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How Long Does an A Level Qualification Take?

Whether you’re hoping to earn a spot at your dream university or you’re simply looking to study a subject more in-depth, gaining an A Level qualification is undoubtedly a benefit to you and your academic goals.

One of the main stressors for many learners, however, is how long an A Level qualification takes to complete. Between work, family, or even other A Level subjects, you might not have the availability to study full-time, leaving you uncertain about your remaining options and what to do next. 

Here we take a comprehensive look at A Level qualifications to tell you how long your A Level might take, as well as answering a few other pesky questions you may have before enrolling.

Why study an A Level qualification?

A Level qualifications (or advanced qualifications) can be studied by both students and adults alike, as they’re subject-based courses that can help progress either your academic or professional career.

If you’re a student wishing to move on to college or university, A Levels are the most commonly studied qualifications to advance to higher education.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for employment or to progress in the workplace, A Levels demonstrate to employers that you have dedication and commitment, and can even open doors to higher apprenticeships and other training opportunities. 

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How long does an A Level qualification take to complete? 

It’s recommended that learners give themselves around two years to complete an A Level course. However, you could complete it more quickly or slowly.

How long your A Level qualification takes to complete will depend on several factors, including:

  • How you choose to study (i.e., part-time, full-time, online or in a classroom)
  • How you learn (i.e., a visual or hands-on learner)
  • How much subject knowledge you already have
  • How long you have until your chosen exam date (exams take place every summer)
  • How busy your schedule is with prior commitments 

The key to completing your A Level qualification quickly and efficiently is to be realistic about your study habits, your time, and your goals. We recommend creating a practical study plan suited to your busy lifestyle to get you started.

Are there prerequisites to studying your A Levels?

It depends on where you’re studying.

If you’re studying in a sixth form or college, it’s often necessary to have set GCSE level grades before moving on to studying an A Level qualification.

According to UCAS, you’ll typically need at least five GCSEs at grades 9 to 4/A* to C, or equivalent, and a grade B in the subject (or subjects) you want to study. 

However, other A Level providers may not require any GCSEs at all, particularly if you study online or in a class aimed at adults. 

Most of our online A Level courses don’t have any entry requirements, so they’re ideal if you don’t have a full set of GCSEs.

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What do you learn by studying an A Level qualification?

Similar to GCSE courses, there are a wide range of subjects that can be studied at A Level, though some subjects may differ depending on the school you plan to study with.

Some schools will have additional A Level subjects that may not have been an option at the GCSE level. Popular A Level courses, for example, include Business, Psychology, and Economics, so it’s always worth looking at multiple colleges to see what’s on offer before making a final decision. 

All in all, the best way to choose your subject is to choose based on what you’re most interested in. That way, you’re likely to find the course more enjoyable and boost your chances of success. Enrolling in a course you don’t like will only hinder your performance and shrink your motivation, so go with what works best for you. 

How should you study an A Level qualification?

The best thing about studying an A Level qualification is that you have a couple of options when it comes to your study route.

You can choose to study in a classroom at a sixth form or college, or from anywhere with a WiFi connection via online distance learning - the choice is entirely yours.

But which route is better?

While the answer to this question will vary based on each individual, we’ve made it simple for you to compare and contrast.

Classroom Learning

Learning in the classroom has long been the norm, and despite modern technology, it’s still a great way to learn for many people.

If you’re someone who works better in a social environment, with a set classroom schedule and someone to guide you, then studying in a classroom may be the best option for you - especially if you struggle to stay motivated during independent study.

Often the downside to in-person classes, however, is that you may have a long commute and inflexible class times, meaning you could have to take time off work for your studies.

Online Learning

Studying an A Level from home has a lot of advantages when you choose an experienced learning provider (like us, for instance).

Learning online allows you the flexibility to study on your own time, at your own pace, and around your busy life, because there’s no set schedule (unlike the more inflexible, classroom-based formats). 

Plus, if you can dedicate a decent number of hours to learning during your daily or weekly routine, then another benefit to studying an A Level qualification online is that it will typically be faster than if you were to study in a classroom.

While you are entirely responsible for your own learning, between online interactive modules, video chats, online tutor support, and virtual student communities, you’ll get a similar learning experience as you would in a classroom – and many students prefer the more relaxed style of home study over learning in school.

All in all, which learning method you choose  – much like how long your A Level qualification will take  – will depend on your lifestyle and what works best for you.

Learn more about gaining your A Level qualification 100% online with us. Get your free online A Level course guide today. 

Download Your Free A Level Course Guide

Get information on our A Level courses

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