We are delighted to announce the launch of our updated International Advanced Level (IAL) qualifications in 8 subjects – Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Business, Economics, Mathematics, Further Mathematics and Pure Mathematics and also a brand new Information Technology qualification for first teaching in September 2018. The IT qualification will replace the current Applied ICT qualification.

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The development of these new IAL qualifications has involved consulting with teachers, higher education and other key stakeholders to gain feedback and insight on our suite of International Advanced Level qualifications.

The feedback we received through the consultation process highlighted that teachers and learners across the world value the Pearson Edexcel IAL qualifications as they are created by subject experts and provide a solid foundation for progression to higher education, further education or work.

These qualifications are designed to develop a balance of subject knowledge, understanding and skills that help students to become confident, independent and reflective learners.

Your feedback indicated that you would welcome some subject content update, where appropriate, rather than large scale changes to the qualifications. You also confirmed that we should retain the IAL key features including:

  • Modular structure
  • IAS contributes to IAL
  • Multiple examination opportunities in January, June and October where appropriate
  • Opportunity to re-sit individual units
  • Internationally relevant content to suit different schools around the world 
  • Recognition by top universities worldwide
  • Development of lifelong transferable skills

It is also important to you that these new specifications are appropriately supported by teaching and learning resources. We will be providing a number of free support, including Sample Assessment Materials, Getting Started guides, editable Schemes of Work, Getting Ready to Teach events and much more.

In response to your feedback, they will also include some new innovative key features, detailed below. 

Edexcel IALs have been designed specifically for international students and are not available in the UK. During the consultation, teachers and Higher-Education Institutions from around the world have provided in-depth feedback on the proposed content and assessment methods of the updated Edexcel IALs. As a result, the qualifications will be even more relevant and engaging for students around the world, allowing for learning in a local context to a global standard. 

They will also continue to be fully comparable to UK reformed GCE A levels and provide the same progression routes to university and employment. Crucially, all Edexcel IALs are widely recognised by universities across the world for entry on to undergraduate degree level programmes. Global universities that recognise these qualifications include the UK Russell Group, the Australia Group of 8 (Go8) and top ranked universities in North America and Asia. 

We will provide the right tools at each step of the learning journey to support you to deliver the updated Edexcel IALs with confidence and achieve the best possible learner outcomes. Support includes: free teaching and learning resources with Sample Assessment Materials, Schemes of Work, Exemplars with examiner commentaries, Getting Started Guide, ResultsPlus service, Exam Wizard and Getting Ready to Teach events. New comprehensive textbooks and interactive resources will also be available. They will be developed specifically for the updated Edexcel IALs with international relevance and support at their core.  

The new print and digital resources for updated Edexcel IALs will be curriculum matched and endorsed by Pearson, so you can be confident that you are covering all aspects of the specification, providing your students with the best chance of succeeding. They will also be specifically designed for International students, with appropriate international content, making the print and digital resources relevant for all and allowing learning in a local context, to a global standard. The resources content is also EAL focused, checked by an EAL specialist. 

The new updated specifications will contain embedded transferable skills, sought after by universities and employers across the world. 

The need for transferable skills

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.’ [1]

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.

The adapted National Research Council’s framework of skills involves: [2]


Transferable skills enable young people to face the demands of further and higher education, as well as the demands of the workplace, and are important in the teaching and learning of this qualification. We will provide teaching and learning materials, developed with stakeholders, to support our qualifications.

Important examination key dates
Transition from legacy to new specifications

Please make a note of the following transition and examination key dates for Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Business, Economics and Information Technology.

Key dates

Current legacy 2013 specifications

New 2018 specifications

September 2017

Last cohort of students taking a 2-year IAL course


January 2018

IAS & IAL examinations



June 2018

IAS & IAL examinations



September 2018


First teach of new specifications


October 2018

IAS & IAL examinations



January 2019

IAS & IAL examinations

AS Unit 1 examinations


June 2019

IAS & IAL examinations

Final Applied ICT  examinations

Full AS examinations

October 2019

Final IAS & IAL legacy examinations

AS examinations


January 2020


AS examinations plus

1 A2 unit examinations

June 2020


Full IAL examinations


October 2020


IAL examinations


The last examination, including re-sit of individual units, is October 2019.
The last sitting for the Applied ICT qualification is June 2019. 

The first AS Unit 1 examination of the new 2018 specifications is January 2019.

The first AS award in the new 2018 specification is June 2019.

The first A level award of the new 2018 specification is June 2020.

No it will not be possible to combine unit results. Contents and assessments are different.  

Other IAL subjects are not currently being redeveloped and will continue as they are.  

Next Steps

To find out more complete our expression of interest form and why not take a look at our handy Edexcel International A Level infographic, to learn more about the flexible assessment approach, which you'll find below.



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