A Levels: 8 benefits of the modular approach

A Levels: 8 benefits of the modular approach
Pearson Online Academy UK Global


At Pearson Online Academy we take a modular approach to teaching A Levels. This means that the content of the course is divided into separate modules, or units, and exams are taken at the end of each. Students gain an AS qualification at the end of the first year. 

Traditional schools in the UK take a linear approach to teaching A Levels, meaning that all exams are taken at the end of the two-year course. 

Here we consider eight benefits of the modular approach: 

  1. Lower anxiety and revision burden, as exams are split over two years. 

  1. More exam practice. 

  1. Earlier formal feedback on performance, so students can understand the standard required to reach the final level of achievement they are aiming for. 

  1. Enables students to achieve more qualifications: It gives some pupils the confidence to start their sixth form with four or even five A levels, know they can change one or more to an AS if they find the workload in year 12 challenging. 

  1. Allows students to change their mind: Students can add AS levels in their second year, having reconsidered university options and decided a change of focus would be helpful for their applications. 

  1. Evidence for university applications: For those who join us without GCSEs, achieving AS grades prior to applying to university can help evidence their ability within the UK educational system. 

  1. Easier to retake: If a pupil wants to improve their overall grade, they can immediately see which units they have done less well in and retake just that unit, rather than waiting until the end and retaking the whole course. 

  1. Quicker to retake: There is more flexibility to take exams, with windows three times a year for most subjects, compared to just one for the linear A Level. 

The modular A Level that we teach is known as the ‘International A Level’, and it is widely recognised by universities across the world. All Russell Group universities in the UK, including Oxford and Cambridge, as well as prestigious US universities including Yale, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and California Institute of Technology (Caltech), recognise these qualifications. They are comparable to the linear ‘UK’ A Level.