A-levels — Facts

Length2 years
Min. TOEFL70
Min. IELTS5.5
OrganizersAQA, OCR, Edexcel, WJEC, CCEA
Alternative CourseIB
Min. scoreF
Max. scoreA*

IB — Facts

Length2 years
Min. TOEFL70
Min. IELTS5.5
OrganizerInternational Baccalaureate (IB)
Alternative CourseA-Level
Min. score1
Max. score7

A-Levels and IB scores comparison


Location on map - United Kingdom

For admission to the British universities, according to the standard qualification requirements, it is necessary to pass one of the following programs: Foundation Programme, A-levels or International Baccalaureate (IB).


A-Levels is a mandatory training program for graduates of comprehensive schools for entering universities in the UK. The duration of studies is 2 years. Students in this course can choose the subjects that are necessary for the further admission to a University in England – usually, it is 3-4 disciplines. Academic year of A-Level program consists of three semesters. After completing the course, students should pass the exams, which are not only the final exams for this course, but at the same time the entrance exams to the UK universities.

A-Levels in United Kingdom — Tuition Fees

SchoolCityFees(Tuition only; per year)
Mander Portman WoodwardBirmingham26,200 USD
Bellerbys CollegeCambridge21,000 USD
Cardiff and Vale CollegeCardiff10,200 USD
DLD College LondonLondon39,000 USD
City and Islington CollegeLondon14,000 USD
Blackburn CollegeBlackburn27,000 USD
City of Oxford and Reading CollegeOxford20,100 USD

Requirements for admission to the A-Level course

List of required documents:
  • Certificate or Secondary school Diploma;
  • High level of academic achievement or the certificate of passing the GCSE exams (including Mathematics), with a score of not less than C, or equivalent;
  • Test results with overall score of at least IELTS 5.5 / TOEFL 194 CBT / 71 IBT / SLEP 57 or equivalent score on the free test in EF Academy.

International Baccalaureate

International Baccalaureate (IB) is a 2-year training program, designed for international students aged from 16 to 18 who wish to enter the most prestigious universities in the world, such as Oxford, Cambridge in the UK, Harvard, Yale and Princeton in the United States. The program is offered by 60 colleges and schools in the UK and includes a wide range of subjects: native language of the student and literature, mathematics, natural science subjects, languages and different types of art.

Requirements for admission to the International Baccalaureate

For admission to the IB program, it is required to pass an interview and have the scores of at least 4.5-5.0 in IELTS. If during the interview it turns out that the applicant is not quite ready to study on IB program, he will be offered to start from the preparatory program - pre-IB (on this course you can apply at 15), during one academic year students learn English (if desired - another foreign language), mathematics, science and humanities.
IB purposefully prepares students for entry to a particular course of the University. Moreover, unlike A-level, IB gives students a well-rounded education; they study 6 subjects instead of 2-4:
1. Native language;
2. Foreign language;
3. Mathematics;
4. Humanities (one discipline to choose: history, literature, etc.);
5. Sciences (one discipline to choose: physics, chemistry, biology, etc.);
6. Additional specialized subject, related to the area of study in the University.
Depending on the chosen major, 3 subjects are studied more in-depth - higher level, or level A; other less intensive - Standard (Subsidiary) level, or level B.
Upon completion of the course, students pass the exams and write a thesis - a detailed essay about 80 pages. IB diploma is obtained only by those who has not less than 24 points in the examinations (total is 6 exams, the highest rate for each is 7 points, the lowest – 1 point; 3 more points you can get from the thesis and participation in the CAS competition). To enter the most prestigious universities of the world, you must have not less than 35-36 points.

UCAS scores unification

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) elaborated its own tariff table in attempt to unify results of different exams and make the admission process simpler. However UCAS scores are not recognized by the top British universities. Requirements in the UK are still at the discretion of the university admission office.

A-Level и IB scores requirements

ВузПрограммаA-Level(Recommended scores)IB(Recommended scores)
Cambridge universityEconomicsA*A*A40-42
Cambridge universitySocial sciences and humanitiesA*AA40-42
UCL MedicineA*AA39
Manchester UniversityMathematicsAAA34
Manchester UniversityMarketingAAB35
Nottingham UniversityMicrobiologyAAB-AAC32-34
Nottingham UniversitySociologyABB32
Swansea UniversityChemistryAAB-BBB32-34
Swansea UniversityPolitical ScienceBBB32
Plymouth UniversityAccounting and Finance12028
Plymouth UniversityElectrical Engineering11224