GCE Advanced Level in Sri Lanka

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The Sri Lankan Advanced Level (A-level), is a General Certificate of Education (GCE) qualification in Sri Lanka, conducted by the Department of Examinations of the Ministry of Education. Similar to the British Advanced Level. It is usually taken by students during the optional final two years of Collegiate level (Grades 12 & 13 or external (non-school) candidate, after they have completed GCE Ordinary Level exams. The majority of candidates enter the exams via their respective schools, while candidates who have finished school education can also apply as a private applicant. The qualification is also used as an entrance exam for Sri Lankan state universities. The exams are held in three mediums Sinhala, Tamil and English.

Fields of Study[edit]

The students should study for 2 years at collegiate level before taking the examination. The examination diversifies over 5 major fields of study,

  1. Physical Science Stream (Combined mathematics, Physics and Chemistry)
  2. Biological Science Stream (Biology (Botany and Zoology), Physics and Chemistry)
  3. Commerce Stream
  4. Arts Stream
  5. Technology Stream (The subjects include Engineering Technology, Bio-system Technology, Science for Technology and a category subject)

In each stream, students should face 3 subjects . Additionally there would be a General English test and a Common General test. Although the result of the General English test is not taken into account for the University Entrance selection criteria, students are expected to obtain a pass mark for the Common General test.

Exam procedure[edit]

The exams are conducted each year in August, in selected national schools across the country. Invigilators and supervisors are appointed by the Department of examinations and they are typically the qualified teachers of the local school system. The students are allowed to sit for the exam 3 times only that provide Qualification to Government University(i.e. the student can attempt 3 times in 3 years) He can sit many time but final result could not qualification to University Entrance . If a student fails to gain entrance to a University or a desired course in his first attempt, he has 2 more opportunities to attempt again and gain the required marks to make up for his desired course/University. The test assessments are carried out by marking panels usually consisting of qualified and experienced school teachers in service who are guided by supervises(Usually University lecturers). It takes about 4-5 months for the final results of this island wide exam to be released and students have to wait for around 1 year to enter a local University, depending on the University and the course/field of study.


It has been noted that in recent years the exam has become extremely competitive and even traumatic for most high school students in Sri Lanka. For the academic year of 2013, out of 144,816 students who met the minimum requirements for university admission, only 16.5% were able to gain access to the state universities through the University Grants Commission (UGC).[1] Due to the intimidating nature of the exam most students get severely depressed if they fail to achieve desired results. Some cases of suicides also have been linked to the exam.[2]

Physical Science Stream[edit]

Mathematics Stream has four main subjects. There are Combined Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry and ICT (Information and Communication Technology), Though Combined Mathematics and Physics are mandatory. Under the newest syllabus students can choose between either Chemistry or ICT as subjects for study. Combined Mathematics is a combination of Pure Mathematics and Applied Mathematics. The students had to follow these two subjects severally. By introducing Combined Mathematics some theories were removed. There are some practicals for only Chemistry and Physics. The students should participate to these practicals at the schools. But there aren't practical subject on the examination.

Commerce Stream[edit]

Commerce Stream has three main subjects. They are Accounting, Business Studies and Economics. Students do have the option of selecting either Business Studies or Business Statistics.

Technology Stream[edit]

This is the newly introduced stream for the examination. The subjects include Engineering Technology, Bio-system Technology, Science for Technology and ICT or any other subject from the category. Also students can choose either Engineering Technology or Bio-system Technology to study. Science for Technology is a compulsory subject for both Engineering & Bio-system students.

Arts Stream[edit]

Arts Stream consists of Arts, Languages and other Aesthetic subjects.


  1. ^ "Academic Year 2013/2014" (PDF). University Grants Commission - Sri Lanka. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  2. ^ "Student who failed A/L's commits suicide". Hiru News. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]