AS (Advanced Subsidiary) and A (Advanced) levels
The official name for an A-level is a General Certificate of Education (GCE). An A-level is a Level 3 qualification and can help you to prepare for other Level 3 qualifications and for qualifications at Level 4. (Universities require most applicants to be qualified to this level. Employers will increasingly look for applicants who are qualified to at least this level.)
A-levels are subject-based qualifications that help you to prepare for higher education and employment. These qualifications focus on traditional study skills. They normally take two years to complete. You can choose from a wide range of academic subjects, as well as some 'applied' (work-related) subjects. Many people use AS and A-levels to go on to higher education, but they're also useful if you want to go straight into a job.
A-levels are made up of the AS level and the A2. Each part makes up 50 per cent of the overall A-level grade.
The AS level can be either a free standing qualification, or be valued as the first half of the full A-level. At the end of the AS year, you have two options: take the AS level qualification only or continue to the second year and go for the full A-level
In year two of a full A-level, you take the A2 - this is not a separate qualification, but rather the second half of the A level. The A2 is designed to deepen the knowledge you gained during the AS level.