Can I take A Levels as an adult?

There are many reasons why people consider taking A Levels as an adult later in life, and if this is something you’re thinking about, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Although the majority of students decide to take A Levels as a route to university, there are those who take on other paths too. 

Many people choose specific subjects as part of their A Levels at school or college, but years later they feel they may have made the wrong choice, after all, who fully knows what they want to do in life at age 16? 

This is where taking an A Level as an adult is the perfect chance to gain more in-depth knowledge about a specific area which can prepare you for getting a new job or boost your current career. 

Whatever your reasons are, we can assure you it is never late to study for your A Levels! 

Can you sit A Level exams at any age? 

Many students over the age of 18 (the typical age students in the UK sit their A Levels) ask if they’re able to take the exams. Actually, there’s no age limit to A Levels, providing the entry requirements are met! So it doesn’t matter if you’re 16 or 79, you can still take your A Level exams. 

Entry requirements 

There are some entry requirements you need to meet in order to be able to get your A Levels as an adult. Normally it depends on your GCSE results but colleges can be flexible if you have more relevant experience or knowledge of the subject. Since A Level courses in the UK are very competitive, having at least a C in Maths and English in GCSEs is a requirement.  

Typically, traditional colleges in the UK will ask you for 5 GCSEs with C grades at least. However, distance learning colleges like OSC tend to be a little more flexible! 

Traditional college or distance learning? 

Online A Level courses through distance learning and those offered by ‘traditional’ colleges offer the exact same qualification. The syllabus will be the same and the exam boards will also be the same! 

The only way in which these options differ is in the route you take to qualify. 

Studying A Levels at college means returning to a classroom setting, whilst online and distance learning can be completed from anywhere in the world. 

Both options have their advantages and there is no ‘right way to learn’, just the right way for you.  

Flexible learning 

If you choose a ‘traditional’ college-run course, you will be required to attend set classes throughout the week, at certain times of the year. You will be taught and given support in line with term times, with little contact outside of these hours. 

This is perfect for you if you like your time to be structured or you study best with a fixed timetable and have the ability to travel to and from the college. It's also ideal if prefer to separate your home life from your studies. 

However, if you have work commitments or a family to look after, studying at a physical college isn’t necessarily an option. This can also be the case if you have a disability or if you’re balancing a job as well. 

Distance learning allows you to study from the comfort of your own home, whenever suits you best. 

There are no physical classes to attend or timetables to stick to. With 24-hour access to your course either online or through a study pack, you can study whenever you have free time (if that’s in the middle of the night, it’s possible!) 

This means that you can learn around your commitments and simply ‘pause’ your studies if you’re busy at work or have had a particularly hectic week. 

Choosing your A Levels 

There are lots of A Level courses to choose from. Finding the right fit for you depends on what you want to gain from your A Levels. It also depends on the steps you want to take after completing your qualification. 

If your goal is to study at university, you will need 3 specific A Levels or a combination of subjects. This depends on whether you want a degree that leads to a specific profession or one that furthers your academic knowledge and love of a specific subject. 

For example, if you want to enter medical school to become a doctor, biology, and chemistry A Levels are required. You’ll also need either A Level physics or maths. This combination of A Levels provides the foundational knowledge you need to progress your studies in medicine. 

Alternatively, if you want to study a degree that covers a larger scope and is less specialised – such as history or business management – specific subject A Levels aren’t always required. You will need the right amount of A Levels and the right grades to apply, although getting a university place can be easier if your A Levels are relevant to your area of study. If you have a specific course in mind before you start studying, it’s best to check the entry requirements before you make your decision.  

If you want to achieve your A Levels to better your career prospects, a selection of A Level subjects will help. This is also the case for securing higher apprenticeships and vocational or work-based qualifications that train you on the job. As these equip you with the skills for success in a certain industry, A Levels in specific subjects aren’t always necessary, so pick the subjects you enjoy! 

A Levels in any subject are valuable to employers as they demonstrate that you have a good level of education. When picking your A Levels, you should also keep in mind what subjects you love and are passionate about. You should consider which subjects you’re already good at too. 

There’s a big jump in difficulty from GCSE to A Levels and even more so when you are returning to education after some time. Make it easier for yourself by studying a subject you already like and feel passionate about, because it’s more likely you'll be successful at it! 

Whatever you decide and whichever route you choose to go down, you need to remember that it is never too late to study your A Levels! There is no right or wrong age, you choose what’s best for you in life! 

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Open Study College

Open Study College (OSC) have been leading the way in distance learning since 2007. Our team comprises of expert tutors, knowledgeable student advisers and a friendly student support team. Between us we have decades upon decades of experience in education and remote learning. Our blog is designed to help and guide you along the right path for you, by providing information, helpful tips and inspirational student success stories.

Can I take A Levels as an adult?