Pearson Edexcel International AS/A levels, also known as Advanced Subsidiary Level/Advanced Levels, are designed for international learners who want to progress to the best universities around the world.

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Pearson Edexcel International AS/A levels (IAL) use the popular and flexible modular approach* which mean exams are taken at the end of each unit of study, or throughout the programme of study when a student feels prepared and ready, or all together at the end the course. This flexibility, together with exam series in January, June and October, for most subjects, means that students have more opportunities to get feedback to improve their performance and get the grade they need to progress.

*for all subjects except Law

The modular assessment structure offers students the flexibility to sit examinations when they feel fully prepared and ready. Once they have sat a unit exam and received a unit grade, that unit result is banked until they have completed all units. Students then ‘cash-in’ the completed unit exam results to receive an overall qualification grade. This flexible approach differs from the ‘all or nothing’ linear approach of other International AS/A levels, where they sit one big exam at the end of their studies.

  • This ‘building blocks’ approach means that students can ‘bank’ their unit exam results throughout their period of study. This provides robust evidence of their studies and performance, providing more options to obtain the grade they need to progress. 
  • Students benefit from more exam practice and familiarity. Unit exam results provide formal feedback earlier on in their studies, so students understand the standard required to reach the final level of achievement they are aiming for. 
  • This understanding motivates them to improve and builds a sense of ownership through bite-size, short-term goals.
  • International AS qualifications can be taken as a separate, standalone qualification, as well as contributing to an Advanced Level qualification.
  • The opportunity to resit individual units means students can improve their overall grade.

Pearson Edexcel GCE AS/A level has a linear approach so you can choose what’s best for your students.

As exams are spread throughout the course, with multiple examination opportunities in January, June and October in most subjects, revision is broken down into unit-sized chunks, and there are less ‘all-or-nothing’ exam periods, enabling learners to focus their revision on fewer exams at a time.

Pearson Edexcel sets the standard for worldwide recognised qualifications aligned to the British educational system and accepted by top universities across the world.

  • All Russell Group universities in the UK (including Oxford and Cambridge) accept Edexcel IALs
  • All Group of 8 universities (Go8) in Australia accept Edexcel IALs
  • Edexcel IALs are recognised by US universities, including Yale, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
  • Edexcel IALs are recognised by top Canadian Higher-Education Institutions, including the University of Toronto and McGill university
  • Edexcel IALs are recognised by universities in Asia, including Hong Kong/China University of Science and Technology and the National University of Singapore

Learn more about the progression and recognition of Pearson Edexcel International AS/A Level qualifications.

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International A levels are comparable to the UK A level, as confirmed by NARIC, the national agency responsible for providing information and expert opinion on qualifications and skills worldwide. The same rigorous standards are applied to all Pearson Edexcel qualifications.

Read the executive summary of UK NARIC’s report:

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However, if you are looking for a linear approach the Pearson Edexcel GCE AS/A level is available internationally.

Pearson Edexcel qualifications go through a rigorous world class assessment design process, which ensures that the content is relevant for international learners, and that there is a clear and consistent relationship between command words, marks and skills. With logical progression of difficulty throughout and consistency in template and design, our question papers are clear and provide suitable challenge and support for students of all abilities.

Pearson Edexcel International AS/A Level qualifications are available to students attending International Schools (outside the UK) and any students attending Online Schools. They are not available to schools in the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or in British Armed Forces schools overseas.

In recent years, higher education institutions and employers have consistently flagged the need for students to develop a range of transferable skills to enable them to respond with confidence to the demands of undergraduate study and the world of work.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) defines skills, or competencies, as ‘the bundle of knowledge, attributes and capacities that can be learned and that enable individuals to successfully and consistently perform an activity or task and can be built upon and extended through learning.’

To support the design of our qualifications, the Pearson Research Team selected and evaluated seven global 21st-century skills frameworks. Following on from this process, we identified the National Research Council’s (NRC) framework as the most evidence-based and robust skills framework.

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Pearson Edexcel Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) provides students with the opportunity to develop their independent research skills alongside their core International A Level subjects.

Universities and employers attach high value to the transferable skills that are enhanced by undertaking the EPQ. It benefits the student as it’s an academic qualification, which is equivalent to an AS Level and carries UCAS points, plus it also develops life-long learning and project skills.

Learn more about the Extended Project Qualification

Frequently asked questions

Pearson Edexcel International Advanced Level will have an AS/A2 split, which means AS can either be taken as a stand-alone qualification or used as a stage on the way to completing an Advanced Level.

Pearson Edexcel International AS/A Level qualifications are available to students attending International Schools (outside the UK) and any students attending Online Schools.

Cash-in is requesting a qualification grade after the completion of all required units in a subject. Individual unit results are added together to get the overall subject grade. For example, students must sit all 4 units in IAL Economics to cash-in for a qualification grade. Examination entries will therefore include unit examination codes and qualification cash-in code.  A student will only have a complete IAS or IAL qualification after the ‘cash in’ process.

See a visual example of ‘Cash in’:

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When the student has completed the qualification and received a final grade, this will be shown on their provisional result statement along with a unique code describing the subject and level of qualification i.e. IAS or IAL. IAS qualification codes start with X and IAL qualification codes start with Y. The start of this final award code will quickly tell you which qualification the student has been awarded.

See a visual example of IAS and IAL award codes:

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