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 4 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. Technical Stream (The subjects include Electronics, Engineering Technology, Agricultural Science as well as Food Sciences and Information Communication Technology)

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 7–8 months for the final results of this island wide exam to be released and students have to wait for around 2 years to enter a local University, depending on the University and the course/field of study.


In recent years the exam has become extremely competitive and even traumatic for most high school students in Sri Lanka, since only top 11% of students who pass this exam are selected to the state universities by the government agency tasked with university admission, the University Grants Commission (UGC).

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.

Biological Science Stream[edit]

Biological Science Stream has main three subjects as Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Agricultural Science as a minor subject. So student can choice either Physics or Agricultural Science.

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.

Technical Stream[edit]

This is the newly introduced stream for the examination. The subjects include Electronics, Engineering Technology, Agricultural Science as well as Food Sciences and Information Communication Technology.

Arts Stream[edit]

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

See also[edit]

External links[edit]