Cambridge International Qualifications
International A Level is one of the most recognised qualifications and is accepted as proof of academic ability for entry to universities worldwide. Cambridge AS Level is typically taken at the mid-point of an A Level programme. A2 is the second part of the A Level programme. To gain an A Level in a subject, students need both an AS and an A2 in a subject.
Usually students need to gain a C grade or higher in their IGCSE subjects to be eligible to carry on studying this subject at the AS level. In some subjects, an ICGSE background is not necessary even though it may be preferable. These are indicated with an * below. All students must take AS English Language and Literature or AS English Literature. Year 12 students are to select 3 additional subjects from those offered from the list below.
The following subjects are offered at AS Level:
- AS Art and Design – Design
- AS Art and Design – Painting
- AS Art and Design – Photography
- AS Biology
- AS Business Studies*
- AS Chemistry
- AS Computer Science
- AS Design Technology
- AS Drama*
- AS Economics*
- AS English Language and Literature
- AS English Literature
- AS French
- AS Geography*
- AS Mathematics
- AS Marine Studies*
- AS Music
- AS Physical Education*
- AS Physics
- AS Psychology*
- AS Spanish
All AS subjects are completed in one year. The examinations are held in November. Students have the option, if successful, of continuing their studies in Year 13 and completing the full A Level.
A2 – Advanced Level
Year 13 students have a number of options available to them. Most of them choose 3 A2 subjects or 4 subjects made up of A2 and AS courses. Year 13 students may choose new subjects at AS Level or repeat a subject to improve their grade, or take their AS subjects on to A2 in order to complete their A Level.
- A2 Art and Design – Graphics
- A2 Art and Design – Painting
- A2 Art and Design – Photography
- A2 Biology
- A2 Chemistry
- A2 Computer Science
- A2 Design Technology
- A2 Economics
- A2 English Literature
- A2 Geography
- A2 Marins Science
- A2 Mathematics
- A2 Music
- A2 Physics
- A2 Physical Education
Frequently Asked Questions:
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 recognised 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 recognise 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.
Can I resit papers to improve my grades in a subject?
Cambridge has two examination sessions each year. A session is held in May-June and then another in October-November. You may sit examinations at either session. You may also 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. However, some subjects cannot have a resit in the following year if the syllabus has changed. This is often the case in English where the texts studied change regularly.
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 International Examinations. 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.
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 an A Level.
Can I ask for my examination result to be reviewed?
Yes – an extra 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. For example, in Year 13, some students choose to take further AS courses rather than complete A Levels in all their subjects.
What number of points do I need to gain University Entrance using the Cambridge International Examinations?
You must gain at least 120 points on the NZ Cambridge UE tariff with a minimum grade of D in each of at least 3 subjects. And you must have a minimum of an E in an AS English course, as well have gained at least a D grade in IGCSE Mathematics (or the equivalent numeracy standard from another system like NCEA).
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. At Wentworth College coursework is used in all the practical art subjects, Physical Education, Design and Technology, and also IGCSE and A2 English Literature.
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. Most students studying at Wentworth College do the “staged assessment”. The results will be combined for your A Level results (A2 is not a qualification on its own).