AS or GCE AS - unreformed


The unreformed AS was introduced in September 2000.

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

The unreformed AS encourages students to take a wider range of subjects in their first year of A level study, whilst allowing students to drop a subject and specialise further in the second year.

Many HEPs also consider candidates’ AS results in their admissions decision-making.


A – E


Unreformed AS examinations are taken at the end of the course (modular units assessment shifted to end of year assessment).

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.

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 at the end of the second year of A level study (known as the A2).

As AS results are generally available at the point of applying to university, many HEPs use these to inform offers made to A level students.

The majority of offers made to A level students are expressed in terms of full A level grades.

During Confirmation and Clearing, HEPs may consider additional AS grades when choosing between applicants with the same A level grades.

Some HEPs making points-based offers will accept points gained from AS whilst others will not.

Grade distributions vary across AS subjects, reflecting the fact that some AS and 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.

Links to awarding organisation websites and specifications: