OCR Where is A level exam used and accepted worldwide?

Where is A Level Applied

United Kingdom

A-levels are part of the Further Education process in the United Kingdom. A-levels can also be studied by students in Years 12 and 13 in a Sixth Form institution, as part of secondary school. This is an integrated part of a Secondary Education institution in many areas of the country, while others have separate Sixth Form Colleges-this is normally done as a direct continuation of the secondary education process and hence most students study for the qualification from ages 16 to 18. Students require at least 5 A (Star) -C GCSE Grades, including English and Mathematics to meet the pre-requisite to start A-levels.

University admissions

Because A-level students often apply to universities before they have taken their final exams, British universities (including Scottish universities, which receive many applicants taking A-levels) consider predicted A-level results when deciding whether applicants should be offered places. The predictions are made by students'teachers and can be unreliable. Thus, the acceptance of a student onto a course will normally be conditional on him or her actually achieving a minimum set of grades (for example, conditional offer of three A-levels at grades B-B-C). Universities may specify which subjects they wish these grades to be in (for example, conditional offer of grades A-A-B with a grade A in Mathematics).

A-level grades are also sometimes converted into numerical scores, notably through the UCAS university admission system. For example, under the UCAS system, an A (Star) grade at A-level is worth 140 points, while an A is worth 120, a B is worth 100, a C is worth 80, a D is 60, and a E is worth 40; so a university may instead demand that an applicant achieve 280 points, instead of the equivalent offer of B-B-C. This allows greater flexibility to students, as 280 points could also, for example, be achieved through the combination A-B-D, which would not have met the requirements of a B-B-C offer because of the D grade.

Depending on the specific offer made, a combination of more than 3 subjects (typically 4 or 5) with lower grades, or points from non-academic input such as higher level music grades or a Key Skills course, may also be accepted by the university. The text of the offer determines whether this flexibility is available- “280 UCAS Points” likely would, while “280 UCAS Points from three A-level subjects” would not.

International Admissions

There are currently two examination boards which provide an international variant of A-Level examinations to international students. These are Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) and Edexcel. International A-Level is widely available worldwide, with more than 125 countries providing the programme with 60 different choices of subjects.

The GCE qualification is also generally welcomed by many educational institutions as well as employers all around the world. It is also recognised as equivalent to UK A-Level.

Unlike the current modular system implemented in the UK, CIE A-Level (or more commonly known as “Cambridge A-Level” ) practises a terminal-examination system. Students are required to sit for two major exams, AS and a2, at the end of each academic year. Each of the major exams carries the weightage of 50 percent to form a complete A-Level. However, Edexcel A-Level students will be sitting the same paper as the students in UK concurrently.


A/AS levels are also taken in many Commonwealth and former Commonwealth countries, including Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cameroon, the Commonwealth Caribbean/CARICOM Territories, Cyprus, Ecuador, Ghana, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Due to respective changes in the systems, these examinations generally differ both in terms of content and style from the A-levels taken in the United Kingdom.

Caribbean Nations

Recently within the Caribbean there has been a move away from the GCE Advanced Level to the CXC CAPE examinations, making them a de facto university entrance examination. However, some universities also require applicants to take separate entrance examinations and the International Baccalaureate and European Baccalaureate are also accepted.

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, the British A-level has been accused of grade inflation, and thus over time the HKAL has become more strictly graded compared to its British counterpart, as shown by NARIC research. Compared to the usual 25 − 30% rate of achieving an A-grade in the UK as/a2, there could be statistically fewer than 0.05% candidates scoring an “A” in a single examination in the Hong Kong Advanced Supplementary Level Examination and less than 1% rate of achieving an A-grade every year in an A-level subject.

International schools

Many international schools choose to use the British system for their wide recognition. Furthermore, students may choose to sit the papers of British examination bodies at education centres around the world, such as those belonging to the British Council. According to the British Council, A-levels are similar to the American Advanced Placements which are themselves equivalent to first year courses of America's four-year bachelor degrees.

Baccalaureate proposals

Universities in the United Kingdom frequently demand that applicants achieve a minimum set of grades in A-level examinations, or the equivalent in other examination systems, before accepting them. While the UK government originally rejected plans to introduce an English Baccalaureate modelled on the International Baccalaureate, the Welsh Government introduced a Welsh Baccalaureate in Wales, and an English equivalent is being developed.