1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

What does GCE (UK) involve (A-levels)?

  1. Oct 9, 2015 #1

    What does the General Certificate of Education (?) in the UK involve? Is it the same as A-levels?

    Edit: It says I need the GCE with two A-levels, what does this mean?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 10, 2015 #2


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper


    It means you need passes in two relevant A-levels (or, conceivably, equivalent non-English qualifications).
  4. Oct 10, 2015 #3
    Thanks! It also says I don't need the GCSE, what does that mean? When taking the A-levels, do I need to take the AS and A2? :-)
  5. Oct 10, 2015 #4


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    An A-level consists of an AS followed by an A2, so yes.

    See also http://www.cie.org.uk/programmes-and-qualifications/cambridge-advanced/cambridge-international-as-and-a-levels/ [Broken].
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  6. Oct 10, 2015 #5
    Thank you, the link was very helpful. Maybe the Norwegian equivalent of UCAS is a little confused cause I am... It says (translated): From 2015/16 2 AS-levels will no longer replace 1 A-level. The combination 1 A-level and 2 AS-levels will not give a [Norwegian equivalent of the GCE] and the applicant must have a minimum of 2 A-levels to fulfill the requirements of a [Norwegian equivalent of the GCE]

    Does this mean I don't need to take any AS exams, only A2?:confused:
  7. Oct 14, 2015 #6
    In the UK it used to be that one traditionally studied for the A-level qualifications from the age of 16 to the age of 18. So, you spent two years studying, say, three A-levels (say, Maths, Physics, Chemistry).

    Around 2000 it changed so that now the first year of study was called 'AS level' and the second, final year, called 'A2 level'. Together, an AS and an A2 in, say, mathematics, make up the mathematics A-level (GCE) qualification.

    This was done to make the first year of study into a qualification in its own right. This offered more choice to students: you did not have to commit to a subject for two years, and end up with nothing if you left after one year. Plus, you could e.g. do AS levels in maths, physics, chemistry in year one, then the A2 part for maths and physics in your second year, but drop chemistry and pick up an AS in biology. Now you leave with A-levels in maths and physics, and AS levels in chemistry and biology. Under the old system, you would not have been allowed to study biology in your second year, and not have gotten a chemistry qualification for your one year of work.

    What this means for you: you CANNOT use (say) AS level physics and AS level mathematics and present this as equivalent to one whole A-level. The two AS levels are still two years' worth of work, but they are not, for your website quote, considered as one A-level. [Imagine you studied at university for three years, but each year you swapped subject and started again - is this equivalent to a full, three-year degree in the same subject? Not really.]

    So: to get an A-level in ANY subject, you must complete two parts - the AS level (first year topics) and the A2 level (second year topics). So, yes, you WILL need to take AS level exams (and then A2 exams) in order to get an A-level.
  8. Oct 14, 2015 #7
    You are fantastic, thank you so much for this!
  9. Oct 14, 2015 #8
    You are very welcome. Hope it helps. :)
  10. Oct 15, 2015 #9
    Sorry, I missed this question: Thanks! It also says I don't need the GCSE, what does that mean?

    The GCSE is the qualification in England that you get when you finish compulsory schooling at 16. Students normally take about 10 of these. GCSEs are the qualification one stage below the GCE (A-levels). So, from what you wrote, the website says you do not need to worry about this qualification (which is lower than a GCE (A-level) anyway).

    P.S. There are some strange rules in the UK e.g. some jobs will not hire you even if you have a degree in mathematics, if you do not also have the GCSE in mathematics! But you don't need to worry about that either.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: What does GCE (UK) involve (A-levels)?
  1. GCE A level exams? (Replies: 6)