What is an AS Level? Everything You Need To Know About The AS Levels

What is an AS Levels
What is an AS Levels

While considering your GCSE options, you will likely come across the term “AS Level” and wonder what it means. AS Levels can be a valuable edge in the pursuit of your higher education, but you have to be sure it’s the best option for you.

AS Level is largely fit for students who can pull through while under pressure. It has structures that make it differ from A-Level qualification.

This article answers the question, “What is an AS Level? It also proffers insight into how it works, the subjects they offer, the workload involved, the advantages and disadvantages of AS Level, and how to prepare for it.

What Does AS Level Mean?

After passing their GCSE exams, students in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland can pursue an advanced degree known as an AS Level.

They were initially introduced in 1989 to increase the variety of disciplines that students might pursue after the age of sixteen.

Advanced Supplementary exams were typically studied over a two-year period, frequently in conjunction with A Levels; however, because of the difficulties of the course, they only counted for half as many UCAS points as a full A Level.

The Advanced Subsidiary exams, which were only studied for a year but still only counted for half as many UCAS points as an A Level, replaced the AS Levels in 2000. Additionally, students had two choices:

After completing the single AS qualification, they could drop their AS subject.


They had the option to “bank” their AS results, continue their education, take the A2 exam at the end of their second year, and then add their combined AS and A2 scores to get their final A Level mark.

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The approach we use today for AS Levels was introduced in 2015, nevertheless. And now, how your AS Level scores translate into your A Level grades is significantly influenced by where you live.

Can AS Levels be Applied to My A Levels?

You still have the option to drop your AS subject at the end of Year 12 if you’re taking AS Levels or to continue your studies in Year 13 if you’re studying AS Levels.

The percentage of your A Level grade that comes from your AS grades will now only be 40% if you are a student in Wales or Northern Ireland.

Also, if you are a student in England, your AS results will no longer have any bearing on your final A Level mark.

Instead, only the tests you take at the end of Year 13 will determine how well you do on your A Level exams.

How are AS Levels Scored?

As with your A Levels, the grades for AS exams range from “A” to “E.” However, there is no ‘A*’ categorization like there is with A Levels.

Additionally, AS grades can be translated into UCAS points:

20 points for A.

16 points for B

A = 12 points; C

10 points for D

E = 6 points.

How Prevalent are AS Levels?

The popularity of AS Levels in England has decreased, which is maybe not surprising considering how they are presently organized for English pupils.

281,600 17-year-olds completed one or more AS Levels in 2015, according to Ofqual, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation, which controls qualifications, exams, and assessments in England.

This number fell to 64,810 in just three years.

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What Makes AS Levels Worthwhile?

They might seem like a futile exercise in England because AS scores cannot be banked to count toward A Level marks.

You should also think about the effects of taking on a new subject at a higher level of study when you could be concentrating on your A Levels.

However, if your A Level studies and your AS Levels are comparable or connected, you can still benefit from and even assist one another. This could result in improved scores at the A Level for English students.

And if you’re unsure about which topic to pursue further at A Level and which will ultimately result in a higher final score, studying each for a full year may help you make up your mind.

Will Not Taking AS Levels Put Me at a Disadvantage?

You won’t be at a disadvantage if you don’t have AS Levels while applying to universities.

Scottish Highers and A Level grades serve as the foundation for universities’ entry requirements for students from the UK, and most institutions prefer specific A Level grades over UCAS points.

When evaluating applications, universities are increasingly taking into account factors other than grades and academic success.

These factors include your preferences, your statement, and, for some degrees, portfolios of work, interviews, and evaluations.

They want to know how committed you are to pursuing a certain degree, whether you have any relevant experience, and your long-term goals.

Making contextual offers is part of Newcastle University’s commitment to increasing access to higher education.

Do AS Levels Fit My Needs?

Consider your abilities, your best topics, and the areas that interest you the most as you choose your A Levels.

Consider the requirements of each of your A Level courses, and ask your lecturers for their opinion on whether taking AS Levels will be advantageous to you and, eventually, aid in your progression to university.

We sincerely hope you’ve found this blog to be helpful. Keep coming back to find more tools to support you on your path to a university education.

Additionally, you can view our undergraduate course websites to learn more about the degrees you might pursue with us.

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What Exactly Are A-Levels?

The Advanced Levels (often referred to as A Levels) are specialized academic credentials that are typically the last academic courses taken before a student enrolls in university.

The last two years before starting university can be used to study three or more A-levels. An array of exams are used to evaluate A-Levels.

Despite having their roots in the UK, A-Levels are the credential that is recognized the most globally.

What Are Courses One Can Take?

You can study a variety of subjects while working toward an A-Level. The most well-liked programs include:

  • Mathematics
  • Additional Mathematics
  • Literature in English
  • language of English
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • History
  • Economics
  • Business
  • Psychology
  • Law.

The official website of the CIE can provide a comprehensive list of A-Level courses.

