Students chose how many A level subjects and examinations they took over the two-year program of study. However, most looking to continue on to higher studies took three subjects, with some taking fewer and exceptional students taking four. It was not uncommon for students to take an Advanced Supplementary (AS – not to be confused with the Advanced Subsidiary AS of today) examination to complement their three A level programs of study. The AS was introduced in 1989 as part of an effort to broaden the scope of sixth form education from the typical three A level subjects.
A Level students often apply to universities before they have taken their final exams, with applications administered centrally through UCAS . British universities (including Scottish universities, which receive many applicants taking A Levels) consider GCSEs, AS-level results, predicted A Level results, and extracurricular accomplishments when deciding whether applicants should be made an offer through UCAS. These offers may be 'unconditional', guaranteeing a place regardless of performance in A2 examinations. Far more often, the offers are conditional on A level grades, and become void should the student fail to achieve the marks expected by the university (for example, conditional offer of three A Levels at grades B-B-C).  Universities may specify which subjects they wish these grades to be in (for example, conditional offer of grades A-A-B with a grade A in Mathematics).  The offer may include additional requirements, such as attaining a particular grade in the Sixth Term Examination Paper . The university is obliged to accept the candidate if the conditions are met, but is not obliged to reject a candidate who misses the requirements. Leniency may in particular be shown if the candidate narrowly misses grades.