Advanced level qualifications (known as A levels) are subject-based qualifications that can lead to university, further study, training, or work. You can normally study three or more A levels over two years. They’re usually assessed by a series of examinations.
Changes to A levels
New AS and A level qualifications are being introduced in England from September 2015. These changes will not happen in Wales and Northern Ireland.
- Some new AS and A levels will be introduced in England in September 2015 – the changes affect some subjects you may want to study.
- You will also be able to do A level and AS level courses in other subjects which are not being reformed yet.
You can find out more information about what subjects will be affected by changes to A levels in our guide to the changes to A levels.
What grades do I need to take A levels?You normally need:
- at least five GCSEs at grades A* to C
- at least grade B in the specific subject(s) you want to study
However, the specific requirements needed to study A levels will vary across schools and colleges. It's important to check what you will need with the school or college you are looking to study at.
Who are they for?
- If you're thinking about going to university, most higher education courses require specific A levels or combinations of A levels (or alternative level 3 qualifications).
- If you’re not sure what career or job you want to do, studying a selection of A levels can be a good way of keeping your options open.
Choosing A level subjects
The most important criteria for choosing A levels subjects are:
- Looking at what you are likely to enjoy and be good at. If you enjoy a subject or have an ability in it already, you are more likely to do well.
- Are there any particular subjects and/or grades you may need? If you have a particular career, job, or further study in mind, you may need to choose specific A levels in order to meet entry requirements.
- How open you want to keep your future study and career choices?
See our tips on choosing A level subjects for more ideas about picking the subjects you want to study.
What you can do after A levels
Many people ask 'What can I do with my A-levels?', here are some answers:
- Here is a great place to start looking at all the options open to you.
- Continue on to university – A levels are the most common qualifications studied to get into higher education.
- Keep your options open if you’re unsure about what you want to do in the future.
- Look for employment – they’re valued by employers because they show a good level of education.
- Go on to vocational or work-based qualifications, such as a higher apprenticeship.