Finding the GCE A Level Schools in Hong Kong

Schools offering A levels in Hong Kong

The A level qualification: how it works

A levels will be familiar to many parents as a long-established UK school-leaving qualification. The exams can be taken in a wide variety of subjects ranging from sciences, to humanities and the creative arts; and good grades are recognised by universities across the world. The UK is not the only country to set A levels, but these are the exams described in this article.

A levels in Hong Kong are typically set by two UK exam boards: Pearson Edexcel and Cambridge International Examinations (CIE). Pearson offer two types of A level course, International Advanced Level (IAL) and General Certificate of Education at Advanced Level (GCE A-level). ITS Education Asia, which is a registered exam centre for Pearson Edexcel, has a successful track record in preparing students for IAL exams.

An important feature of the Edexcel IAL qualifications is that they are typically divided into two parts. The AS level (Advanced Subsidiary) is taken after one year and confers a qualification in its own right; and then the remaining exams are taken the following year to complete the full A Level. This means that the student does not have to take all the exams at once. In addition, while the structure of IAL exams permits the resitting of individual papers for weaker candidates, the rigorous grading system, with its top A* grade, allows top performers to shine.

A levels vs IB Diploma - which course of study is best for your child?

This is a much debated question which has challenged some of the UK's top schools, but only you and your child can make the best decision! In short, it depends on your child's aptitudes and interests. For example, A levels allow earlier specialisation which may benefit a student who either has a strong preference for certain subjects or who can't wait to drop others. The very full nature of the IB Diploma programme may not suit a student who needs to devote significant time to a particular sport or a musical instrument. For students who are able, but who find the pressure of multiple exams challenging, the modular nature of A levels can offer an opportunity to study without stress and therefore achieve results that reflect their true potential.

Where can my child study for A levels in Hong Kong?

As noted above, students seeking an alternative to mainstream school can study for and sit IAL exams at ITS Education Asia as well as receiving support with university applications.

A number of mainstream schools offer A levels in Hong Kong including:

Harrow International School
Kellet School
Discovery Bay International School
Diocesan Girls' School, Korean International School (International Section)
St Paul's Convent School
St Paul's College
YMCA of Hong Kong Christian College, Tung Chung

Choosing A level subjects

A level courses and exams are rigorous so it's important that students choose subjects they will enjoy and really want to apply themselves to. Obviously university and career goals should also be taken into account if the student already has a clear idea of what they may want to do. For instance, anyone thinking of studying medicine should take A levels in Chemistry, Biology and, generally, Maths or Physics. Law candidates might consider English Literature or History as both these subjects offer an opportunity to develop the ability to analyse complex texts and develop sustained written arguments. If advice is needed on choice of A level subjects, please do let us know.

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