What are one-year A level courses?

One-year A-level courses are highly intensive, focussed and effective courses offered mostly by independent sixth form colleges. They cover the entire A-level syllabus in about 30 weeks of teaching, between September and June. One year A level courses work for students needing to resit A levels or for those moving school who need to play catch up.

Expert teaching on one-year A level courses

Getting students successfully through these courses demands expert, experienced teachers. To cover the necessary material and to develop examination skills in one year not only requires good teaching, but must also be able to provide help very rapidly if a student hits difficulties. CIFE colleges are experts in these accelerated courses. Think of it as going to a specialist!

How do CIFE colleges get good results?

Through a combination of:

  • Small classes - where we can make sure no one gets left behind and individual attention is plentiful
  • Expertise - CIFE colleges have many years' experience in making one-year A-level courses effective
  • Teaching time - most colleges provide more contact time per subject than schools do
  • Good relationships - CIFE college staff relate well to their students promoting an excellent working environment

How difficult are one-year A level courses?

There's no getting away from the fact that these courses are tough! They must move fast, right from the first day, and they require a lot of work. However, although it's true that you need to study consistently hard, the key challenges actually lie in developing full A-level subject skills and examination awareness in the limited time available. It's important to discuss your plans in detail with those who know you well and with CIFE staff, to check whether you have the skills and experience to cope. Each of our individual A level pages contains information about taking that subject in one year.

What background do I need?

Most students taking these have already done at least a year of successful post-GCSE study, either in the UK or abroad. While some subjects (eg languages, Maths) do require a strong background, others don't and you can successfully take them without previous experience. For all one-year A level courses a sensible and consistent approach to study is as important as prior knowledge.

Who are one-year A level courses suitable for?

One-year A level courses are a good option for the student who needs a new subject or two for the second sixth-form year, or who faces a year doing A level retakes. They are also very suitable for strong overseas students who have good English language skills and can be a good alternative to foundation courses for those who have the right academic background. Students who change school half-way through the sixth-form may well find one-year A-level courses a good alternative to simply joining the final year in their new college. That's something to explore at interview.

What about one-year A level resit courses?

One-year resits fit very well into the programme described above. If you need to spend a year on exam retakes (see our page on A-level retakes for more about time scales) you probably need to refresh first year material as well as learning the final-year topics. Including a new subject as a one year course gives retakers the option of dropping an A level which just wasn't suitable with one which adds new interest to the year. It is a way of making the retake year far more engaging and intellectually challenging.

Do contact us for advice.

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