An AS level (Advanced Subsidiary level) acts as a great stepping stone between GCSEs and higher education. Yes, A levels are typically more well known, but there are many reasons why you should consider studying an AS level as part of your educational journey.

Here are some of those reasons:

Expanding Your Knowledge: AS levels allow students to explore a larger variety of subjects compared to GCSEs. This allows students to gain a deeper understanding of the areas they have an interest in and may not have been able to explore throughout their earlier education. This can be helpful in helping students make a more informed decision about their future academic and career paths.

Flexibility: Another benefit is that AS levels offer students a wider range of flexibility and allow them to study a variety of subjects before committing to a more specialised higher-level course such as an A level or a degree. This level of flexibility is extremely beneficial for individuals who have many different interests and are unsure about their preferred field of study or career path.

Skill Development: It goes without saying that AS levels are great for growing your skill set. Not only do AS levels enhance your subject-focused knowledge but also help gain essential skills such as problem-solving and independent learning. These transferable skills can help enhance applications and CVs for future career and education pathways.

The AS Level, in its current form, minimises the step change between GCSE and A Level, thus enabling students to transition effectively to a higher level of study.” University of Cambridge

How to Choose an AS Level Course That is Right for You

Choosing the right AS level course is an important decision that requires some time and consideration. Here are some tips to help you make an informed choice:

Interests: If you are unsure of where you would like to head in long-term education or within a career, AS levels are a great option that allows some self-discovery. Choose course subjects that genuinely interest you! Having interest and passion whilst you study will help you stay motivated and can help you decide your next steps.

Career Goals: If you already have a career goal in mind, choosing an AS level course that relates to that specific industry may be a great starting point and will help show your commitment to that field later down the line.

Consider Your Strengths: Taking some time to think about where your strengths lie may help you navigate what course is right for you. If you are a wiz with numbers, would an AS Maths course be a great next step for you?

Get Talking: It’s important to remember that if you are having a difficult time coming to a final conclusion, there are a number of people you can discuss your options with and gain advice. Family members, teachers and educational advisers can help support you in your decision-making.

Is an AS Level Part of an A Level?

Whilst AS levels explore a portion of what’s discussed in an A level course, this unfortunately does not mean your AS level will give you a fast-track to gaining an A level qualification.

Fortunately, AS level qualifications are still beneficial as this will give you a better overall understanding and introduction to the subject when studying a full A level. Your AS level grade will also still count toward your total UCAS points.

Since 2018, the AS level qualification has been a standalone qualification and the grades do not accumulate to the full A Level. If a student decides to sit the AS Level exams one year and then wants to gain the full A Level either the following year or later on, they will still need to sit the exam paper that covers the AS Level materials. The marks required in order to gain an A Level grade will include testing the knowledge expected at an AS Level as well.” – Liza Atkinson, Exams and Assessment Administrator at NEC


If you want to know more about what AS levels NEC offer, take a look at our course page or get in touch with our Course Advice team. We look forward to helping you on your academic journey.

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