Show/hide menu

University Pathways
A-level

Key information

Start dates:
11 September 2017; 8 January* 2018
Course length:
2 Academic Years (6 terms)
Class size range:
4–10
Tuition:
Average 20–25 hours per week (plus homework and private study)

Entry requirements

Academic:
Completed 10 years of schooling with documented proof of excellent grades
English:
IELTS 5.5 or equivalent (5.0 in Reading and Writing)
If you need additional English, you can study the Extended A-level course prior to your A-level course.
Minimum age:
16

*The course starting in January is extremely intensive. A restricted range of subjects may apply to January starts.

Sample pathways for the A-level courses at Kings

Sample pathways for A-levels at Kings

The course

This course is for the most able students who are seeking places on competitive degree courses at the most elite universities in the UK or internationally. A-levels are essential for any students considering applying to Oxford or Cambridge University, or to medical school.

The Gold Standard 

A-levels are widely regarded as the ‘Gold Standard’ qualification for top universities in Britain, and the rest of the world. This prestigious course is internationally acknowledged as evidence of the most demanding and rigorous intellectual training.

Specialist subject expertise

A-levels are unique in providing an unrivalled depth of study in a few, specialist subjects.

After two years, you will have developed the kind of subject knowledge which is often only acquired during the first year at university in many other countries. 

A-levels also develop your broad study skills and your ability to think and argue critically. They prepare you fully for the challenge of studying at world-class universities.

Very small classes

We teach A-levels in classes with between 4 and 10 students. This close support and guidance from teachers is essential due to the academic demands A-levels place on international students.

Group tutor and specialist subject teachers

You will have a group tutor who will be your constant point of contact for support throughout your course. You will also benefit from subject specialist teachers. All our teachers are highly experienced at understanding the special support international students need in order to progress and excel.

Grades and assessment

When you apply for an undergraduate course, your chosen universities will offer you a place conditional upon you achieving specified A-level grades. Each A-level is graded from A–E. 

The entrance requirements your university sets you will be in either A-level grades or as a UCAS tariff score.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is the organisation responsible for managing applications to higher education courses in the UK. You can find out more on the UCAS website

We’ll help you with your application and will guide you through the whole  process.

The table below shows the UCAS tariff points equivalent to each grade at A-level.

AS levels are the first part of an A-level programme, the second part is A2. AS levels can be studied as a free-standing qualification but most students take them as the first part of the A-level qualification. 

Final A-level grades are based 50%-50% on results from AS levels and A2 levels exams and in some cases coursework.

GradeA-levelAS level
A* 140 n/a
A 120 60
B 100 50
C 80 40
D 60 30
E 40 20

Course structure

There are two stages to A-levels:

Year 1 — Advanced Subsidiary (AS) level
Year 2 — A2 level

Together, the AS and A2 make up the full A-level qualification.

At Kings, there are six components to the A-level course:

1. Main subjects 

Depending on your future degree course and ability, we will agree your personal study programme, choosing from three to five subjects.

2. Academic skills development

You will have classes in Academic English. These will help you to use academic English effectively in your studies, and support both your general and subject-specific learning.

3. IELTS preparation

At the same time, you will develop specific skills to enable you to pass the IELTS exam to the level required for university entry.

4. Academic Enrichment programme

Students are also exposed to a variety of topics, including PSHE, Creative Arts and PE, as part of the Academic Enrichment programme.

5. Examination practice

You will have practice exams every week to ensure that you learn the disciplines of working concisely, accurately and to precise time limits.

These weekly exams give your teachers valuable information about your progress so they can make sure each lesson is relevant to your exact needs.

6. Examinations

Examination structures for A-level vary by subject, but all involve a final examination at the end of year 2. See individual subject guides for more information.

University Application Programme 

All students benefit from the Kings University Application Programme. This provides a carefully managed and rigorous approach to university research, selection, application and final decision. 

Art and Design

Structure: AS Art and Design from 2016


This is a stand-alone one-year qualification. Students may then progress to a full A-level.

AS Component 1: The Portfolio (60%)
Students choose ONE of the 6 subject areas outlined below and work on that throughout the course.
 Students develop work based on an idea, issue, concept or them, leading to a final outcome or a series of related outcomes. 

AS Component 2: Assignment (40%) 
At the start of February students will be given question papers according to the subject area they have chosen. The paper will have 5 questions, from which they choose one as a starting point for their work.
Towards the end of the course students will have 10 hours of supervised time to produce a finished outcome or a series of related outcomes.