Additionally, you can take your A-Levels entirely online. Crimson Global Academy (CGA) is an international online school with the goal of delivering top education free from the limitations of traditional schools. In order to help students choose A Level subjects, CGA provides guidance. 

This is important because many future university programs and occupations will have specific A Level subject requirements. We can offer professional guidance in this crucial sector.

The Difference Between Edexcel and Cambridge

The UK high school education system serves as the foundation for the International A Levels.

A global student base receives an internationally modified version of the British high school education from institutions like Edexcel and Cambridge.

Format & Structure of the A-Level Qualification

The AS Level and A2 Level are the two subsets of the A Level:

  • With a set of exams after the year, the first year of your A Level qualification is known as the AS Level.
  • Your A2 Level, the second year of your A Level program, includes a second set of exams after the year.
  • You will only obtain the AS qualification if you decide to take an AS Level topic and its tests without registering for the A2 Level the following year.

Students often enroll in four to five AS-level courses during their second to last year of high school.

They will then proceed to take three to four of those courses at the A2 Level, frequently taking additional subjects at the AS Level to fill out their schedule in their senior year of high school (without completing the full A Level).

While this is the average time frame for completing A Levels, if you want to compete for admission to the best US colleges, even four A Levels won’t be enough to set you apart from the other applicants.

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How are The A-Levels Evaluated?

Most Edexcel/Cambridge AS and A Level subjects are evaluated externally, with exams provided in June, October, and January for Edexcel and June and November for Cambridge.

At the conclusion of AS and A2, students normally take one set of exams. However, CGA’s Edexcel International A Levels give additional possibilities for re-sits, allowing students to improve their scores if necessary, with three examination dates spread throughout the year.

Students doing the Cambridge International A Levels must take all of the papers necessary for the AS/A2 qualification at each sitting, even if they are retaking any subjects.

The CGA’s Edexcel International A Levels, on the other hand, break each course down into 4-6 modules.

The A2 qualification is made up of the latter 2-3 courses, while the first 2-3 modules make up the AS qualification.

This modular strategy enables students to concentrate on particular topics during retakes.

In comparison to Cambridge’s mark schemes, Edexcel’s tend to be more comprehensive and offer clearer indicators of how students can receive credit for their responses.

Students must pass practical exams when they are taking exams for the Cambridge International AS Level sciences, which include subjects like biology, chemistry, and physics.

However, Edexcel A Levels typically focus more on theory and exclude these practical exams.

As schools might not have the means for proper practice in experimental skills, practical exams might occasionally lower students’ results in Cambridge A Levels. With Edexcel A Levels, pupils won’t experience this circumstance.

The A-Level Grading System

Cambridge students are graded on a % basis at the conclusion of their AS Level exams, and their final overall A Level percentage grade is calculated by combining their AS and A2 Level grades 50/50.

It should be noted that AS Level exams do not grant A* ratings. They are only given out to people who have earned all of their A Levels.

Also, you only receive your combined A Level grade rather than your A2 Level grade.

At the conclusion of each module, Edexcel students receive their grades based on the table below.

A Level GradePercentage
A*90% +

The International AS and A Levels are fantastic because you don’t need to answer 90% or 70% of the questions right to receive 90% or 70% on your report card, despite the fact that the percentage grade limitations may sound frightening.

Scaling is used in the international AS and A Levels to convert marks into percentage uniform marks. Most grades are scaled up because the tests are evaluated based on how well other students perform.

The A*-E grade that appears on the completion certificate is determined by scaling, which guarantees a fair depiction of performance.

To keep the scaling process transparent, Edexcel and Cambridge post grade thresholds on their respective websites following each exam session.

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What Criteria Must You Meet to Enter A Levels?

In most circumstances, you require a minimum of five GCSEs in the A*–C range. In order to take a certain topic at AS or A level, you might need a grade of B or above at GCSE.

Also, you are required to have English and math GCSE scores of C or higher by some schools and FE courses.

There are roughly 80 AS and A-level options. You have the option of continuing the subjects you took in Years 11 and 12 or adding new ones.

In their first year of studying for A levels, the majority of students take three to four AS levels. By doing this, you can continue to choose which topics to study for a complete A level.


What is a level and as level?

Although they are also available for part-time study, the AS (Advanced Subsidiary) and A (Advanced) level certifications typically require two years to accomplish full-time in school or a FE college. The Advanced Subsidiary level (AS level) is the first phase.

Which is preferable, an A or an AS?

The first year of an A-level program is comparable to an AS-level course.

How many hours can one spend studying for an A-level?

Awarding bodies estimate that it takes 350 hours of study on average to complete an A-level syllabus.

Which A-Level has the best reputation?

Mathematics, known as the “Queen of Subjects,” is the most popular A-Level option. A large majority of University degree degrees require A-Level Math.


AS Levels can be a valuable tool for exploring new areas, demonstrating academic ability, or prepping for university applications. They give you the opportunity to explore deep into subjects after your GCSEs.

They might be fit for highly motivated students who can do well under pressure or those seeking a head start on a full A-level.


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