“If you fail an examination, it means you have not yet mastered the subject. With diligent study and understanding, you will succeed in passing the exams.” -Lailah Gifty Akita

Studying for exams has got to be one of life's most dull experiences. Even if the subject you are considering for is impressive, the long sleepless hours spent memorising the facts can make everything lifeless!

Nevertheless, studying for tests is a standard part of life that can be likened to a rite of passage; it is inevitable, and all youngsters must go through exam preparation to secure a spot at a higher education centre and later on a brilliant career.

Some UK-based students stop at a GCSE level, while others keep going to master the A-levels. 

Therefore, in today's article, our goal is to prepare British, Welsh, and North Irish students for the A or AS Level exams, we shall discuss a brief history of these tests, some crucial subjects, 2020 A-Level exam dates, and how to find an A-Level tutor near you.

A Brief History of the A and AS Levels

learning new subjects
Attending a prestigious university requires much effort that begins in secondary school by acing the A-Levels. (Source: pixabay)

What are the A-Levels? 

If you're not British or haven't been talked to about the A or AS Levels your entire academic career in secondary school, you may be unfamiliar with what they are. 

Therefore, to educate all types of individuals about the A-Levels, while at the same providing students with a much-needed history lesson about what they are going through, we shall mention some necessary information.

Known more technically as the GCE Advanced Level or Advanced Levels, the A-Levels are subject-based qualifications that students living in England, Northern Ireland, and Wales must pass through at the age of 16 or older if they wish to enter university or receive more knowledge about specific subjects.

Fun fact: the A-Levels have existed since 1951 as a standardised school-leaving qualification, replacing the Higher School Certificate. 

It is essential to state that after completing the GCSEs, the A-Levels are separated into two distinct categories: the AS Level taken by students aged 16 and 17 as a first step before moving onto the second category known as A2 Level which is attended by students from the ages of 17 to 18.

Like the GCSEs, after each essential stage, either the AS or the A2, students must sit through an examination testing the subjects they have studied throughout their academic year. 

If the British students truly have the goal of attending university in the future, it is highly recommended to attend both AS and A2 levels since higher education admission centres look at the grades achieved and feel more comfortable accepting those who have well-prepared for further learning.

Universities observe the UCAS points received in each year of the A-Levels: AS or A2. For example, those who receive the highest grades on their exams an A* will have a UCAS point tariff of 56; which is highly favoured by Unis in the UK.

Before concluding this section, we thought we'd share the fact that A-Levels are a school-leaving qualification not only offered in the UK but also by educational authorities of British Crown dependencies such as Singapore, Hong Kong, and Kenya.

However, it is important to state that in Scotland the A-Levels are known as the Highers.

Learning More About A and As Level Subjects

Learning new subjects
The A-Levels are very overwhelming at times; therefore, it is of the utmost importance not to put too much on your plate. (Source: pixabay)

The AS and A2 levels offer students more freedom to select subjects than the GCSEs since the A-Levels are highly demanding compared to other secondary school subjects. Hence, although the selection is yours, we highly recommend choosing fewer academic disciplines than more. 

We know, we know, some of the subjects may seem exciting, but if you put too much on your plate all your grades will suffer, and you might as well say goodbye to attending a prestigious university. 

Therefore, three A-Level subjects are suggested in the first year; perhaps, with a maximum of five distinct disciplines. Students should bear in mind that there are some subjects that are more difficult than others.

Such as? 

Many pupils claim that the sciences and mathematics are nightmare subjects yet are necessary for those who want to study sciences or medicine at university. It is essential to mention that all must choose academic disciplines that are relevant for what they will study at Uni.

Nevertheless, there are certain subjects that are frequently required by higher educations centres in the UK, such as the following:

  • Mathematics,
  • English,
  • Biology,
  • Physics,
  • Chemistry,
  • History,
  • Geography. 

The previously mentioned disciplines are known as "facilitating subjects" since they ease students into what they will study at the university. However, there is no need to fret thinking that all these subjects need to be considered in the first year. Students can learn some essential topics in the first year AS Level, and the rest in the second year, A2 Level.

