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A Level Reforms

Since the beginning of the last academic year, there have been a number of changes to the previous A Level system.

If you have been wondering how this might affect you, read on, as we have put together some great information that will help you to make sure that you are making the right choices for you.

To put it simply, if you began studying for your A Levels in the last couple of years, you can expect a difference in the ways that the courses are delivered, and the ways that you are assessed when it comes to being awarded a grade at the end of the process.

However, not all of the subjects are being changed at once, which means that it very much depends on when you actually started your course.

If you started in September 2015..

There have been new A Levels brought in for a number of subjects, including art and design, sociology, biology, psychology, business studies, physics, chemistry, history, computing, English literature, economics, English language and literature and English language.

If you started in September 2016..

There are new A Levels in ancient languages, religious studies, dance, physical education, drama and theatre studies, French and Spanish, and geography.

If you plan to start your studies in September 2017..

There will be new A Levels in accounting, statistics, ancient history, philosophy, archaeology, music technology, classical civilisation, media studies, design and technology, maths and further maths, electronics, law, film studies, history of art, geology, and government and politics.

How the new A Levels will be assessed

Students who have just completed their A Levels in recent years will have been used to the old system, whereby exams were taken at the end of year 12 and year 13, with each set being worth 50% of the overall A Level grade. Now, however, all exams will be sat at the end of year 13, with 100% of these marks being taken as your final grade.

It is also planned that assessments will be mainly exam based, with a lot less coursework and practical exams planned under the new specifications.

This is thought to be due to the fact that coursework and practical grades are too easy to cheat, with exams being by far the best way of making sure that all students are given an equal chance of the higher grades.

The grades awarded will still be between A* and E, with a U grade being given to any paper that doesn’t reach a pass mark.

What about AS Levels?

You will still have the option of taking AS Levels at the end of year 12, but they won’t count towards your final grade.

These exams aren’t compulsory, meaning that many colleges may choose to concentrate on teaching rather than sitting these exams.

There will still be AS Level exams for any subjects that have not yet been restructured, so it seems likely that most students will still have some exams to sit.

The purpose of still sitting AS Levels is to give an idea of how you are progressing in your studies, and which areas may still need more work.

How do university predictions work?

It is likely that, in the absence of AS Levels, a lot more weight will be put on GCSE grades in addition to the predictions made by colleges. So, it seems that those grades we’re told matter so much may actually become much more important.

Which subjects have been scrapped altogether?

There are lots of subjects that have been taken away altogether, due to them being either too similar to another course, or too simple.

These subjects are:

  • anthropology
  • world development
  • applied art and design
  • use of mathematics
  • applied business
  • travel and tourism
  • applied information and communication technology
  • statistics
  • applied science
  • science in society
  • citizenship studies
  • science
  • communication and culture
  • quantitative methods
  • creative writing
  • pure mathematics
  • critical thinking
  • moving image arts
  • economics and business
  • media: communication and production
  • engineering
  • leisure studies
  • general studies
  • information and communication technology
  • global development
  • humanities
  • health and social care
  • human biology
  • home economics
  • food
  • nutrition and health.