Facts about A levels: recent changes, subjects and grades, who they are for and what you can do afterwards.

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. 

What grades do I need to take A levels?

You normally need:
  • at least five GCSEs at grades 9 to 4/A* to C
  • at least grade 6 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. How open you want to keep your future study and career choices?

Taking A levels this year?

Ofqual's student guide gives you information about this year’s arrangements and explains what support is in place when you're taking exams and assessments.

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 an apprenticeship.