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Advanced Supplementary(AS) and Advanced (A) Level Curriculum

Advanced Supplementary(AS) and Advanced (A) Level Curriculum Y12-Y13 (16-19 years of age, KS5) 

Royal School will implement the study of AS and A-Level in the early part of the 2018-19 academic year. Cambridge A-Levels represent the ‘Gold Standard’ in education and are regarded as such in universities and industry throughout the world.
.  Any student who undertakes study at AS and A-Level should be aware that, whilst the end qualifications are very attractive, they are not easy to achieve.  For some students, A-Levels are the most difficult elements on the road to success and require a very swift maturing and understanding of learning which many student s find difficult initially.  However, with the right support and dedication this is overcome and the respective subjects come alive in the same way the neurons fire in the brain!

Entry Requirements

In order for a student to gain access to AS and A-Level study she or he must ensure that they have a minimum of five A*-C grades at IGCSE (or equivalent).  These must include Mathematics, English and a minimum of one Science (plus any other two subjects).  Also, for a student to undertake AS/A-Level study.

In order for a prospective student to study a particular subject, she/he must have passed the subject at Extended level at IGCSE – no student who has sat for a particular subject (English, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry or Physics) at Core level will be allowed to undertake AS/A-Level in the respective subject.

Entry is assessed on an individual basis.  Upon receipt of results prospective students undertake an interview with the School Head and Heads of Subjects in order to assess the viability of subject combination.  At this point not only are results taken into account but pastoral aspects such as character, diligence, organization, dedication and previous interactions.  The successful combination of all of these elements equates to success at Advanced level.  Where there are areas of concern, this will be discussed at interview and, if necessary, clear caveats and undertakings made on the part of the student.

Advanced Supplementary (AS) level

At AS level student s typically select four subjects which they intend to study over a two-year period.  Combination is key here and the advice of professionals in the school needs to be listened to and absorbed so that there are no ‘grey’ areas or misunderstandings.

It is essential that post-IGCSE examination, a student undertakes extensive research to discover the requirements for entry at university level.  It is anticipated that the majority of students will see progression through Royal School in a linear fashion: Primary-Lower Secondary-Upper secondary-Advanced-University – but this is not always the norm and many students choose perfectly valid alternative pathways to success.

AS level Assessment

Students are continuously assessed in accordance with CIE criteria.  At AS level grade boundaries are as follows:

Grade % Range
A 80-100
B 70-79
C 60-69
D 50-59
E 40-49
U 0-39

NB. Grade ‘D’ (50-59%) is regarded as a ‘pass’ at AS level.

Students at AS level can expect to be tested on a much more regular basis to ensure progression at this high level.  Students, like Year 11 students, will write Mock Examinations in the two weeks prior to the Easter break.  Information from Mock Examinations should be used to formulate research, revision and time-management strategies, in preparation for AS level examinations.

CIE AS level examinations take place in May/June and for many subjects the marks gained here can be rolled over into the final assessment at the end of Year 13 (A-Level).  Therefore it is imperative that students are very well prepared for the AS level examinations.  Failure at this stage, or garnering results which are not favourable, will mean that a student needs to write the complete series of examinations at the end of Year 13.  Please note that all examination fees for Year 12 and 13 are to be paid by the respective families of the students and examination entry is compulsory.

Study at AS level

It is vital that each student develops a new, more developed set of study skills at AS level. She or he needs to not only manage their time well but constantly review notes and read ahead for forthcoming lessons.  Lesson time intensifies, but so too does ‘free’ time.  It is during this free time that a student is expected to complete research on their chosen subjects and to go beyond what is being taught in the classroom.  In this regard the teacher becomes much more of a facilitator, than a pedagogue.  Independence of thought is key to the overall success at both AS and A-Level.

Finally, progression here is guaranteed as the Advanced course is designed to be delivered over a two-year period (at AS level the student is, effectively, half way through the course).

Advanced (A) Level

CIE Advanced Level (A-Level) is essentially the equivalent of first-year degree study.  Students entering into A-Level typically ‘drop’ a subject from AS level and continue with three subjects.  The three remaining subjects are studied at great depth and one should feel passionate and enjoy the study of one’s respective subjects.  Also, the combination of subjects should match the requirements of the faculty/university to which one wishes to apply (again research is key here).

At A-Level, teacher input drops to base knowledge level (around 10-15%) with the remaining 85-90% being self-directed study.  This is in preparation for academic study at university and is designed to emulate this.  If a teacher ‘spoon-feeds’ a student at this, or any other level (IGCSE to A-Level) then the likelihood is that a student will either fail the course with a grade ‘U’ or, at best, achieve a grade ‘E’.

A-Level Assessment

Similar to AS level, students are consistently tested throughout the school year.  Testing, once again, becomes more intense and a lot of emphasis is placed upon preparation and research.  At A-Level grade boundaries are as follows:

Grade % Range
A* 90-100
A 80-89
B 70-79
C 60-69
D 50-59
E 40-49
U 0-39

Students at A-Level will undertake Mock Examinations at the same time as AS and IGCSE students.  Again, feedback is essential in formulating strategies for preparation towards the final examinations, in May/June.