T +44 (0) 121 777 9444E [email protected]


A/AS level

Awarding Organisation Market Share (All subject entries)

A Levels, or to give them their full title, Advanced Levels, are typically studied by learners aged 16 plus over a two-year period and are primarily viewed as a gateway to Higher Education. A Level grades are awarded on a scale from A* (highest) to E (lowest) with an additional grade “U” for “Ungraded” if a candidate fails to meet the minimum requirement for a pass.

A Levels are offered by four Awarding Organisations: AQA, Eduqas, Pearson Edexcel and OCR. Historically most subjects were offered by all AOs. However, in recent years only the most popular subjects, in terms of candidate entries, are offered by all AOs, some even offering two specifications for specific subjects. Conversely many low volume subjects are now only offered by one or two AOs. Pearson Edexcel, for example, are the only AO offering ‘Lesser Taught’ languages i.e. Arabic, Greek, Japanese etc whilst OCR are the only AO offering ‘Classics’ i.e. Ancient History, Latin etc. Please also note that whilst an AO may offer a subject at A Level, they may not offer the same subject at GCSE, and vice versa.

Examinations are held annually, during May & June, and are ‘linearised’ i.e. all subject assessment takes place at the end of study and within the same examination series. Most subjects are assessed by written exam(s) although several subjects, notably History, English Language and English Literature, also have coursework elements that contribute to the overall grade awarded.

A Level Science subjects too have an optional assessment called the Common Practical Assessment Criteria, more commonly known as CPAC or ‘Practicals’. CPACs are conducted in a laboratory setting and involve 12 practical’s assessing student use of apparatus and techniques. Whilst not compulsory, nor counting towards the overall grade awarded, CPACs are viewed as an intrinsic part of A Level study and your certificate will be endorsed to show you passed the CPAC.

All A Level subject assessment offered by arc exams can be found in our Fees List alongside links accessing relevant AO website areas detailing a wealth of useful information for each specification we offer (Syllabus Content, Support Materials, Past Papers etc)