Cambridge International AS/A Levels are internationally benchmarked qualifications providing excellent preparation for university education. They are part of the Cambridge Advanced stage. They are taken in over 125 countries and offer a choice of many different subjects. Cambridge International AS/A Level qualifications are widely recognized and valued by universities and employers alike.

The A-Level (Advanced Level) is the academic qualification taken after students have completed their IGCSEs in Year 11. This allows students to specialise in a small number of Subjects. A-Levels enable students to study their chosen subjects at a much higher level. They are graded on a scale of A* to E (A to E in the first year). A-Levels are accepted by universities in Spain, the UK, the USA, the Netherlands, Ireland and many other destinations worldwide. Students normally take three subjects with Spanish taken as a 4th subject for native speakers. As well as these 3-4 A Levels, students wishing to attend Spanish public universities must take 2 additional PCE subjects.

Students will make their choices from the following option blocks:


Block 1

  • Biology
  • Physics
  • Business
  • German


Block 2

  • English Literature
  • Computer Science
  • Chemistry
  • Economics


Block 3

  • Mathematics
  • Psychology
  • Art


+ All students take Spanish as a compulsory fourth option.


The AS/A Level qualifications, give students the opportunity to go to universities (state-funded and private) in Spain, UK, USA, or any other country around the world.

Year 12 students at Thames British School will take four A Level subjects, choosing from:


Spanish university preparation classes

At the same time, students have direct access to universities in Spain (both state-funded and private) and don´t have to enter the university entrance examinations (Selectividad). With their British A Level qualifications, students obtain their Calificación de Acceso a la Universidad (CAU) automatically. They can enter the “Fase voluntaria” exams in order to improve their grade point average by up to 4 points, especially if they intend to access a course that require a grade point average higher than 10 points, such as engineering or medicine. The subjects that are offered as part of the “Fase Voluntaria” at Thames are: Química, Filosofía, Lengua y Literatura e Inglés para extranjeros.


Specific Competency Tests (PCEs) for University Entrance in Spain

PCEs, or Pruebas de Competencias Específicas, are the standardized exams required for admission to Spanish universities. These exams are organized and administered by the UNED (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia), and each test focuses on a specific subject. PCEs stand out for two key reasons:

Boosting University Entrance Scores: PCEs provide students with an opportunity to improve their overall entrance scores for Spanish universities.

Acquiring Essential Knowledge for University Studies: PCEs ensure that students have the necessary foundational knowledge for their chosen university programs.

Understanding Cut-Off Scores in Spain

To understand cut-off scores in Spain, consider the following breakdown:

  • Spanish University Entrance: Maximum of 14 points
  • A-Level Exams: Maximum of 10 points
  • PCEs: Contribute the remaining 4 points


Important Considerations for PCE Selection

Students should carefully select their PCEs based on the weighting of these exams in their overall entrance scores. Different university programs have varying PCE weighting factors, ranging from 0.2 to 0.1 points. It is crucial to choose PCEs with higher weighting to maximize one’s overall score.


Potential Changes to PCE Requirements

In the event that the current bilateral agreement between Spain and England is discontinued, students may be required to take a minimum of four PCEs in addition to four A-Level exams. Thames British School will keep students informed of any changes to these requirements throughout the academic year.


PCE Options at Thames British School

Thames British School offers a range of PCEs aligned with two main streams of university studies:

  • Science and Technology
  • Humanities and Social Sciences

Students can choose their PCEs from these streams based on their academic interests and future university aspirations. 


Block 1 (Humanities and Social Sciences)

  • Applied Mathematics for Social Sciences
  • Business Economics
  • Geography
  • History of Philosophy

Block 2 (Science and Technology)

  • Mathematics I
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Technical Drawing