A Level FAQs Frequently Asked Questions

QUESTION: What are the GCE A Levels?

It stands for General Certificate of Education Advanced Level. A levels is British school examination taken toward the end of Secondary school.It is UK's qualification and it is well recognised all over the world. A Level exams are equal to higher secondary school certificate in Pakistan

QUESTION: What is the difference between A level and a level 3 diploma? 

A Diploma is another certification process in England intended to give youngsters the aptitudes and learning required for work.

The Level 3 Diplomas are 1 year courses supported by an online examination. whereas in A level you are required to study for  2 years, sit the examination and includes more in-depth knowledge and understanding of the content. The course is pitched at Level 3 so is the proportionate level of study to an A Level. On effective finishing of the exam, an Oxford College Diploma Certificate is issued.

QUESTION: What are the benefits of studying A levels?

A Level exams are undertaken to achieve an internationally recognised qualification level, i.e. the General Certificate of Education (GCE). The number of students taking the A level examinations has increased three-fold over the past five years owing to the fact that GCE and GCSE qualifications are accepted internationally, and for students who intend to apply overseas for higher education, the grades achieved in these exams are accepted worldwide, and no conversion to an international standard is required. Choosing O or A levels at Secondary Education level opens your passage to advanced education at home country and abroad. 

Candidates have difficulties deciding between Mathematics and Biology at intermediate FSC level, hence A levels is preferred where students can study both and secure better career opportunities ahead.  Students can select any combination with wide subject choices available. You can select the subjects that are right for you. 

QUESTION: Which and how many subjects  should you take?

A level provides a wide range of subjects. Students can take any subjects in almost any combination. A levels provides greater career opportunities but if you are passionate about any particular university then it is advised that you check the university entrance criteria before you opt for subjects. Most universities require minimum 3 subjects for entrance. There are some subjects which are offered only at AS level though. 

The subjects taken at this stage shape your future and academic life ahead. 

QUESTION: What are the differences between AS, A2 and A level?

The A level family includes or is pided into 2 parts- AS( advanced subsidiary), usually referred to as first year of A levels and A2 level. You may appear for AS and A level examination separately.

Students can choose their assessment criteria appropriately. The assessment criteria is as follows:

  • A student can simply appear for AS level .The course is half portion of the course of A levels.
  • A student can appear for AS level examination first and after that show up for A 2 level in another continuous examination session.
  • A student can show up for A levels i.e. take all papers in one session.

QUESTION: What is the time duration for the qualification?

AS level requires 1 year of time duration as the course content is half of the course of A levels. A2 requires on year as well. The total A level qualification requires 2 years of study. 

The guided study hours outline is stated just for the purpose of guiding students so that they can have a rough idea about the work, time and dedication required by them. However, it may vary slightly due to other factors like previous knowledge of student about the concerned subject.

Cambridge international advanced level (A level) syllabuses are designed on the presumption that candidates have about 360 guided learning hours per subject over the length of the course. Advanced Subsidiary Level (AS  level) syllabuses are designed on the presumption that candidates have about 180 guided learning hours per subject over the period of the course. 

QUESTION: Is the fourth subject to AS-level/A-level still a requirement?

A fourth subject has never been a compulsion. Most universities prefer minimum 3 AS/A level subjects for acceptance into renowned universities like Oxford University, England. Extra subjects though open students choices of professional studies and show students abilities and capability which is regarded but it is considered as not the only way to show academic ability and strength. Students can explore more outside their syllabus domain to demonstrate their abilities and show understanding of the domain instead of burdening them additional subjects. Students should focus on improving the grades of the 3 subjects adopted as most universities offer merit based admissions. 

QUESTION: Benefits of studying subjects like Critical Thinking and/or General Paper?

These subjects are often credited as extra subjects and are mostly awarded half credit e.g. General Paper is considered half credit in many universities. They benefit students personally and enables them to show their abilities and brilliance level but they are not considered as a part of 3 compulsory subjects at A level. You are advised to opt for these subjects as a fourth subject. 

QUESTION: Which subjects open most options for higher studies?

Subjects like Maths and further maths; Physics; Biology; Chemistry; History; Geography; Modern and classical languages; English Literature open most perse options in future but if you are directed and passionate about a particular field e.g. if you want to opt for a music school in future and are passionate about it then you are advised to opt for music in A level as well. Same goes for other fields as well. 

QUESTION: When to sit the examination?

Cambridge International AS and A Level examination are held twice a year, in June and November. Students can sit in any of the session. 

QUESTION: When are results issued?

Results are issued in August for May/June session and  in January for October/November session. Certificates are sent to the school for regular candidate and to home address for private candidates six weeks after the results are issued. 

QUESTION: Who is responsible for registration and conduction the examination?

The British Council is responsible for conducting examination in Pakistan. Schools are responsible for registration of students and private candidates are requested to follow predefined steps of registration with the british council. Registrations are available online as well. 

QUESTION: When should a student register?

Registration for May/June and October/November takes place in January/February and July/August respectively.

QUESTION: How much does the A Level examination cost?

The examination fee for every subjects varies. Every subject has its own associated fee and there is a separate fee for any practical or project work involved. Administration fees is also included in the examination fees. A level is though considered as a costly qualification. 

QUESTION: How are A-levels graded?

A-levels are graded from A* to U, with A* being the best possible mark (reflecting a total score of 90% or more) and U being Unclassified, the lowest possible mark.

QUESTION: In what administrative zone of CIE does Pakistan belong?

CIE has now classified countries into zones and a different paper is set for every zone. Pakistan lies in administrative zone 4 of CIE. 

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