10 Essential Facts You Need To Know About A-Levels

A-levels is one of the most popular pre-university programmes in Malaysia, want to know more about it? Here, we break down the essential facts about A-levels.

10) It takes 1.5 to 2 years

A-levels is completed in either 15 or 24 months . This makes it one of the longer pre-university programmes as opposed to shorter courses such as AUSMAT and Foundation.

9) It is UK-based

A-levels is part of the UK national education curriculum and a requirement before university. In the UK as in Malaysia and Australia, it takes three years to complete an undergraduate degree. Thus, it is administered by external UK examination boards most notably the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE).

8) It is internationally recognized

A-levels is internationally recognized and accepted by universities worldwide from the UK, Australia, to the US, Canada, Singapore and beyond. Hence, it is appropriate fro students seeking to study overseas for their undergraduate degree particularly in its country of origin, the UK.

7) It gives you more time to think

Unlike a Foundation programme or a diploma, you won’t need to go into the programme knowing exactly you want to study for your undergraduate degree. With the one and a half to two years period of A-levels, you have ample time to ponder the path of your future. However, it is still important to have a rough idea of what you want such as Arts vs Business vs Science, so you can choose the appropriate subjects to study.

6) You study 3-4 subjects

You take 3 to 4 subjects in A-levels but 3 is the minimum and the most popular choice for students. On the other hand, taking 4 subjects gives you a larger workload and be significantly harder but it can give you a boost if you are applying to top-tier foreign universities. As stated previously, if you have a rough idea of your intended area of study, you should pick your subjects relating to it. For example, studying Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics if you intend to be a pharmacist or studying Mathematics, Economics, and Law if you want to be a lawyer.

5) It is 100% exam based

A-levels is split into two components, the first is AS-level which is the first half and A2 which covers the second half of the programme. You will be graded on two final at the at the end of each stage, 50% from AS exams and 50% from A2 exams. This means there will be no assignments, quizzes, presentations or group projects that will be assessed and graded in A-levels.

4) It gives you in-depth knowledge

It’s extended length and relatively few subjects allows A-levels syllabuses to go in-depth on their respective knowledge. Students can gain a deeper understanding on their material and so have a stronger foundation to begin their undergraduate studies. Still, since it is exam based most of what students learn is academic and theoretical instead of practical.

3) It’s slightly more expensive than most

Due to a combination of factors including its extended length and its external administration, A-levels is on average more costly than most pre-university programmes. The cost still vary from institution to institution but as the programme is taught in private universities and colleges it is vastly costlier than national higher education programmes such as STPM and Matriculation.

2) It’s known for being difficult

A-levels requires you to go beyond merely regurgitating memorized information, critical thinking and thoughtful analysis of your material is required. Additionally, the 100% exam-based format may cause more pressure in students. In fact, it is actually known to be one one of the more tougher pre-university programmes. However, with the advantages of international recognition and providing in-depth knowledge it may all be worth it.

1)  There are a lot of resources to help you

Even though it is difficult, the fact that it is internationally recognized and utilized across the globe means that there are plenty of resources to help you through the A-levels. There are reference books, past exam papers, guidelines on the internet and even tuition teachers who can give you plenty of tips and tricks to conquer the A-levels!

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