About CIE

Can I sit Cambridge examinations if I do not attend a Cambridge school?

Yes you may sit these but you will first need to be accepted as a private candidate at a Cambridge registered school. You may study a subject on your own or with a tutor. Click here for more information.

Will I receive marks or grades?

New Zealand students receive both grades and marks. For AS Level grades range from A to E. For A Level grades range from A* to E. For IGCSE, they range from A* to G. If you do not achieve a grade, your result will indicate you are Ungraded (U).

Will universities both overseas and in NZ accept my Cambridge grades?

Yes - Cambridge’s international A and AS Levels satisfy the entry criteria for every university around the world and are considered equal in value to UK A and AS Levels. They are recognized by universities in NZ, Australia, Canada, UK (including Oxford and Cambridge) as well as throughout the European Union. In the USA they are accepted by all Ivy League universities (such as Harvard) and can earn students course credits up to one full year of credit. Cambridge publishes comprehensive lists of all institutions that recognize its qualifications, including details about entry criteria and the grades needed for entrance. If you are considering overseas study, you are advised to include three A Level subjects in your course of study.

Click here for more information about NZ university entrance requirements.

Can I resit papers to improve my grades in a subject?

Cambridge has two examination sessions each year. The June session is held in May-June and the November session in October-November. You may sit exams at either session (a small number of subjects are available at only one session).

You may resit at any subsequent examination session. For A Level, the higher marks from the two sets of AS results you have gained will count - you will also need to complete all papers within a 13-month period. Some NZ schools have policies regarding resits so you should check this with the school concerned.

Are UK A Levels the same as Cambridge A Levels?

Cambridge and UK A Levels consist of both AS and A2. In the UK each of these levels is made up of several modules. UK students may resit modules instead of a full set of AS or A2 papers (as required by Cambridge). Examination papers for the two systems are set separately. As Cambridge does not use a modular structure, its AS courses usually have a wider course content than the UK equivalent, while there is greater ‘in depth work’ at A Level. This has led a number of UK schools, particularly independent schools, to prefer to offer Cambridge.

As Cambridge is an international examination, the content of many of its courses reflects this. Local content can also be incorporated in many subjects. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) accepts UK and Cambridge qualifications as being equivalent for tertiary entry purposes. This also applies in New Zealand.

Over recent years, there has been considerable publicity in UK media, suggesting that A Levels are ‘getting easier’ because of increased A grade numbers. These comments do not apply to Cambridge.

Must I complete an IGCSE course before I sit an AS subject?

There is no requirement for you to complete an IGCSE course first. However, if you are to succeed, you will need an appropriate level of competence and knowledge in a subject before proceeding to a higher level. You may have gained this through a different qualification. As a guide, a C grade in IGCSE is desirable before proceeding to AS and a minimum of a D grade in AS is recommended before attempting A Level. Teachers will be able to assist you to decide if your prior learning is sufficient to proceed.

Will I get my examination papers back?

Cambridge has a large number of candidates from all over the world. Hence it does not return scripts to students. Your centre will receive your results and arrange to forward them to you.

Can I ask for my examination result to be reviewed?

Yes - a fee will be payable before your paper will be reviewed (a range of checking processes are available).

Can I combine courses from different levels?

Yes you may study different subjects at different levels. Some courses will be based on courses at a lower level so you should consult your teachers for specific advice.

What is Coursework?

Coursework is work assessed in your school by your teacher. This includes projects, folios of essays, field work, art and craft items, design studies, internally set and assessed speaking tests, practical work, assignments and experiments assessed during the course. This work is moderated by Cambridge - either all the work or a selection of it is sent to the UK for checking. Marks will then be confirmed or adjusted according to the results of the sample. In some subjects, coursework is a compulsory component. In others, schools have the option of selecting a coursework or a non-coursework option.

How much time is needed to complete an IGCSE course?

Cambridge states that IGCSE is a two-year course. However, your Year 9 and Year 10 programmes will have covered part of your course material. Hence IGCSE courses can usually be covered in one year (Year 11).

What is an A Level?

An A Level consists of two parts (AS and A2). Each is designed to be a full year course. You may either sit the two parts at the one examination session, or you may sit them at two separate sessions (called a ‘staged assessment’), provided this is done within a 13-month period. The results will be combined for your A Level results (A2 is not a qualification on its own). Staged assessments are possible in most subjects. However, in a small number of subjects (notably languages), a full A Level must be completed in one session. If you sit a full A Level and have not previously sat AS papers in the subject, it is possible that if you fail to be graded at A Level, you may receive a ‘compensatory AS’.

How much teaching time is needed for an AS or A2 course?

You will need to spend about 170-180 hours per course. This is considerably more than is needed for other NZ courses.

How can I find out more about Cambridge?

The Cambridge website has extensive material about Cambridge qualifications and examinations. This includes course outlines for subjects, specimen papers and past examination papers. Cambridge also has a web site especially for students - click here to visit the student web site.

Where can I buy textbooks in New Zealand?

A list of textbooks is available from your teacher and also from the Cambridge website (click on the Academic Qualification you are studying, choose your subject and then click on Resource List).

Click here for a list of textbook suppliers in New Zealand.
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