(The General Certificate of Education (GCE) Advanced Level, or A Level)
What is Cambridge GCE?
The General Certificate of Education (GCE) Advanced Level, or A Level is a main school leaving qualification in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. It is available as an alternative qualification in other countries.
Students generally study for A levels over a two-year period. For much of their history, A levels have been examined by "terminal" examinations taken at the end of these two years. A more modular approach to examination became common in many subjects starting in the late 1980s, and standard for September 2000 and later cohorts, with students taking their subjects to the half-credit "AS" level after one year and proceeding to full A level the next year (sometimes in fewer subjects). In 2015, Ofqual decided to change back to a terminal approach where students sit all examinations at the end of the second year. AS is still offered, but as a separate qualification; AS grades no longer count towards a subsequent A level.
Most students study two or three A level subjects simultaneously during the two post-16 years (ages 16–18) in a secondary school, in a sixth form college, in a further and higher education college, or in a tertiary college, as part of their further education.
A Levels are recognised by many universities as the standard for assessing the suitability of applicants for admission in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and many such universities partly base their admissions offers on a student's predicted A level grades, with the majority of these offers conditional on achieving a minimum set of final grades.