We are sure that whatever subjects you decide to study, you will succeed with flying colours!

For those who want to learn while working, there are NVQ and BTEC qualifications available.

A-Level Exam Dates for the 2020 School Year

What's your worst nightmare as a student? Does the thought of sleeping through your alarm on examination day keep you up at night? If it does, you're not alone; I had many fears of not attending my mandatory test days when I was in secondary school.

Therefore, to prevent any anxiety attacks on exam days, each examination board in the United Kingdom publishes with much anticipation of their exam dates at the end of the academic school year.

Usually starting in May and ending in June, A-Level examinations are tough to ace yet by knowing the exact dates students can adequately prepare without being too stressed. The following are the dates for A and AS Level tests depending on the specific exam board; bear in mind that the day of your exam dramatically depends on the subject you are studying:

  • Pearson Edexcel: for A-Level students under the Pearson Edexcel exam board, tests are held from the 11 of May to the Wednesday 24 of June.
  • OCR (Oxford, Cambridge, and RSA Examinations): from the 11 of May to June 23, 2020, the OCR exam board are holding exams for A-Level students who want to succeed and get placed into a major university.
  • AQA (Assessment and Qualifications Alliance): the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance which absorbed the AEB, JMB, NEAB, and SEG boards, will have A-Level exams from the 11 of May to the 23 of June. Dates depend on the subject.
  • WJEC (Welsh Joint Education Committee): primarily an examination board that oversees students in Wales, the WJEC has A-Level exams from the 11 of May to the 17 of June.
  • CCEA (Council for Curriculum, Examinations, & Assessments): starting earlier than all other exam boards, the CCEA starts qualifying A-Level students from the 1 of May to the 23 of June.

There you have it, all the potential dates for testing A-Level subjects along with appropriate links to correctly prepare for examinations that correspond to you.

Also, it is worth stating that after A-Level exams have been finished, students will have to wait until Thursday the 13 of August 2020 to receive examination results. 

Are you afraid that even after months of studying you'll fail to receive your AS or A-Level certificate? Don't worry, every year yet the most well-intentioned students fail certain subjects on their exams; therefore, the National Education System plans resits the following year in May or June 2021.

It is important to state that the International Baccalaureate is a brilliant option for those who do not wish to study the A-Levels.

Finding a Tutor to Navigate Through the Tough A-Levels

passing A-Levels
Hiring an A-Level tutor is a brilliant idea for successful learning.

There's no doubt about it, both A and AS Levels are difficult to complete successfully. At times many tears are shed and sleepless nights endured to receive the best marks and a chance at the some of the best universities in the country.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that many well-intentioned secondary school students seek the advice and expertise of professional tutors.  

But where can an A-Level tutor be found? 

In today's technologically advanced world, there are tutoring websites available everywhere; however, the sheer amount of online resources often becomes overwhelming, and how do you know you'll find a quality tutor?

To remedy the tough situation of finding a professional A-Level tutor, Superprof is here to save the day. Whether you're looking to learn French, how to cook, or how to do the pop and lock, the best tutors in the UK can easily be found on our beautiful website.

Even though A-Levels may seem difficult to you, our tutors near me have already mastered them and have spent their professional life sorting out ideas on how to present them in an effective manner. Therefore, leave your stress behind and let the experts take control!

While browsing our website, you'll find hundreds and hundreds of qualified personal educators offering in-person or online classes via Skype or Facetime. Prices for hourly types may range between £10-100 depending on the expertise of the tutors. Also, want to know the best part of Superprof tutors? The first lesson is always 100% free; it's sort of a way of saying welcome!

In conclusion, dear student, do not fret, success is imminent on your A or AS level exams if you put the effort forth to be prepared by studying diligently, knowing the examination period, and seeking the assistance of experienced pros; we believe in you!

Now compare how the International Baccalaureate compares to A-Levels...

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