A Levels in a nutshell
Well A levels is a pre-university qualification that is offered in the UK which allows students to enter university after completing them. Think of it like the STPM in Malaysia where students normally do in Form 6. Or Year 12 which they call it in the UK. A Levels is globally recognized and it is one of the common qualifications to gain admission into universities. Typically A Levels take 1.5 years to complete but there are institutions who offer either a shortened program or an extended one.
One thing about A Levels is that it is a very academical pre-university program. Like your SPM or UEC, it is 100% exam based. Students will need to sit 2 examinations, AS and A2 over the course of the program. Unlike a foundation or Diploma, there is no project or assignments in A Levels.
Assessing the A Levels
Now A Levels is a very subject based qualification where students get to mix and match the subjects that they prefer to take. Subjects ranged from common ones like Maths, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Business to specialised subjects like Drama, Music, German and etc. However, do note that certain institutions will only offer certain subjects. Students normally are encouraged to take 3-4 subjects as most universities will only look at 3 subjects to determine your entry qualification. Now it is very important to know what you intend to pursue in degree because that will be the ultimate deciding factor in choosing which subject to take. Engineering pathway requires physics while the health science pathway requires biology. A law degree requires … yes, law in A Levels.
In addition to the subjects taken, each university has their own minimum requirement in A Levels result. For example, University of Manchester requires AAB for their Chemical Engineering program which includes Maths and Grade A with Chemistry or Physics being the other one. While HELP University needs 2 passes in any subjects for the Bachelor of Business program.
So are you suitable for A Levels
Now students need to keep in mind two things here. A Levels is a pretty challenging pre-university program. It is definitely more difficult than foundation and being fully exam based does not make it easier. Second if you flunk in A Levels, you need to go through foundation again before getting into a degree program. So if you are not unfazed with these two scenarios, and either…
- You do not know what to study or do not want to commit to a particular program yet.
- You wish to study overseas after pre-university.
- You want to pursue an academically demanding program like Law, Medicine, Actuarial Science but don’t know if you are able to cope with it.
Here’s the compilation of most of the A Levels providers in Malaysia with their tuition fees and intakes for your reference. Information is updated as of this year but expect slight discrepancies for miscellaneous and examination fee.