A Level examinations are taken at 18 years of age, after a two-year course of study, and admission to universities across the world is largely dependent upon gaining top grades in these exams. In China, as across the world, A Levels are regarded as the gold standard for post-16 qualifications; they offer genuine academic rigour and challenge by allowing students to dig deeper into their chosen fields of study. The choice of three or four main subjects over a two-year course may seem odd to families used to the IB Diploma (IBDP), Gaokao or AP programmes, all of which encourage breadth of study rather than placing the emphasis on depth. In this way, the A Level, with its unashamed emphasis on academic subjects, mirrors the ways of learning at universities. Recognising that most students at universities across the world will major in one, at most two, subjects, A Levels are designed to give teachers and students the chance to burrow deeper into the subject material, a prospect that the broader post-16 qualifications cannot hope to achieve. Students are also given an excellent grounding in the forms of teaching they will experience at university, with the emphasis placed on developing research skills, fostering an explicit expectation that the best learners will go beyond the curriculum to examine new and exciting concepts and ideas as part of their preparation for university.
An A Level programme is not simply an exam factory, however. It encourages a wide range of genuinely optional subject choices. In this way, children preparing for a career in medicine, for example, can look to specialise in the core subjects they will need for admission to university – chemistry, maths, biology and physics are typically included in this scenario. At the same time, the open choice available in the A Level programme allows others to focus on specific talents, such as art, music, design and PE, or a language arts/humanities-rich programme of geography, history, economics and English. By allowing students to pursue their particular areas of strength, A Levels help to provide further intrinsic motivation to succeed.
Wellingtonians graduate at the age of 18 years as confident, independent and resilient young people. This is the result of their journey through our educational programme, combining a determination to achieve the best examination results possible, but also reinforcing the essential skills needed to thrive in the wider world. Whether it is in the classroom, or on the sports’ field, on the stage or whilst engaged in service projects across our wider community, our pupils receive an all-round education designed to help them flourish as global citizens. Our examination qualifications – International GCSE and A Levels – arm pupils with some of the most prestigious academic awards anywhere in the world and provide a clear pathway to the world’s top universities.