Cambridge International Qualifications
Since 2009, Wentworth College has been successfully teaching the Cambridge International Examination (CIE) programme. This is a nationally and internationally recognised academic syllabus covering a wide range of subjects.
CIE is the world's largest provider of international qualifications for secondary school students. Every year millions of students are entered for CIE examinations in over 150 different countries. The curriculum is international and does not simply demand recalled knowledge but emphasises the acquisition of critical thinking and problem solving skills.
Wentworth College has been acknowledged as a leading global educator and awarded the status of Cambridge Centre of Excellence, which places us in the top 1% of 6,000 Cambridge schools worldwide.
Year 10 & 11 - Cambridge IGCSE
Cambridge IGCSE develops successful learners through a skills-based approach to teaching and assessing. At Wentworth College, these courses are usually taught over two years – Years 10 and 11 – which allows students to study a range of subjects and at great depth. However, students can enter the programme just in Year 11 on enrolment.
Students usually sit examinations in 7 subjects.
Compulsory for Wentworth Students - IGCSE English Language and IGCSE English Literature and IGCSE Mathematics (Core or Extended), as well as at least one of the Sciences – IGCSE Biology, IGCSE Chemistry or IGCSE Physics.
Students select a further 3 subjects from the list below and will spend 5 or 6 periods a week on each of their subjects, with 2 periods for General Physical Education and Health.
• IGCSE Mathematics Core or Extended - compulsory
• IGCSE English Language - compulsory
• IGCSE English Literature - compulsory
• IGCSE ESOL (if the above are not suitable)
• IGCSE Art and Design – Graphics
• IGCSE Art and Design – Painting
• IGCSE Art and Design – Photography
• IGCSE Biology
• IGCSE Business Studies
• IGCSE Chemistry
• IGCSE Design Technology
• IGCSE Drama
• IGCSE Economics
• IGCSE Geography
• IGCSE Music
• IGCSE Physical Education
• IGCSE Physics
• IGCSE Spanish
The Extended level enables students to score grades of A*, A, B, C, D, E
Core level means students sit easier papers and can only be awarded grades C, D, E, F or G.
A Grade G is a minimum level of satisfactory performance at IGCSE.
Students failing to achieve a satisfactory level receive a U – Ungraded.
Year 12 & 13 - Cambridge International A and AS Level (Advanced Subsidiary)
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.
Students must 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 the those offered from the list below and will spend 9 periods every 6 days on each of their subjects.
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 Design Technology
• AS Drama*
• AS Economics*
• AS English Language and Literature
• AS English Literature
• AS Geography*
• AS History*
• AS Mathematics
• AS Music
• AS Physical Education*
• AS Physics
All AS subjects are completed in one year with the exception of Music. The examinations are held in November. (AS Music is examined in June of the following year.) 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 will spend 9 periods a week on each of their subjects. They may do 1 or 2 or 3 A2 subjects from the list below, and make up their other subjects (usually to a total of 4) from further choices in the AS Level list. No subjects are compulsory at A2 Level.
• A2 Art and Design – Graphics
• A2 Art and Design – Painting
• A2 Art and Design - Photography
• A2 Biology
• A2 Chemistry
• A2 Geography
• A2 English Literature
• A2 Mathematics
• A2 Physics
• A2 Physical Education
The AS and A2 Level programmes allow plenty of flexibility over the two years for students to study a variety of level and course combinations. 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.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. Will universities both overseas and in NZ accept my Cambridge grades?
A. 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.
Q. Can I resit papers to improve my grades in a subject?
A. 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 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.
Q. Are UK A Levels the same as Cambridge A Levels?
A. 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. 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 the Cambridge International Examinations that we teach at Wentworth College.
Q. Must I complete an IGCSE course before I sit an AS subject?
A. 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.
Q. Will I get my examination papers back?
A. No. Cambridge has a large number of candidates from all over the world. Hence it does not return scripts to students.
Q. Can I ask for my examination result to be reviewed?
A. Yes – an extra fee will be payable before your paper will be reviewed (a range of checking processes are available).
Q. Can I combine courses from different levels?
A. 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.
Q. Can I gain University Entrance using points from Cambridge International Examinations and NCEA?
A. No. University Entrance has to be achieved using one or the other system.
Q. What number of points do I need to gain University Entrance using the Cambridge International Examinations?
A. You must gain at least 130 points on the UCAS 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).
Q. What is Coursework?
A. 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 course work is used in all the practical art subjects, Physical Education, Design and Technology, and also IGCSE and A2 English Literature.
Q. What is an A Level?
A. 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).
Download the study guide here (PDF)