The A Level (Advanced Level) is a subject-based qualification conferred as part of the General Certificate of Education, as well as a school leaving qualification offered by the educational bodies in the United Kingdom and the educational authorities of British Crown dependencies to students completing secondary or pre-university education. A number of countries, including Singapore, Kenya, Mauritius and Zimbabwe have developed qualifications with the same name as and a similar format to the British A Levels. Obtaining A Level or equivalent qualifications is generally required for university entrance.
A Levels are generally worked towards over two years and split into two parts, with one part studied in each year. The first part is known as the Advanced Subsidiary Level, A1 Level or AS Level (the AS Level acronym was previously used for the separate Advanced Supplementary Level qualification). The second part is known as the A2 Level and is more in depth and academically rigorous than the A1 Level. The AS Level is a qualification in its own right and the AS Level combined with the A2 Level forms the complete A Level qualification, with the exception of linear qualifications in which all of the A Level marks are obtained from exams taken in the second year. Up to June 2009 a third Special/Advanced Extension Award level was available for the brightest candidates.