GCE O-Level A-Level Exam Guide – Equivalent, Grades & Subjects

Hey Studs, I know why you come on this Article, Don’t worry, you will clear all of your confusion about about A level course, In this article you’ll get to know about all details about A level exam. You know, A-level stands for Advanced Level qualification for students of ages 16 and above in the United Kingdom. It is a two-year course including 12th and 13th years of schooling. Generally, an A-level course is very tough. It is widely approved by various universities or institutions worldwide.

gce o level and a level exam information

 UK Qualifications level

In the UK, GCSE is the main qualification for 14-16 years old students in schools and colleges in England, Northern Ireland, and Whales. GCSEs are subject-based qualifications. Usually, GCSE takes two years to complete the study full-time.

There are 5 Regional Examination Boards in UK are-

  • AQA– AQA stands for Assessment and Qualifications Alliance. AQA examines various subjects at GCSE, AS, and A Level, and also offers vocational qualifications. It is the largest examination board for GCSEs and GCE.
  • CCEA– CCEA stands for Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment. This examination board is in Northern Ireland.
  • OCR– OCR stands for Oxford, Cambridge and RSA Examinations. GCSE and A level examinations are delivered by OCR in the UK.
  • Pearson Edexcel – ‘Edexcel’ word derives from the two words-Education and Excellence. In the UK, it is the only privately owned Regional Examination Board.
  • WJEC– WJEC stands for Welsh Joint Education Committee, and is also called CBAC. It is the main examination board in Wales. WJEC provides Welsh examinations for Adult learners.

GCE (General Certificate of Education) takes two parts to complete. The first part includes the O level while the second part is the A level.

Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior In US, UK & India

O level Exam (Qualification)

O level denotes the Ordinary level. It usually picks up either in the 11th year (age-17 years) or between the age group of 14-16. It is the final certification for secondary school and, also indicates a completion of formal education.

At O level, 40 subjects are available to choose and out of these, students usually take 6-7 subjects. The maximum number of subjects should be chosen is 14. There are 6 groups which include various subjects-

  • Group I: Languages
  • Group II: Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Group III: Sciences
  • Group IV: Mathematics
  • Group V: Business, Technical, and Creative
  • Group VI: English Language and Literature

The grades scored in the O level vary between A* to E. Grade A* considers the highest grade and grade E is the lowest grade. There is also a grade U (Ungraded) which means you fail in that subject.

The students can appear Cambridge O level exam twice a year in and November.

A-Level Exam (Qualification)

A level denotes Advanced level qualifications. A level is the second part of the GCE, after the O level. Students pick up A level in the 12th and 13th year at the age of 16-18. It is a two year course.

A level has divided into two years

  • AS Level/ AS year
  • A2 Level/ A2 year

AS and A level exams are held twice a year in the month of June and November.

as and a2 level exam percentage on pie chart

AS Level Exam

  • AS stands for Advanced Subsidiary Qualification and is the first year under the A level.
  • AS level contributes 40% marks towards the full A level.
  • The syllabus content is half of the Cambridge International A level.
  • For assessment, take the Cambridge International AS level in one examination series.
  • AS level marks include in full A level within the 13-month period.

A2 Level Exam

  • A2 level is the second year under the A level.
  • The A2 level syllabus is more in-depth than AS level.
  • The subjects of the A2 level are different from the AS level.
  • Finally, both AS and A2 level marks were recorded for the full A level course.

A-Level grades

The grades in A level subjects can scale between A to E. Also in some institutions, Grade U is used. Students should score A* to C as the minimum grade in either GCSE or O level to qualify for the A level exam.

Let us see, how these grades can be given in a given subject as shown below-

  • A*- Scoring between 90% and above
  • A- Scoring between 80%-89%
  • B- Scoring between 70%-79%
  • C- Scoring between 60%-69%
  • D- Scoring between 50%-59%
  • E- Scoring between 40%-49%
  • U- Scoring between 0%-40% is considered to be fail

a level exam grades graph

A-Level subjects

Students have to choose four to six subjects out of these all over the subjects as shown below-

