7 Myths About A-Level That Are Completely False

A-Level is a popular pre-university programme, but it is also rife with myths and misconceptions. Get ready for the truth because we’re debunking 7 of the most common myths about A-Level.

Updated 20 Apr 2020

7 Myths About A-Level That Are Completely False - Feature-Image

Are you thinking of studying A-Level but feel discouraged due to its notorious difficulty? Is everyone telling you that taking A-Level is a waste of time (and money!) if you’re not planning to study overseas?

We hate to disappoint you but these are some of the biggest misconceptions about A-Level. Read on to discover the most popular myths about A-Level and learn why they aren’t true.

#1. Taking A-Level means you’re not sure what degree you want to study

Misconceptions About A-level-Unsure What Degree To Study

Many have the notion that pursuing A-Level means you’re buying yourself some time as you’re still uncertain about what you want to do with your future. This may be true for some students. After all, if you choose the right A-Level subjects, you will have many options for your degree, ranging from sciences to business and humanities.

However, many students opt for A-Level for a host of good reasons.

For starters, A-Level is widely recognised both in Malaysia and abroad, not just in the UK but also in Singapore, Australia, USA and Canada. A-Level also provides you with a solid foundation for competitive and professional degrees, such as medicine, pharmacy and law.

Additionally, many A-Level students do in fact have a firm idea of what they want to study for their degree, especially since selecting A-Level subjects require some thought about their future. So no, A-Level students aren’t as lost or confused as you think!

#2. Fewer subjects means less work

Compared to SPM where students generally take 9 subjects, A-Level only requires you to take 2-3 subjects, with some taking on the challenge of 4-5 subjects.

This brings about the misconception that taking so few subjects means A-Level must be a walk in the park. After all, if you survived SPM, surely A-Level can’t be much harder?

Sorry to burst your bubble, but fewer subjects does not translate to A-Level being easier. In fact, you’ll need to work twice as hard as you did for SPM due to the large volume, complexity and depth of the subject material. Not only that, each subject gets progressively harder, building upon the foundation you’ve learnt in the earlier weeks. You’ve been warned!

#3. You can apply the same study methods as you did in SPM

Misconceptions About A-level-Same Study Method As SPM 02

Because of its notoriety for being 100% exam-based similar to SPM, most people think that applying the same study methods — memorising, cramming at the last minute and regurgitating — will earn them good grades for A-Level. In fact, it’s the total opposite!

A-Level subjects are designed to test your analytical and critical thinking skills, not how good you are at memorising facts and formulas. This is evident during the exams, as you are expected to apply the concepts that you’ve learnt to your answers. As such, if you don’t have a solid understanding of your subject material, you will find yourself with weak grades.

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#4. A-Level is extremely hard

Misconceptions About A-level-Syllabus Extremely Hard

“100% exam-based?”

Need to think analytically and critically?”

“Work twice as hard as I did in SPM? That sounds hard!”

These thoughts may be running through your mind right now. While it’s true that A-Level modules are more in-depth and can be tough, the level of difficulty ultimately depends on which subjects you choose and how you manage your time.

As a start, picking A-Level subjects that are aligned to your interests and strengths is crucial. For example, if you enjoy mathematics and are good at it, you’re more likely to put in the effort and studying for it won’t be such a drag.

At the same time, working consistently and spending the time to understand your study material is more important than before. Review your study material periodically and address any problems you have from the get-go — you’ll find that A-Level isn’t so difficult after all.


Want some tips and tricks that will help you ace your A-Level exams? We share some juicy secrets here.

#5. A-Level is only for those who want to study their degree in the UK

Misconceptions About A-level-For Those Who Wants To Pursue Degree In UK

Many people believe that A-level is only for those with plans to study abroad, specifically in the UK.

While it may ring true that some top UK universities prefer students with A-Level qualifications, universities in other countries do recognise A-Level as well. These include Singapore, Australia, USA and Canada.

On home ground, A-Level is accepted by most, if not all, private universities in Malaysia. Additionally, the A-Level qualification is also recognised by selected Malaysian public universities, although your chances may be slimmer compared to those taking STPM, Matrikulasi or Asasi.

#6. A-Level is a waste of time if you don’t plan to study abroad

Misconceptions About A-level-A Waste Of Time

With A-Level spanning a duration of 15 to 24 months, it might seem like it’s an excessive amount of time to spend on a pre-university programme, especially if you don’t plan to pursue your university degree abroad.

However, the longer duration means that you will be well-prepared for university. This is because A-Level equips you with in-depth knowledge in a few specialised subjects as well as the right critical thinking skills, both of which are crucial to your success at university. And if you want to pursue a professional degree such as medicine or law, you should definitely consider A-Level due to its wide recognition and extensive course syllabus.

While you may feel that spending an additional 6 months for a pre-u isn’t necessary, keep in mind that this is a very short period of time in the grand scheme of things.

#7. A-Level is expensive

Misconceptions About A-level-A-level Is Expensive

Just because the A-Level programme is based on the British education system doesn’t mean that the cost to study A-Level locally is the same as in the UK.

While some private colleges in Malaysia carry a hefty price tag, there are a number of colleges that offer affordable A-Level fees that could cater to your budget. Aside from that, there are also many ways you can secure a scholarship to study A-Level. To get the best price and value for your money, do your research and compare different institutions before you decide. Don’t forget that you can always reach out to our education advisors for advice and recommendations too!

Just like any other programme, A-Level is rife with its fair share of misconceptions. As hard as people may think it is, many students have also breezed through their first year of university as taking A-Level has conditioned them well!

Unsure if A-Level is a suitable programme for you? Check out our ultimate guide to all the pre-university programmes in Malaysia here.

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    Natasha Sin

    Natasha Sin

    I went outside once. That was before Netflix.