Structure: A-level Art and Design

This is a stand-alone one-year qualification.

A-level Component 1: Personal Investigation (60%)

Students choose one of the 6 subject areas (see below) which may be the same as the one they did for AS, and work on that throughout their course. They develop work based on an idea, issue, concept or a series of related outcomes, supported by written work (1,000 – 3,000 words).

A-level Component 2: Assignment (40%)
At the beginning of February students receive a question paper with a choice of 8 questions from which they choose one as a starting point for their work. Towards the end of the course they will have 15 hours of supervised time in which they produce a finished outcome or a series of related outcomes.

Overview

A-level Art and Design develops students’ intellectual, imaginative, creative and reflective skills. They will also develop investigative, analytical, experimental, practical, technical, and expressive skills, an aesthetic understanding and critical judgement. Students also gain an understanding of the inter-relationships between art, craft and design, and an awareness of the contexts in which they operate as well as knowledge and understanding of art,craft and design in contemporary society and in other times and cultures. Kings offers different endorsements, for example Art, Craft and Design, Fine Art, and 3D Design.
Note: A-level Art and Design is not suitable for beginners in the subject. The course presupposes a student has GCSE Art and Design or equivalent.

Syllabus

Kings follows the AQA specification. Within each component, students must demonstrate evidence that they have explored critical and contextual work through a range of two-dimensional and/or three-dimensional processes and media.
Component 1: must show evidence of working in areas of study drawn from two or more of the endorsed titles listed below.
Component 2: must show evidence of areas of study drawn from one or more of the endorsed titles listed below. The area(s) of study selected for Component 1 can be the same as, or different to, those selected for Component 2.

Skills and techniques

Students will be expected to demonstrate skills, as defined in Overarching knowledge, understanding and skills, in the context of their chosen areas of study.

Art, craft and design
A broad-based course exploring practical and critical/contextual work through a range of 2D and/or 3D processes and media associated with two or more of the titles below.

Fine art
Students should produce practical and critical/contextual work in one or more areas of study, for example, drawing, painting, mixed-media, sculpture, ceramics, installation, printmaking, moving image (video, film, animation) and photography.

Graphic communication
Students should produce practical and critical/contextual work in one or more areas of study, for example, interactive media (including web, app and game design), advertising, packaging design, design for print, illustration, communication graphics, branding, multimedia, motion graphics, design for film and television.

Textile design
Students should produce practical and critical/contextual work in one or more areas of study, for example, fashion design, fashion textiles, costume design, digital textiles, printed and/or dyed fabrics and materials, domestic textiles, wallpaper, interior design, constructed textiles, art textiles and installed textiles.

Three-dimensional design
Students should produce practical and critical/contextual work in one or more areas of study, for example, ceramics, sculpture, exhibition design, design for theatre, television and film, interior design, product design, environmental design, architectural design, jewellery/body ornament and 3D digital design.

Photography
Students should produce practical and critical/contextual work in one or more areas of study, for example, portraiture, landscape photography, still life photography, documentary photography, photojournalism, fashion photography, experimental imagery, multimedia, photographic installation and moving image (video, film, animation).

Degree progression

Studying Art and Design at A-level equips students with a whole set of transferable skills both for life and for a wide range of vocational areas.
A-level Art and Design is perfect for those students wishing to undertake further studies in art, craft and design related subjects. Many students progress onto art related courses, which sometimes involves studying an Art foundation course such as the Kings Art Foundation. This is a one year full-time course that allows students to explore a range of disciplines before deciding which specialist area they want to study at degree level.

Example degree courses which often require Art and Design A-level include:

  • Fine Art
  • Textile Design
  • Fashion Design
  • Graphics and Advertising
  • Photography
  • Multimedia
  • Architecture
  • Product Design
  • Illustration

Assessment

Students have a practical supervised period to prepare for the externally assessed assignment project which occurs in December and March each year. At AS this practical is 10 hours and at A2 the practical is 15 hours.

Enrichment

A-Level students visit museums and galleries both locally and nationally to research areas of interest relevant to the development of their ideas.
Students are invited to attend regular life drawing classes at Oxford.
Students will present their work through regular critiques to refine and hone their skills as well as showcase their work in an annual exhibition, which is moderated by an AQA examiner.

