The GCE A Level: What You Need To Know

The General Certificate of Education Advanced Level, or GCE A Level, is a subject-based academic qualification, as well as a school leaving qualification. Want to know more? Read on to find out!

What is the GCE A Level?

The General Certificate of Education Advanced Level, or GCE A Level, is a subject-based academic qualification, as well as a school leaving qualification, given to students upon completion of their secondary or pre-university education.

When did it start?

It was first introduced in 1951 as a replacement for the Higher Schools Certificate.

What does it cover?

The GCE A Level program provides a comprehensive coverage of a wide range of subjects based on a rigorous, academic syllabus to train, cultivate, and enhance a student’s mastery of content, critical thinking ability, and excellent knowledge application for problem solving. It is the ‘gold standard’ qualification that stretches and optimizes a student’s full potential, to prepare him for tertiary education.

Trivia: The encompassing influence of the British Empire can be evidently observed in the educational systems of its colonies as well as a number of other countries which modeled after the British ‘seed system’ offering A Levels.

Recently however, there has been a move away from the standard GCE A Level examinations in some educational institutions like in the Caribbean and Hong Kong, where they are now offering the CXC CAPE examinations and the Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination (HKALE), respectively, before entering the university.

What is the prerequisite for the GCE A Level?

Students age 15-16 have to undergo Year 11 examinations or the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) first before commencing A Level study. The core subjects included in the exams are English, Mathematics, and Science, while other fields of study are considered as elective.

Trivia: Before 2013, all students in the secondary level are required to take the GCSE examinations at the end of compulsory schooling in England. Since then, the school-leaving age has been raised to 17. But by 2015, the compulsory education or training in England will be raised to 18. However, the school-leaving age in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland remains at 16.

How can a student be accepted to the GCE A Level program?

Students who wish to pursue a university education from an internationally-recognized academic institution can take the GCE A Level program. First, the student must earn no less than five (5) A*– C grades in GCSE examinations, particularly in English and Mathematics to be accepted for the GCE A Level program.

Many sixth form schools usually require a B grade as a GCE A Level qualification while selective colleges require As in at least six subjects.



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