What are A levels?
A levels - sometimes called General Certificates of Education (GCE) or Advanced level - are normally studied after GCSEs or International GCSEs, but you can take them at any age. They mainly involve studying the theory of a subject combined with some investigative work, and are usually studied full-time over two years at school or college.
To study a subject at A level, you'll normally need to have studied it already at level 2 in a BTEC or GCSE.
A levels are at level 3 on the National Qualifications Framework. (You can find out more about qualification frameworks on the Ofqual website.)
What is AS (Advanced Subsidiary)?
Advanced Subsidiary (AS) qualifications are achieved after earning 1, 2 or 3 units (out of 2, 4 or 6, respectively) at GCE Level 3. They are commonly understood as the first year of the GCE A level. Students usually take a year to complete the AS and a further year for the A2 to complete the full A level qualification.
From September 2015, AS levels will be stand-alone qualifications and will no longer contribute to an A level grade.
What is AEA (Advanced Extension Award)?
AEA qualifications were originally introduced with the aim of challenging the top 10% of candidates and helping to differentiate between the most able candidates. After the new A* grade was introduced in 2010, there was no longer a need for the Advanced Extension Award, and the qualification was withdrawn for all subjects except Mathematics.
There is no additional teaching content for Edexcel AEA Mathematics, only an additional exam on the A level Mathematics content you have already learnt.
If you’re studying A level Mathematics, you may want to consider taking the AEA as a way of boosting your UCAS score. A distinction is worth 40 UCAS points, and a merit is worth 20 points. For more information about UCAS points, visit the UCAS website.
What are Applied A levels?
Applied A levels are delivered in a work-related context, giving you more hands-on experience and allowing you to develop an understanding of the workings of your chosen sector. Edexcel Applied A levels are available in nine subjects: Applied Art and Design, Applied Business, Applied ICT, Engineering, Health and Social Care, Leisure Studies, Media, Performing Arts and Travel and Tourism.