Biology

Overview

Biology has probably the most accessible content of the three sciences, as it can be related naturally to all aspects of life. A-level students study carefully, and in detail, how life in the world works: how our bodies work; how diseases stop them working; how plants grow; how life may be threatened by poisonous substances; how ecosystems work; where energy comes from and how organisms use it; how genes and evolution affect us all.

Degree progression

A-level Biology, often in conjunction with other science-based subjects, can lead to the following types of degree course. It is a particularly good choice for people who want to pursue a future career in health and clinical professions.

  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Biochemistry
  • Dentistry
  • Dietetics
  • Earth Sciences
  • Environmental Science
  • Forensic Science
  • Geology
  • Medical Science
  • Medicine
  • Nursing
  • Optometry
  • Pharmacy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Sports Science
  • Veterinary Science

Typical A-level subject combinations with biology

  • Maths, Chemistry and Biology
  • Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology

Assessment

As of September 2015, Biology students will complete a one-year standalone AS level qualification in year 1 of their course. Once they have completed this, they can progress to a full A-level. The final A-level exam at the end of year 2 will test students on work covered in the AS year too.

Sample enrichment activities

  • The Big Bang fair, NEC Birmingham
  • Natural History Museum visit
  • Oxford University Science laboratory visit
  • Oxford University School of Medicine visit
  • The Royal Society, London
  • Science Club
  • Science in the News Club
  • Google Science Fair 

Chemistry

Overview

Chemistry is the study of all chemical substances and how they can change. Students will learn to understand these and see in new ways the things that make up the world; our food, fuels and fabrics, building materials and manufactured goods, the air we breathe, the tools we use.

Students will learn about atoms and reactions, bonding and structure, hydrocarbons, polymers and alcohols, energetics and transition elements. They’ll use Mathematics to describe and understand chemical ideas, and will devise and carry out practical experiments to test the principles they are learning.

Degree progression

A-level Chemistry, often in conjunction with other science-based subjects, can lead to the following types of degree course:

  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Biochemistry
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Dentistry
  • Dietetics
  • Earth Sciences
  • Environmental Science
  • Geology
  • Medical Science
  • Medicine
  • Optometry
  • Pharmacy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Sports Science
  • Veterinary Science

Typical A-level subject combinations with chemistry

  • Chemistry, Maths and Physics
  • Chemistry, Maths and Biology
  • Chemistry, Maths and Economics

Assessment

As of September 2015, Chemistry students will complete a one-year standalone AS level qualification in year 1 of their course. Once they have completed this, they can progress to a full A-level. The final A-level exam at the end of year 2 will test students on work covered in the AS year too.

Sample enrichment activities

  • The Big Bang fair, NEC Birmingham
  • Natural History Museum visit
  • Oxford University Science laboratory visit
  • Oxford University School of Medicine visit
  • The Royal Society, London
  • Science Club
  • Science in the News Club
  • Google Science Fair 

One year A-level option

Kings London offers the most able students a one-year chemistry A-level. There are 8 hours of lessons per week per subject for three subjects, plus a tutorial. Minimum IELTS 6.5. 

Chinese

This course aim to develop your ability to communicate confidently and effectively in Chinese. You will examine the language in a broader context including the culture and society of Chinese-speaking countries.

Economics

Overview

The course develops an understanding of economic concepts and theories through a critical consideration of current economic issues, problems and institutions that affect everyday life.

It also teaches students to apply economic concepts and theories in a range of contexts and to appreciate their value and limitations in explaining real-world phenomena including the interrelationships between macroeconomics and microeconomics.

Degree progression

A-level Economics opens up many options for students at university, and there are many courses available with permutations of Business/ Management/ Administration/ Economics/ Accounting and Finance.

Economics also stands up as a strong social science for students who wish to pursue this route and is ideally coupled with the human geography element and the statistics element of mathematics.

Typical A-level subject combinations with economics

  • Economics, Geography and Maths
  • Economics, Geography and Politics

Assessment

As of September 2015, Economics students will complete a one-year standalone AS level qualification in year 1 of their course. Once they have completed this, they can progress to a full A-level. The final A-level exam at the end of year 2 will test students on work covered in the AS year too.

Sample enrichment activities

  • Business enterprise
  • Bank of England visit
  • Coca Cola factory tour
  • BMW factory visit

English Literature

On this course, you will study a range of English literature texts, chosen from a broad genre and historical perspective. This will include a compulsory Shakespeare play in addition to a 20th century text.

