Cambridge International A Level: The split up between AS year and A2 year.

Advanced Level (A Level) is the second part of the General Certificate of Education (GCE), the first part being O Levels. Students between the ages of 16-18 or the 12th or 13th year of schooling. It is a two year course and is considered as a standard assessment of students in order to determine their candidacy for college and university applications.

The A-levels are split into two years-

  • AS year (Year 12)
  • A2 year (Year 13).

Generally, students take up four subjects in their AS year, then they drop the subject they have scored an AS Level in, after this they proceed to their A2 year to score full A Levels in the remaining subjects.


AS Level

AS Level is the first year of a full A-level.

A student studies a subject for a full year with the aim to achieve an AS Level qualification which is independent from the subjects the student wishes to carry on to the full A Level. Once the student decides to continue an AS subject into their A2 year, then they pursue it further in order to obtain full A-level qualification. Majority of the students take the AS Level subject in their first year in order to fully concentrate on scoring A Levels for the remaining subjects in the second year.

Students typically choose three to four subjects out of a possible fifty five subjects in any combination provided the subjects are being taught in their school. Some students take more subjects depending on where they are applying for higher studies. Majority of the universities' requirements come down to three A Level grades.

At the end of the AS year, the students take exams in all the subjects. The importance/relevance of the student's grade depends on which subjects they want to drop the next year (this is the deciding factor for the students' AS Level grade). If the student decides to continue with a subject, their AS Level score bares no impact on their final A Level grade (but will be taken into account while the school predicts the A Level grade).

The grade that the student scored in any AS Level will appear on their Ucas application.

AS Levels subjects are graded from A* to E. Students who do not score the minimum marks required to obtain an E grade in a subject are considered ungraded (failed) in that particular subject.


A2 Level

The A2 Year,ie, Year 13, is the second half of the A Level programme. The student will continue with their remaining subjects in order to achieve the full A-level.
At the end of Year 13, the final exams that decide the final A-level grades are conducted. These exams will test the student on the content learnt from both years (AS and A2 years). These grades determine admission into the university of the students' choice.

Some students take up an additional AS Level subject in order to boost their chances of getting into a university of their choice.

A Levels are graded between A* to E. Students who fail to obtain the minimum marks required to obtain an E grade in any subject are awarded a compensatory AS Level for that particular subject.


Students can choose between three options of assessment.

  • The student can choose to take up the Cambridge International AS Level only. The syllabus content is half a Cambridge International A Level.
  • The student can choose to take a ‘staged’ assessment route,ie, take the Cambridge International AS Level in the first examination series and complete the final Cambridge International A Level in the second series. AS Level marks can be carried forward to a full A Level twice within a 13 month period
  • The student can take all papers of the Cambridge International A Level course in one examination session, generally at the end of the course.

Cambridge International AS & A Level examination series are held twice a year, in June and November. Results are issued in August and January.


A Level course work is generally considered to be very tough and is widely accepted among various universities worldwide. Students usually apply to their preferred universities prior to actually writing their A Level exams with their A Level results which have been predicted by the school.

But as the predicted grades are given by the student's teachers, they are considered to be unreliable. Universities will still insist on the actual A Level exam results before finalising the student's place in their courses, tho there are cases where the student is guaranteed a place in the university earlier.

Cambridge is a very challenging curriculum and sometimes you require the help of an expert tutor to help you score the best grade possible. Vidyalai.com provides live online one to one classes from the comfort of your home, with the best Cambridge teachers. They guarantee 100% satisfaction or your first lesson is completely free. Request a class in any subject

Cambridge International A Level: The split up between AS year and A2 year.
Share this