Generally, a student in England will take three A levels between the ages of 16 and 18 in order to secure a place at university. Students can of course take more depending on their ability and the policy of their school. A levels are usually two-year courses which will generally be assessed by written examinations at the end of the course (in May or June). Students have the option of sitting exams after the first year of their studies (AS levels); these are a stand-alone qualification and do not count towards the final A level result (as they historically did). The AS syllabus, however, will be the same as the first year of the A level course. Some schools will choose to enter their students for AS exams at the end of the first year whereas others will not. If AS results are available they will be used by universities as part of their selection process. Some students may choose to sit 4 AS levels in their first year and carry on with their 3 best subjects to complete full A level courses in these.