific A-level subjects and grades for entry into postgraduate courses or professional training programs. Always check the specific requirements for your chosen career path.

Should you include your A-level grades on your CV after university?

It’s not necessary to include A-level grades on your CV if you have a university degree and work experience in your field. However, if your A-levels are particularly relevant to the job you’re applying for, you can choose to include them.

Can A-levels be helpful for career changes later in life?

A-levels might be useful if you decide to change your career later in life and need to gain qualifications in a new field. They can provide a foundation for further education or training.


Is it still tempting to ask whether your A-levels matter after uni? It is not necessarily about the A-level grades but the subject you take.

According to a survey of 956 people by Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), as reported on theguardian, it was found that on average doing one more Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths (STEM) A-level resulted in wages at age 30 that were 13% higher.

What this entails is that, while the A-levels may play a role in the evaluation of your suitability for a particular job position but hold little or no significance as you progress through your education.


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