When Do A-Level Exams Start?
A-Levels are the final examinations taken by students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
They usually take place at the end of Year 13 or early in year 14.
The exact dates vary from school to school, but the A-level exam period fall between June and August each year.
Students can choose which subject they wish to study for their A-Level. There is no set number of units that must be studied; however, there are minimum requirements for certain courses.
The exam board will tell you which dates they want you to write your papers on. Make sure to always check the exam board websites.
You need to be able to answer questions from all three subjects – English Literature, Maths, and Science.
What are A-Levels?
The A-Level examinations are the last set of school exams that students have to pass before going into higher education.
Students usually start studying for these exams around Year 11, but some schools offer an earlier entrance age.
You may also find yourself taking more than one paper, depending on how many different courses you plan on taking after secondary school.
There are two main types of A-Levels: General Studies and Combined Sciences.
General studies is a broad subject area covering everything from history to literature.
It’s often split up into smaller subcategories such as History, Geography, Art, etc. These are typically studied over 2 years.
Combined sciences cover science, maths, and sometimes engineering. This is normally studied for over 3 years.
How long does it take to get good grades?
It depends on what grade you aim for! If you want to go straight onto University with a First Class degree, then you should aim for about 5 GCSEs, including AS Level results.
However, if you just want to improve your grades by 1 point, then this could mean doing 4 GCSEs instead.
What subjects do A-level students take?
If a student wishes to continue their studies after the age of 16, they must complete either four GCE ‘O’ Levels or five Advanced Subsidiary Vocational Certificates.
These qualifications are offered through colleges and universities across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
In Scotland, there are no O levels; however, Scottish Higher Education institutions run vocational programmes called Highers.
In addition, most universities require applicants to achieve certain minimum standards in order to gain entry.
For example, Oxford requires candidates to obtain between 35% and 40%, Cambridge 30%-35%. Some universities like Durham only accept those who score above 50%.
If you don’t meet the requirements for any particular course, you might still be allowed to apply.
But remember that not everyone gets accepted, so make sure you check out the guide to applying to uni.
Why choose A levels?
Studying A level subject gives you the chance to develop skills in areas other than academic ones.
Many people use A levels to prepare themselves for work experience placements during the summer holidays.
Others opt for A levels because they think they give them better career prospects. And others simply enjoy learning new things.
A-levels are great for students who do well with timed exams.
Whatever your reason, choosing A levels means you’ll learn something useful while having fun along the way.
A-Level exam period
Period of Exams is held throughout June/July each year. The exact dates vary according to which board you’re sitting on. Always check the exam board websites.
Most boards hold exams every day except Friday. Examiners will tell you when you can sit your papers.
They’ll say “you can come back next week” or “we’ve finished marking”.
Do not stress out over missing the deadline – we won’t penalise you for coming late. Just turn up early enough to avoid queues.
Hence, if you have an important test date, try to plan ahead. You may need to book time off school or ask someone else to look after your child.
You also need to know how much revision material you’ll need before the start of term. It varies depending on whether you study full-time or part-time.
How are A-Levels Assessed?
The majority of schools assess pupils using an external examiner system. Under EES, teachers mark all questions on paper forms.
Then these are sent off to an independent organisation called AQA.
Once marked, the answers are returned to the school where they are checked against the correct answer key.
Schools have access to both the marks given by the teacher and the marks given by the examiner.
Some schools also offer internal assessment systems – similar to how SAT tests are graded internally before being submitted externally.
This is usually done as part of the final stage of the qualification.
It’s important to note that some schools may ask you to submit your own written responses rather than relying on the examiner’s judgement.
Who sits the exams?
Most schools employ qualified teaching staff to deliver the examinations. Teachers are trained to ensure fairness and consistency in marking.
All examiners undergo rigorous training from AQA. You should expect a high standard of examination conditions with well-trained examiners.
What happens if I get a bad grade?
It depends on what type of subject it was! If you got a C+ in English Literature, then this would probably mean you’d need to retake the whole module.
However, if you failed one question in Maths, then you could just reattempt that section.
Remember, though: even if you fail an entire unit, you do not lose points towards your overall result.
So if you pass everything else but one piece of writing, you’ll still receive credit for those grades. Moreover, there are no penalties for retaking modules within a single year.
If you want to improve your results, you can always try again. Some subjects allow you to take additional assessments after failing a certain number of times.
For example, Biology allows you three attempts to achieve a B+.
In most cases, however, you must wait until the following term to attempt another set of exams. Then you’ll be allowed two more chances to succeed. After that, you’ll only be able to resit once per year.
You might find yourself taking multiple sets of exams over several years. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll end up with lower scores.
Each time you retake a course, you’ll start afresh. Your previous efforts don’t count toward your total score.
Provided your minimum requirements are met, you’ll retain any credits earned previously.
Remember that getting good grades isn’t easy. But it certainly helps if you study hard and put effort into learning new material. Good luck!
A Wife, a mum and a Tutor! I am the Lead Editor at TheTutor.Link & also the Head Tutor there. I love teaching seeing young minds flourish. I also love blogging and sharing my experience on the world wide web.