General Certificate of Education (GCE) A-Level exams are the international UK equivalents of our local Intermediate board exams. They are held by both the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) and the Pearson Edexcel boards and administered in Pakistan through the British Council. The A-Level exams are widely preferred by almost all universities abroad and many universities in Pakistan for admission to undergraduate, liberal arts, or vocational programs (provided that the applicant has completed O-Level as well). Study for the A-Level exams usually spans through grades 12 to 13.
Click on any of the tabs below to know more about O-Level and the courses we provide for O-Level studies.
Comparison between Intermediate and A-Level
Just like Intermediate, A-Level education usually spans two years in most popular schools. Whereas both are supposed to be grades 12 to 13, A-Level education is preferred far more because of its rigorous education and concept-based learning. In fact, A-Level education is even preferred to American Highschool. Below is a table which outlines all the major differences between Intermediate and A-Level.
|Exam conducting agency||BISE||British Council|
|No. of times regular exams conducted||1||2|
|Supplementary exam||September||No supplementary exam|
|Examination Month||April – May||May – June; Oct. – Nov.|
|No. of subjects||4 Compulsory, 3 Elective||Minimum 3. No limit on maximum.|
|Marking||Out of 1100||Grades from A* to E|
|Failing a subject||Fail||U-Grade (Ungraded)|
|Passing all subjects in one attempt||Required||Not Required|
|Exam Fee||All subjects||Per Subject|
|If a student fails one subject||Will appear in all subjects again||Will appear only in the subject he/she failed|
|No. of certificates||1||1 or more|
Subjects and exams?
There are approximately 55 A-Level subjects provided by the CIE—a list can be found here. Note that no school or academy teaches every subject.
Each subject is split into its Advanced Subsidiary (AS) and A2 components. Students have two options:
(1) Choose to give it in two parts: They do this by first giving the AS-Level exams after their first year of study—also known as A1. Then, the next year—known as A2—they give the remaining A-Level components. Their AS and A2 exam grades are combined to give them their composite A-Level result.
(2) Choose to give it at once: Students study for the entire two years and, at the end of their second year, they give the composite A-Level exam, which combines both AS and A2 exams.
In Lahore, most schools prefer the second option, few schools the first. In Karachi and Islamabad, however, it is the opposite.
All subjects in AS-Level and A-Level are optional. There is no limit on the maximum subjects that a student may take; however, most schools require students to study a minimum of 3.
We can divides the subjects into three groups. All subjects taught are shown below.
1. Business and Social Sciences
- Business Studies
- Further Mathematics
- Environmental Management
- Computer Science
- Applied Information Communication Technology (ICT)
- English Language
- World History
- Art and Design
It is important to note that some subjects only have an AS-Level, such as General Paper and Environmental Management.
When are the exams held?
The exams are held twice a year.
- Summer session: Held throughout May and June. Most schools and some private candidates give official CIE exams in this session.
- Winter session: Held throughout October and November. Some schools and most private candidates give official CIE exams in this session. Most students retake their exams in this session.
Edexcel International GCSE
These subjects are taught the same way as CIE A-Level subjects are. However, there are both syllabus and exam structure differences between the Edexcel GCE AS-Level/A-Level exams and the CIE GCE AS-Level/A-Level exams. Not many schools or tuition teachers in Pakistan cater to Edexcel GCE AS-Level/A-Level exams.
CIE GCE A-Level and Edexcel GCE A-Level qualifications are equivalent grade for grade. These subjects are taught the same way as CIE A-Level subjects are. Most of the syllabus is even the same. However, there are paper pattern differences between the Edexcel GCE AS-Level/A-Level exams and the CIE GCE AS-Level/A-Level exams. In Lahore, only the International School of Choueifat adheres to the Edexcel board. Edexcel students are welcome to study at Green Hall Academy and seek any sort of guidance from the teachers, who are usually willing to help Edexcel students cover their own material.
List of Subjects and code Numbers for A Levels