A levels

Exam boards develop and award GCSEs, AS and A levels. The content for these qualifications is prepared and published by the government.

At Grade Up, we offer A level tuition for English, maths and science (biology, chemistry and physics).

Just like the SATs and GCSE curriculum, there are many changes to the A level structure as well. Traditionally students had several attempts to pass or improve their grade by retaking unit exams, with the new model this is not the case, there is only one exam at the end of the study period. Therefore it is really important to give it a 100% and ensure that your child feels confident enough to sit the exam.


The fundamental change is the separation of AS and A level. In the old model, the AS qualification forms 50% of the examination and the AS papers are usually sat at the end of the first year of study, and sometimes re-sat during or at the close of the second year; the A level (or ‘A2’) papers are sat at the end of the second year. The AS level papers are pitched at a lower standard than the A2 papers – the standard that an A level student might be expected to reach after one year of their course.

In the new model, the AS and A level qualifications are completely separate examinations. Although the AS level specifications often feature content that is also on the A level specifications, the AS grade makes no contribution to the A level grade. You might be in a group that features AS and A level students, but you’re on distinct courses, with the A level papers pitched at a higher standard than the AS papers. If you’re following one or more of the new A level courses, you’ll sit all of the papers for that A level in one go, usually after two years of study.

Finally, the new A level courses are different to those they replace. In particular, for the majority of subjects, they are likely to have the following features:

  1. 1. A greater focus on extended writing.
  2. 2. A greater focus on spelling, punctuation and grammar (or ‘SPaG’).
  3. 3. Fewer multi-part and low mark questions.
  4. 4. A focus on written examinations rather than ‘coursework’ or ‘controlled assessments’.
  5. 5. A greater focus on ‘English’ authors and ‘British’ history.

Taken together, these changes would suggest that the new A levels will be tougher than the old ones.

In terms of UCAS points, they will be valued at 40% of the value of an A level grade. Traditionally, an AS level has been worth 50% of the value of an A level grade. Although the standard of AS levels is not changing, we would expect the style of the new AS level papers to reflect that of the new A-levels.

Successful students are independent learners but they do not simply learn alone. Instead, they draw on the expertise of others and a range of learning resources to develop their skills and knowledge. In particular, successful students engage with their teachers differently. They don’t simply depend on teacher instruction to get them through. This is another reason Grade Up are especially required at AS and A levels, as pupils will be expected to have less teacher intervention at school and may need extra support in the form of tuitions, to keep them up to date and ahead in their chosen course.

Let Grade Up Tuitions help you achieve your goals, we are here to support you through the journey to a better future.