GCE Advanced levels or A levels were originally introduced to facilitate entry to higher education.
Whilst this remains a primary purpose, over time A levels have also established a role in recognising achievements from purely academic to more applied skills and knowledge that are valued.
A* - E
Unreformed A level examinations are taken at the end of the course (modular units assessment shifted to the end of the two-year course of study).
Assessment is generally by written external examination except where this is not appropriate.
Additionally, controlled assessments, practical examination, portfolio assessment and coursework are used to assess those aspects of the course which are not suitable for assessment via a timed written examination.
Each unit of assessment is assessed by one method as specified in subject criteria.
Whilst both the A level and AS are Level 3 qualifications, assessment within the AS is regarded as less demanding than that taken at the end of the second year of A level studies (known as the A2).
Grade distributions vary across subjects, reflecting the fact that some A levels attract students with higher achievements at GCSE.
Some highly selective HEPs ask for candidates' Uniform Mark Scale (UMS) points as well as grades and may focus on grades achieved in one examination sitting.
Whilst this remains a primary purpose, over time A levels have also established a role in recognising achievements from purely academic to more applied skills and knowledge that are valued within employment.
Link to rules and regulations for current A level and AS level qualifications published by Ofqual:
Links to awarding organisation websites and specifications: