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What is the International A-Level and how does it work?

What is the International A-Level and how does it work?
Happy group of girls with exam results in their hands


Are you a school student thinking about attending university in the UK? Perhaps you are a parent considering the your child’s next steps in education? If so, you may have come across the International A-Level and may be wondering what the International A-Level is. In this blog, we’ll explain what the International A-Level is, how it works, and how it differs to the standard UK A-Level.

Fast facts

Year introduced 2013
Known as Edexcel International A Levels (IAL)
Examination board Pearson Edexcel
Subjects offered 19
Subjects included Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Business, Economics,  Mathematics, Further Maths
Target audience International students
Available for UK students? No
Assessment Flexible modular exams
Resits Possible at multiple times throughout the year
Coursework None. 100% external assessment
Student age 17 and 18
Study period 2 years
Grades A*-E
Equivalent to Ofqual regulated AS and A levels offered in the UK (certified by UK NARIC)

How do they work?

International students study IALs in schools abroad. They cannot be studied by students in the UK. Students can study AS and A2 Levels separately. Instead of doing big exams at the end of their second year as the UK A Levels currently work, students are assessed on smaller separate units throughout the two years. They have multiple opportunities to take exams- in January, June, and October. This means that they have fewer exams all at once, have the opportunity to resit individual modules, and also receive ongoing feedback.

This modular approach reduces pressure on students as they don’t have to do all the exams at the end of their second year, it increases flexibility and increases chances of success as they can resit exams. There is no coursework, and the grade is 100% externally assessed. The content of the courses meets the same high standards as A-levels set by other UK examination bodies and is designed for international students. Top-ranked international universities around the world recognise the IAL, including the UK Russell Group, the Australia Group of 8 (Go8) and top-ranked universities in North America and Asia.  This enables students to progress to undergraduate level study and be internationally competitive.

How do they differ to regular A- Levels?

  • Students cannot study them in the UK
  • Flexible, modular structure means that learners are assessed on each unit rather than in a big final exam
  • Multiple exam opportunities – in January, June, and October- fewer exams all at once
  • Feedback from exams throughout the course rather than all at once
  • AS and A2 can be taken separately- greater flexibility
  • Contain internationally relevant content
  • Externally assessed
  • Learners have opportunity to resit individual unit exams
  • 100% external assessment
  • No coursework

How are they similar to regular A- Levels?

  • Globally recognised qualifications by the best local and international universities
  • Provide the same progression route as normal AS and A-Level
  • Challenging course and quality educational content guided by rigorous accreditation standards
  • Significant support and learning resources available online- examiner reports, subject advisor experts, teacher training available for schools running the course

Achieve International A-Levels from anywhere in the world

Online schooling offers students the opportunity to study the English National Curriculum for internationally accredited International GCSE and A-Levels, from anywhere in the world. My Online Schooling pupils receive all of their lessons in real time, with experienced friendly teachers, who provide continual feedback. They can take their exams at their local examination centre. This costs a fraction of international schooling fees.

Pupils studying with My Online Schooling don’t need to travel to go to school. You can study from the comfort of your own home. Our transformative teaching method also encourages students to develop their independence as learners, which is excellent preparation for university. Online lessons at My Online Schooling can be tailored to students who excel in their studies, those with special education needs (SEN), and those who may have been excluded or chosen to leave school for various reasons.

Find out more about the International A-Level courses we offer by downloading our school prospectus below.

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