      Subjects Subjects
1.        Accounting 2. Africaans
3.        Ancient history 4.        Art and Design
5.        Arabic 6.        Bengali
7.        Biblical Hebrew 8.        Biblical Studies
9.        Biology 10.    Built Environment
11.    Business 12.    Chemistry
13.    Chinese 14.    Classical Civilization
15.    Classical Greek 16.    Computer Science
17.    Dance 18.    Design and Technology
19.    Design and Textiles 20.   
21.    Digital Media and Design 22.    Digital Technology
23.    Divinity 24.    Drama
25.    Drama and Theatre 26.    Economics
27.    Electronics 28.    English Language
29.    English Language and Literature 30.    English Literature
31.    Environmental Management 32.    Environmental Science
33.    Environmental Technology 34.    Fashion and Textiles
35.    Food Science and Nutrition 36.    Film Studies
37.    French 38.    Further Mathematics
39.    Geography 40.    Geology
41.    German 42.    Global Perspectives and Research
43.    Greek 44.    Gujarati
45.    Health and Social Care 46.    Hindi
47.    Hinduism 48.    History
49.    History of Art 50.    Information Technology
51.    Irish 52.    Islamic Studies
53.    Italian 54.    Japanese
55.    Journalism 56.    Latin
57.    Law 58.    Life and Health Sciences
59.    Marine Sciences 60.    Mathematics
61. Media Studies 62.    Modern Hebrew
63. Moving Image Arts 64.    Music
65. Music Technology 66.    Punjabi
67. Performing Arts 68.    Persian
69. Philosophy 70.    Physical Education
71. Physics 72.    Polish
73. Politics 74.    Portuguese
75. Product Design 76.    Psychology
77. Religious Studies 78.    Russian
79. Sociology 80.    Software Systems Development
81. Spanish 82.    Sports Science
83. Statistics 84.    Tamil
85. Thinking Skills 86.    Travel and Tourism
87. Turkish 88.    Urdu
89. Welsh  


 A-Level equivalent

A level equivalent in India

  • ICSE (Indian Certificate of Secondary Education) is considered to be equivalent of GCSE.
  • A Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) is equivalent to the overall AS level standard.
  • A Diploma from a State Board of Technical Education is considered to be equivalent to BTEC Level 3 Diploma (3 years). Many students confuse about the BTEC, it is not B.Tech (Bachelor of Technology) which is a undergraduate degree in engineering course. BTEC stands for Business and Technology Education Council which is a secondary school leaving qualification in England, Northern Ireland, and Wales.
  • BTEC Level 2 is considered vocational equivalent to the GCSE level.

A level equivalent in Australia

  • AQF Certificates III and IV are considered to be equivalent to NVQ (National Vocational Qualifications) levels 2 to 3 as GCSE equivalent.
  • AQF Certificate IV and the AQF Diploma are considered to be equivalent to NVQ levels 3 to 4 as A Level equivalent.

Requirements to Get admission in the US as a UK student

Various schools in the US have different requirements to get admission for UK students such as-

  • High-level performance- High-level performance or A level performance includes GCSEs, AP scores, A levels, or their equivalents are used to raise your academic ability to enter a higher level of education. Moreover, participation in extra-curricular activities enhances your performance level, also.
  • SAT or ACT- Scores of both ACT and SATs test are used to get in admission to colleges and merit-based scholarships are awarded by them.

SAT stands for Scholastic Aptitude Test which includes one SAT Math section. Most importantly, SAT score should be above 1400 to get admission to the top universities.

ACT stands for American College Testing which includes a science section. Indeed, ACT scores should be above 32 to get admission in universities.

You can go through the link to get syllabus and exam pattern of SAT and ACT in detail. 

  • English Language Proficiency test- It is one of the necessary language skills to apply for admission. International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) is the most recognized English language test. C1 Advanced test is also included in it.
  • Cumulative GPA score- Cumulative GPA score of an applicant should be a minimum of 2.0. While, for more competitive universities, it should be more than 3.5.

How To Get Admission In Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT (USA)


Query1: What is the minimum grade achieved by the students in O level examinations in the US?
Ans.: Grade C is the minimum grade achieved by the students in all five subjects of the O level exam in the US and Canada.

Query2: Can I study A level in India?
Ans.: In India, A level is equivalent to Indian Senior Secondary Qualifications. After that you can apply for the degree course in which you are interested.

Query3: Can I go to the UK without A level qualification?
Ans.: Yes.

Query4: How to increase your chances of getting into US universities?
Ans.: First, spend some time researching the schools and their environments. Also, you can take reviews from the students, so that you can get an idea of that school.

Second, take time to prepare your application. Applicants should include all the entry requirements and upload their CV/Resume.

Apply to different universities as a large number of students seek admission every year.

Query5: What is the A level in the UK is equivalent in America?
Ans.: There is no A level equivalent in America (USA). But, according to the British Council, A level is comparable to the American Advanced Placement (AP) courses in their first-year courses of the American four-year bachelor’s degree program. AP is graded on a scale of 1 to 5 and Grade 5 considers the best.

Query6: Is Grade 12 equivalent to A Level?
Ans.: AS Level is equivalent to Grade 12 in South Africa.

Query7: Is SAT or ACT equivalent to A level?
Ans.: The SAT or ACT are different exams from A level. SAT or ACT is easier than A level exam.

Hope, we’ve covered All your queries above about a level exam

Why choose A and AS levels?, What are A-Level exam and how do you prepare for them?, Cambridge AS and A Level 2023: syllabus, Study Plan. a level equivalent exams or courses, as a level subjects list, a level means which class 11 or 12, advanced subsidiary level and advanced level. what is as level equivalent to

Riya utwal

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