Geography

Overview

The course will enable students to acquire and apply knowledge and understanding of physical and human processes, their interactions and outcomes over space and time, through the study of places and environments. They will also acquire and apply skills necessary for the pursuit of the discipline, and will develop an understanding of the opportunities, challenges and constraints that face people in different places and environments. They’ll acquire a deeper understanding of the connections between different aspects of geography.

Degree progression

Many students who do Geography at A-level use their qualification to do a degree in Geography or a related subject.

Besides teaching, A-level Geography is required for a number of careers, including research, science-based careers and environmental-based careers. Having a Geography A-level can be advantageous when applying for jobs in a variety of sectors, including environment and sustainability, physical systems, society, business, geographical techniques, development and global issues, settlement and travel, tourism, leisure and culture.

Example degree courses which generally require Geography A-level include:

  • Archaeology
  • Earth Sciences
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • International Relations
  • Leisure and Tourism
  • Oceanography
  • Politics

Typical A-level subject combinations with geography

  • Geography, Maths and Economics
  • Geography, Politics and History
  • Geography, Politics and Economics

Assessment

Geography is a subject that has two stages at A-level (AS level, A2 level), which together make up the full A-level qualification. Students are examined at the end of Year 1 (AS level) and the end of Year 2 (A2 level).

Sample enrichment activities

  • Dorset Coast field trip
  • Houses of Parliament trip
  • Bletchley Park visit
  • Victoria and Albert museum
  • Current Affairs and News Club

Government and Politics

Overview

The course develops a critical awareness of the nature of politics and the relationship between political ideas, institutions and processes. Students will acquire knowledge and understanding of the structures of authority and power within the political system of the UK and of other countries. They will also develop knowledge of the characteristics of the legislature, the executive and the judiciary, of the rights and responsibilities of the individual, and of ideologies, theories and traditions.

Degree progression

An A-level in Government and Politics provides an excellent background for careers in law, journalism, the caring professions, teaching, and a range of management and business areas.

Example degree courses which generally require or accept Politics A-level include:

  • Politics
  • Economics
  • Journalism
  • Law
  • International Relations
  • History
  • Social Policy

Typical A-level subject combinations with Government and Politics

  • Government and Politics, Geography and Maths
  • Government and Politics, Geography and History
  • Government and Politics, Economics and Maths

Assessment

Government and Politics is a subject that has two stages at A-level (AS level, A2 level), which together make up the full A-level qualification. Students are examined at the end of Year 1 (AS level) and the end of Year 2 (A2 level).

Sample enrichment activities

  • Houses of Parliament trip
  • Current Affairs and News Club
  • History film Club
  • Trinity Arts awards
  • Debating Society

History

Overview

The course develops students’ use and understanding of historical terms, concepts and skills. The periods studied develop their interest in, and understanding of, important developments allowing them to understand the wider perspective of change and developments over a substantial length of time.
They will study significant individuals, societies, events and issues, analysing different historical perspectives, for example aesthetic, cultural, economic, ethnic, political, religious, scientific, social and technological. In each year students will study a specific period of history in detail.

Degree progression

Many students who do History at A-level use their qualification to do a degree in History or a related subject.
A history-related degree is useful for a number of careers, including teaching, librarianship, banking and commerce, the law, publishing, museums and art galleries and a wide variety of social work.

Example degree courses which require or accept History A-level include:

  • Archaeology 
  • Architecture 
  • Anthropology 
  • Classics
  • History
  • History of Art
  • Law
  • Philosophy 
  • Politics

Typical A-level subject combinations with history

  • History, Politics and Government, Geography 
  • History, Geography and Art
  • History, Politics or Economics and Maths
  • History, Economics and Geography

Assessment

As of September 2015, History students will complete a one-year standalone AS level qualification in year 1 of their course. Once they have completed this, they can progress to a full A-level. The final A-level exam at the end of year 2 will test students on work covered in the AS year too.

Sample enrichment activities

  • Houses of Parliament trip
  • Current Affairs and News Club
  • History film Club
  • Trinity Arts awards
  • Debating Society

Maths and Further Maths

Overview

The A-level Maths course is designed to encourage students to:

  • develop their understanding of mathematics and mathematical processes in a way that promotes confidence and fosters enjoyment
  • develop abilities to reason logically and recognise incorrect reasoning, to generalise and to construct mathematical proof
  • extend their range of mathematical skills and techniques and use them in more difficult, unstructured problem
  • develop an understanding of coherence and progression in mathematics and of how different areas of mathematics can be connected
  • recognise how a situation may be represented mathematically and understand the relationship between ‘real world’ problems and standard, and other mathematical models and how these can be refined and improved

Maths and Further Maths are two Maths A-levels, often referred to as Double Maths, which must be taken together. Maths A-level is studied in one year meaning the pace at which students’ mathematics must develop is very fast. The Further Maths A-level in the second year builds onto the Maths A-level content.

