Everything you wanted to know about A Levels

The main reason for choosing AS and A Levels to +2 would be the international recognition. Cambridge International AS and A Levels have widespread international recognition as educational qualifications.

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Everything you wanted to know about A Levels

What are the GCE A Levels?
The General Certificate of Education (GCE) is one of the most internationally recognised qualifications at the secondary level. GCE examinations are set by the University of Cambridge International Examinations.

Students can take this qualification at the Advanced Subsidiary (AS) Level or the Advanced (A) Level, depending on their needs and on the courses they intend to follow. We advise students to take a preparation course that follows the specific syllabus for the subject they wish to give exams in.

How many years does it take to complete an A Level degree?
A CIE A Level degree typically takes two years to complete and includes a flexible course of students that gives students the freedom to select subjects that are appropriate for them. Schools and learners find CIE AS and A Level programmes very flexible as schools can offer almost any combination of the wide range of subjects available. Learners have the freedom to select subjects that are right for them—they either follow a broad course of study, or specialise in a particular area.

Students can choose from a range of assessment options:

Options    
Option 1— Take all papers of the CIE A Level course in the same examination session, usually at the end of the second year of studyTake all papers of the CIE A Level course in the same examination session, usually at the end of the second year of study
   
Option 2—
Take a ‘staged’ assessment route—take the Cambridge International AS Level in one examination session and complete the final A Level during a subsequent session*Take a ‘staged’ assessment route—take the Cambridge International AS Level in one examination session and complete the final A Level during a subsequent session*    

Option 3   
Take the AS Level only. The CIE AS Level syllabus content is half an A Level programmeTake the AS Level only. The CIE AS Level syllabus content is half an A Level programme    

The staged assessment route is not possible in all subjects. Outcomes awarded for the CIE AS Level language syllabi, for example, cannot be carried forward to the CIE A Level.

What do the terms AS and A2 or A Level mean?
The Advanced Subsidiary (AS) is offered in most subjects and became available for the first time in 2001. The subsidiary is a new way of facilitating staged assessment. The subject content of the new A Level syllabi has been subdivided into two parts: the AS syllabus content, which is expected to be covered in the first half of the course, and the second part of the syllabus, commonly referred to as A2, taken at the end of the second year of study. In terms of the UCAS tariff, the AS is worth half the points of a GCE Advanced Level qualification. There are certain subjects that are only available at AS Level and can be taken as free-standing qualifications.

Why should students study AS and A Level?

The CIE AS and A Levels are internationally benchmarked qualifications providing excellent preparation for university education. They are taken in over 160 countries and offer a choice of 60 different subjects and are widely recognised and valued <http://www.cie.org.uk/qualifications/academic/uppersec/alevel/recognition> by universities and employers alike. Some US universities give up to a year’s credit as a result. Every year, thousands of A Level students gain places at good universities worldwide—including the UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Nepal.

What are the benefits of studying AS and A Levels rather than +2?
The main reason for choosing AS and A Levels to +2 would be the international recognition. Cambridge International AS and A Levels have widespread international recognition as educational qualifications. This recognition is because:
> CIE AS and A Levels qualifications are recognised by universities as equivalent in value to UK AS and A Levels
> Good grades at AS and A Levels can result in one full year of advanced standing or credit at universities in the USA and Canada
> It is accepted as an entry qualification by universities of the European Union, at par with the French Baccalaureate, the German Abitur, etc
> Good AS and A Level grades are vital for admission to all the world’s major English-speaking universities and many non-English-speaking universities
> AS and A Levels are rigorous programmes that encourage high academic standards
> AS and A Levels have a high profile amongst English-medium international schools around the world
These above mentioned recognitions are not always possible to achieve with a +2 degree offered by different schools and colleges in Nepal through the Higher Secondary Education Board (HSEB).

Which and how many subjects can I take for the GCE A Level?
There are no fixed combinations of subjects in the GCE A Level. Nonetheless, entry to some institutions requires a particular combination of subjects. Generally, a minimum of three A Level subjects is required. Some competent students may elect to do four subjects, or even more.

Is the credit transfer possible?
Transfers between applied GCE specifications follow the same rules as those which apply to other GCE specifications. Only complete AS qualifications may be transferred. Acceptance of a transfer is subject to the centre, ensuring that options are chosen in such a way that any repetition of subject
content is consistent with the requirements of the receiving awarding body’s published specification.

What are the main requirements for studying A Level?
You can take on the AS or A Level programme if you have completed your secondary education. Three subjects at A Level and one General Paper at AS Level is equivalent to the intermediate level in Nepal. A Level examinations are normally taken by students aged 18, although they can be taken at any age.

How long does it take for the result to come out?
The results are issued in August and January for May/June and October/November exam sessions respectively. Results are sent in the form of a Statement of Results. The certificates for successful candidates are normally sent about six weeks after the issue of results.

When does registration take place?
Registration for May/June and October/November takes place in January/February and July/August respectively. CIE AS and A Levels use a wide range of assessment processes and techniques to supplement formal written examinations—orals, practical, projects and coursework of differing types are all used in various subjects where they are the most effective and appropriate means of measuring attainment.

Some subjects are only available in June or November How many subjects are required to continue bachelor’s study in Nepal?
At least three A Level subjects are required for admissions at the bachelor’s level. For more details consult the Book of Recognition and Equivalence of Educational Qualifications, published by the Curriculum Development Centre, Tribhuvan University.

What are the main requirements for studying A Level?
A student needs self-discipline, self-motivation, and management skills. A Level students must become less dependent on the teacher and work more as independent learners. Students ought to be prepared to follow the advice of the teacher, to complete the work given by the faculty, and to undertake further reading/research independently.

How much does the A Level examination cost?
The CIE charges a candidate fee and a fee per subject. In addition, the British Council levies its own administrative cost against these two fees and also charges a fee for any practical examination and for the forwarding to CIE of computer projects and practical tasks.

Who conducts the A Level exams in Nepal?
A Level exams are conducted by the University of Cambridge under the supervision of the British Council, Nepal.

Where can I study A level in Nepal?
There are various schools and colleges in Nepal that offer A Level courses, mainly in Kathmandu, Pokhara, Chitwan and Biratnagar.

Can Nepali students adjust to international degrees like the CIE A Level?
Nepali students have been performing very well at the AS and A Levels and have been able to repeatedly produce exceptional results. These outstanding students are awarded every year at the Outstanding Cambrdige Learner Awards organised by the Cambridge International Examinations and The British Council. Learners receive awards for exceptional performance in the CIE examinations, including learners who achieve the highest marks in the world and those who attain the highest marks in Nepal in a particular subject. According to past trends, Nepali students have not only adjusted, but also shown that they are perfectly competent and able to attain remarkable results.

source: The Kathmandu Post,28 Feb 2013

2013-02-28 | EducateNepal

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