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A Level Reform

Students starting at St Dominic’s will be taught a new linear A level specification in all of their subjects.  These courses will be publically examined at the end of the two year programme of study.  A levels will be taught in a linear fashion without an external examination at the end of year 1. 

Why has the Government decided to change A levels?

A levels have to change in order to stay relevant.  The demands of the courses are as challenging as they ever were.  However the courses have changed because the needs of students, universities and employers change.  In recent years there have been concerns that having AS and A2 exams have resulted in a system based on too much testing.   Therefore from 2015, linear A levels will be examined externally at the end of the two year programme of study. 

In preparation for this different method of examination students must learn advanced skills for each subject such as:

  • the ability to study independently
  • to write clearly and at length
  • to solve unstructured problems

It is also essential that students are organised throughout the course in order that they have all their notes and materials from which to revise in the final lead up to the examinations.

What are the key changes in the new A level programmes?


  • AS levels will not form part of the A level as they do now.  They will be a separate, free standing qualification
  • external examinations will only be taken at the end of a two year A level course
  • most examinations will be longer than the current model but there will be fewer of them overall
  • a reduction in non-examination assessment such as coursework and it will count for a smaller proportion of the final marks


  • continue to study two year courses
  • grades remain the same, A* to E
  • remain the main way to qualify to study at university
  • a coursework element remains in certain subjects such as History, English and Music

Mock Exams

We firmly believe that mock exams are a very effective method of preparing students for the real thing!  The College has mocks in early December and again in April in the run up to the main public exams, although some subjects carry out additional mocks as well. The College has an assessment policy whereby subject teachers moderate each others marking to ensure consistency and fairness in mock exams.