A Level Journey

This year once again the incredible hard work of the students and staff has resulted in a record-breaking year for Harrow Shanghai!  The students’ A Level achievements are quite simply outstanding! What’s the secret to their success?

The journey begins with subject selection during the 5th Form (Year 11). Most of our pupils choose 3 A Level subjects; some choose 4. Alongside their A Levels, our 6th formers (Year 12-13) may choose to complete an Extended Project Qualification and the Duke of Edinburgh Award (both of which can contribute to University entrance). To assist with this choice, we run parent workshops and careers events to get our pupils thinking about their future pathway.

Beginning the 6th form, Shanghai Harrovians enjoy increased independence. They have their own study space in the 6th form Common Room and are expected to manage their own workload. Classes are often very small, and pupils enjoy university-style teaching. Our 6th formers also form an integral part of the wider school community: taking on leadership roles; participating in the Leadership and Service programme; enjoying the challenges of our Super Curriculum programme; taking the lead in their Houses; participating in sports and Extra Curricular Activities and volunteering with younger pupils. 

In comparison to the IB, A Levels allow pupils to specialise. Many 16 year olds are confident of their academic strengths and already know their chosen field. The A Level system therefore allows them to specialise early. This is particularly pertinent to scientists and mathematicians: these subjects can be studied in greater depth than in the IB course, without the additional requirement of languages, arts and an extended essay. For arts students or those with broader interests, the A Level is also an excellent choice: a combination of subjects from arts and humanities will keep lots of doors open in terms of university courses, whilst allowing pupils to pursue their interests in music, drama and broader cultural activities.

Universities around the world think very highly of the A Level, which is still the most common route for UK students. Our 6th form leavers have all received offers from their first choice universities. US universities regard the  A Levels highly.

“Students who have taken A Levels do very well at our campus. They are very well-prepared for our curriculum and we find that they have a lot of confidence, but also that they have a deep subject knowledge, and the ability to think critically.” 

Stuart Schmill, the former Dean of Admissions at MIT

Whatever pathway you choose, the 6th form years are going to be hard work. At Harrow, your journey to university will be individual, closely supported and bespoke. It will lead you on to great things.