What is an A level?

An A level is the gold standard of British Further Education. Normally studied over two years by 16 to 18 year olds, the A level is the most common qualification needed to progress to university.

A Course Structure

Each of our A level courses will be divided into two parts: the AS level and the 2nd Year (A2 level). While both contain roughly the same amount of learning material, the conceptually more difficult elements will almost always be at post-AS level.

AS level exams may be taken after one year of study but results from AS level exams no longer count towards A level results.  AS level is now effectively a stand-alone qualification.

Most of our A levels are assessed by written exam papers. Some courses, English Language, English Literature and History have coursework, also called non-exam assessment (NEA). Where NEA is required, the candidate’s work is marked and moderated by OOL tutors.

Examinations take place each summer. There are no longer any winter examinations.

Where will I sit my examination?

You will sit your examination as a Private Candidate at a nearby test centre of your choice. Entering for examinations is your responsibility but our Student Advisers and Teachers will give you all the help you need. If your course includes coursework (NEA), this will be marked by Oxford Open Learning tutors but written exams will still be taken at the test centre(s).

What is the difference between AS and A level?

AS levels can be taken as a stand-alone qualification, but they no longer make up the first part of a full A level course. Studying a new syllabus A level, you will need to sit all of your exams in one sitting. If you are unsure about your subject or syllabus then please feel free to speak to your teachers.

How long should I expect to study an A level for?

Different students will study for different lengths of time. Traditionally an A level is studied over roughly two years, but some students will feel that they have the time to study a course over one year or slightly less. Whilst we do enrol all throughout the year we do have deadlines in place for enrolling towards specific exam dates. To study an A level requires an average total of 700 study hours so it is important that you are realistic about the amount of time you can set aside for your studies in a given time frame.