AS or GCE AS - reformed Qualifications Wales approved (First awarded 2016)


The reformed Qualifications Wales approved AS assesses the first year of A level study and is also a stand-alone qualification in its own right.

This qualification encourages students to take a wider range of subjects in their first year of A level study.


A – E


Assessment opportunities for AS qualifications are available in May/June and candidates may take the opportunity to be assessed in stages or at the end of the course.

Assessment is generally by written external examination except where this is not appropriate.

Additionally, non-examination 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.

Further information

Whilst both the AS and A level are Level 3 qualifications, assessment within the AS is regarded as less demanding than that taken during the second year of A level studies (known as the A2).

The 2017 and 2018 admissions cycle will see large numbers of applicants applying to HE with a mixture of new and current AS and A levels due to the staggered reform timetable.

AS and A levels accredited in England, Northern Ireland and Wales will differ in terms of structure, content and assessment arrangements. Grading will remain the same.

AS levels approved by Qualifications Wales have been designed so as to be equivalent in demand to those accredited by Ofqual.

Welsh and Northern Irish applicants will be more likely to apply to HE holding an AS qualification.

Link to Qualifications Wales website which hosts qualification and subject level principles and rules published by the Welsh Government/Qualifications Wales:

Link to WJEC website and specifications:

Note that students in Wales will be able to undertake AS qualifications from different parts of the UK in subjects where there is no specification designed to meet new Welsh Government requirements. The specifications for these qualifications can be found on the individual awarding organisation websites.