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All about the A-level programme

20 July 2021

A-levels are part of a UK educational programme for high school students, serving as preparation for admission to foreign universities, primarily British. Successful students receive an internationally-recognised certificate. Years 12 and 13 at School 7 follow this programme of study. In this article we will tell you what A-levels are and how we implement it at BISM.

Programme structure

The curriculum runs over 2 years, for ages 16–18 years. At the beginning of the first year, students choose only 4 from the entire list of subjects, relating to their hoped-for future studies. For example, those who have identified the humanities as their direction can take literature instead of mathematics. English is also a compulsory subject for Russian-speaking students, because all other subjects are taught in English.

A-levels assume 2 levels: AS (Advanced Subsidiary) and A2/AL (Advanced Level). At the end of each academic year, students sit exams in selected subjects and get first intermediate AS and then A2 qualifications. The better the marks are, the easier it is to enter university.

During the final year of study, students can also write an extended essay, a research paper that is considered as part of an admission application.

Benefits of A-level

The programme is popular with high school students around the world and is considered as a gold standard of British education. Its clear advantages include the following:

  • The certificate and the results of A-levels open up the possibility to enter universities in the UK and other countries.
  • The curriculum is structured so as not only to give deep academic knowledge, but also to develop practical skills, which will help in further studies and work.
  • The student needs to concentrate on studying just a few subjects.
  • Many experts believe it is easier to get a high score in this programme than in some other equivalents, for example, in IB.

Disadvantages of A-level

A-level is not the only international programme after which you can enter a foreign university. Compared to others, it has some drawbacks:

  • Choosing A-level, high school students should already understand where they are going to study, and even what profession they wish to pursue. Based on these plans, they need to choose the subjects to study.
  • The programme is not regarded as valid as university admission in every country. It is approved by the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, and Singapore, but still not in the whole world.

A-level at British International School of Moscow

At the end of the Year 11, BISM students decide how to continue their studies: with A-level or IB. The British International School is the only one in Moscow that implements both programmes at once and gives students such a choice. A-level is a popular solution. But for safety reasons, we have the opportunity to switch from it to IB, if a student suddenly changes their mind.

A-level is taught at School 7 from 12th to 13th year. All our teachers are native English speakers. They are experienced educators who are graduates in many fields. We give strong support to our students during their studies. Although international programmes require a high level of self-organisation, the coordinators are always ready to help and guide.

For 27 years, we have managed to develop an effective educational system according to the international standards, so our students usually have excellent marks for their exams and easily enter the best universities in the world. We never stop being proud of them!

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