They are suitable courses for students who have good mathematical ability and who may be considering a university course in mathematics, physics or engineering. Certain “high demand” courses at a number of universities (in subjects such as the sciences, engineering, computing and economics) may prefer students who have studied Further Maths.

Degree progression

Maths has wide applications in industry, business, finance, science, technology and many others. University courses in the following fields all stipulate A-level Mathematics as necessary:

  • Accounting
  • Business Studies
  • Computing
  • Engineering
  • Maths
  • Physics

There are also a number of other courses where A-level Maths is favoured — including Chemistry, Medicine, Architecture and Economics.

Typical A-level subject combinations with maths

  • Maths, Physics and Chemistry
  • Maths, Chemistry and Biology
  • Maths, Physics and Chemistry
  • Maths, Economics, Geography
  • Maths, Physics and Economics
  • Maths, Physics and Computing

Sample enrichment activities

  • Bletchley Park visit
  • The Big Bang fair, NEC Birmingham
  • UK Maths Challenge
  • Science Club
  • Astronomy Club
  • Science in the News
  • Club Business Enterprise

One year A-level option

Kings London offers the most able students a one-year Maths A-level. There are 8 hours of lessons per week per subject for three subjects, plus a tutorial. Minimum IELTS 6.5.

Modern Languages

You will follow a course of study in one or more modern language, depending availability. Languages may include French, German, Spanish or Portuguese.

Physics

Overview

The course will develop students’ essential knowledge and understanding in physics and, where appropriate, the applications of physics in new and changing situations. They will develop an understanding of the link between theory and experiment, and will appreciate how physics is used in present day society. They will recognise the quantitative nature of physics and understand how mathematical expressions relate to physical principles.

Students cover a range of topics including:

  • Particles
  • Quantum phenomena
  • Electricity
  • Mechanics
  • Materials and waves
  • Momentum
  • Circular and simple harmonic motion
  • Gravitational and electric fields
  • Magnetic fields
  • Nuclear and astrophysics

Degree progression

Physics is a challenging and interesting subject which will helps students who take the subject at A-level to understand the world and universe around them.

Some students go on to study Physics at university, and others who study A-level Physics apply their knowledge in another subject area at university. Examples of this are the many branches of engineering, electronics and meteorology. For these careers, A-level Physics is essential.

Other students choose to study Physics because they feel that it will be useful even if not essential for their career. Those intending to follow a career in medicine or biochemistry often fall into this category.

Example degree courses which generally require Physics A-level include:

  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Biochemistry
  • Computing
  • Electronics
  • Economics
  • Engineering
  • Environmental Science
  • Forensic Science
  • Geology
  • Medical Science
  • Medicine
  • Meteorology
  • Optometry
  • Pharmacy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Sports Science
  • Veterinary Science

Typical A-level subject combinations with physics

  • Physics, Chemistry and Maths
  • Physics, Economics and Maths
  • Physics, Biology and Maths
  • Physics, Art and Maths

Assessment

As of September 2015, Physics students will complete a one-year standalone AS level qualification in year 1 of their course. Once they have completed this, they can progress to a full A-level. The final A-level exam at the end of year 2 will test students on work covered in the AS year too.

Sample enrichment activities

  • The Big Bang fair, NEC Birmingham
  • Natural History Museum visit
  • Oxford University Science laboratory visit
  • Oxford University School of Medicine visit
  • The Royal Society, London
  • Science Club
  • Science in the News Club
  • Google Science Fair

One year A-level option

Kings London offers the most able students a one-year A-level physics. There are 8 hours of lessons per week per subject for three subjects, plus a tutorial. Minimum IELTS 6.5.

Psychology

This course will develop your knowledge and skills across a broad range of topics related to Psychology. You will examine cognitive theory as well as different aspects of Psychology — developmental, social and biological. You will also develop knowledge of psychopathology as well as practical implementations of psychology and an understanding of research methodology.

From Kings Life

Kings A-level student Jacky

Ping Hei Cheng (Jacky) achieved fantastic A-level results and was offered a place at prestigious Queen’s University Belfast. Find out about his experience so far.

Read the full blog post

Downloads