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A Levels and Pre U

Sixth Form pupils at Christ’s Hospital have the choice of two courses of study: a combination of  Pre-U and A Level subjects or the IB Diploma Programme.


Due to national changes to Sixth Form qualifications, AS examinations are currently being phased out. These national changes allow for more thorough study of each subject, uninterrupted by revision and AS examinations. By the start of the academic year of 2017-18, A levels will comprise wholly of linear courses, with all examinations taken at the end of two years of study.

Sixth Form pupils at Christ’s Hospital studying A level and Pre U courses in Year 12 can complete 3 or 4 full A levels/Pre-Us by the end of Year 13.

Each A level consists of 4 units of work which have to be completed in order to achieve a full qualification (in just a few subjects, there are still six modules). Units of work may consist of written examinations, practical testing, or coursework and the exact combination in any particular subject will vary.

The choice of subjects to be taken in Year 12 should be determined by two factors: the pupil’s academic potential to succeed and enthusiasm to study that subject. If both of these are present it is entirely possible for pupils to do well in that subject. If either is absent it is unlikely that pupils will enjoy the course or make a success of it. We believe that academic potential is well measured by high grades at GCSE and therefore we hope that pupils will have achieved an A or A* grade in subjects taken at GCSE which are to be continued at A level. In the case of the subjects where it has not been possible to take a GCSE in the subject, other conditions apply: for instance, if pupils opt for the Economics course, pupils would be expected to have an A grade in Maths. Please note, if pupils opt for a subject and do not get at least an A grade in it at GCSE, we may ask pupils to reconsider their A level choices.

The Pre-U

We are committed at Christ’s Hospital to teaching the course in each subject that we think best serves our pupils’ needs, and which we think will challenge pupils and be enjoyed most by them.

We have therefore embarked on the Cambridge Pre-U syllabuses in some subjects: Art, History, Mandarin, Music, Spanish and Theology & Philosophy. The Pre-U course, like the new linear A levels, takes two years and a pupil embarking on a Pre-U course must study it for two years. The grading system is different from A level and has far more grades: Distinction 1, 2, 3; Merit 1,2,3; and Pass 1,2,3. Distinction level 1 is considered to be the equivalent of a high A* at A level, while a pupil gaining Distinction 3 would have the equivalent of an A grade at A level.

We emphasise that the Pre-U has the full backing of the universities and pupils should have no concerns about the validity of the Pre-U as a qualification.



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