In the Lower Sixth, students usually choose four or five AS Levels chosen from a list of options in blocks. In the Upper Sixth, students usually choose three AS subjects to continue to A2 Level. Detail on the course of study for each subject is available on their separate pages. We do our utmost to achieve the best combination of subjects for each student bearing in mind their planned career/study path.
Recent changes in A Levels
Although A Levels have been awarded for years, they have recently undergone substantial change. This is a general explanation of how an A Level in any subject is structured:
An A Level is divided into two equal parts – the AS and the A2. The AS is usually made up of two or three units and is a qualification in its own right. The AS is assessed at the end of the first year of study – this will usually be at the end of Lower Sixth, although occasionally it may be possible for someone to take up a new AS subject in the Upper Sixth.
- At the Abbey School, there are 8 lessons per week for each AS subject and 8 per week for each A2. We expect students to do approximately 4 additional hours of work per subject each week, consisting of work set by teachers and their own preparation and reading.
- To turn an AS into an A Level students take the A2 (usually a further 2 or 3 units) in the second year.
- The AS is slightly easier than the old A Level and the A2 is slightly harder; this is to achieve overall parity with the old qualification.
- Coursework has been substantially reduced or removed in most subjects. For practicals, projects and arts subjects, the examination boards will moderate internally assessed work.
- Many A Levels have a synoptic element in one or more of the A2 papers. Synoptic questions draw on knowledge gained throughout the AS and A2 courses, rather than just that gained in one unit.
- In certain circumstances, it is possible to retake AS units to improve a student's AS grade or to increase the UMS marks carried forward to the A2 level.