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Cambridge (CIE) and Edexcel differences?

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    I'm taking 4 subjects for my A levels at my current school, which are Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology. My current school does all its A/AS level exams under Edexcel. My problem is that after one year I will have to move to another country, where no school does Edexcel and even the British Council does not offer it. There, all the exams are done under CIE (Cambridge International Examinations).

    So what I am planning to do is to do the AS level under Cambridge here, although the school does not provide tution for it. I am told that the syllabuses for the subjects I have done are similar between the two boards and the only difference is the content may be put under different headings and topics and examinations. Im hoping that all I will need to do is to study the edexcel course notes but in the order the CIE syllabus has it.

    My problem is that I dont know the differences that may be there between the two boards in these subjects. I dont know the difference in terms of content, difficulty or classification of content. My main worry is that Cambridge might be more difficult than edexcel, and that there may be big content differences, or that the structure of the exams might have HUGE differences. Considering what I have seen, Math under CIE might be much more different.

    I need help from everyone to address
    CONTENT DIFFERENCES for the two boards in the subjects Ive chosen
    STRUCTURE DIFFERENCES in terms of exams in the subjects Ive chosen
    QUESTION differences: differences in Math questions, for example or the way questions are asked differently in Chemistry, etc.

    Keep in mind that I am talking about my AS level for the time being, but problems I may encounter in the future for my A2s will be appreciated. I am also wondering whether I will need any other textbooks or whether the edexcel specification ones will be fine.

    Preferably, I need people who have done or compared the syllabi for the two boards in Chem, Math, Phy and Bio

    Thank you
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    I'm doing Maths, Biology and Chemistry AS levels from CIE , but I have no idea about Edexcel. They probably will have their differences, as CIE have no coursework while Edexcel do. I suggest you check their websites and compare the different syllabuses.
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    What about the practicals for the science subjects youve taken? Are they tough, do you have to do practicals at all, and how are the practicals? ie just a paper or full length experiment?
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    Erm, I haven't started practicals yet, but I have heard they are quite tough. For bio and chemistry there is a 2 hour exam consisting of two different experiments, and I think it's the same for Physics.
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    i completed my O levels with CIE but when going to A Levels i switched to edexcel..... as such there is not much problem wid Physics and Maths in Edexcel...but problem arises when we do Biology and Chemistry in Edexcel.....they r really hard i struggled a bit wid chem and bio for 3 months as i was understanding sum topics which i didnt do....as a whole if u r really smart u will nt struggle that much keep trying and hope for the best ......
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    Remind me again later... I think I can be of some help to you... I've done Mathematics under both CIE and Edexcel... and looked upon both syllabuses for Chem and Physics...
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    (Original post by Arulz)
    So what I am planning to do is to do the AS level under Cambridge here, although the school does not provide tution for it. I am told that the syllabuses for the subjects I have done are similar between the two boards and the only difference is the content may be put under different headings and topics and examinations. Im hoping that all I will need to do is to study the edexcel course notes but in the order the CIE syllabus has it.
    Hi, haven't had time to respond until now.

    First off, let me tell you that I have done both exam boards, and know the syllabuses pretty well. Well, I actually only did Maths for CIE and Edexcel. I did CIE physics and Chemistry.

    I am afraid that CIE physics and Chemistry are quite different to Edexcel and other UK boards. First off, the syllabus content is NOT entirely the same, in CIE you don't get options at all, so you may NOT use the same notes for the Edexcel exams since there may be major bits you WILL miss out. I recommend for Chemistry, Biology and Physics that you somehow get your hands on the three CIE endorsed books, which are pretty damn good at doing their jobs if used properly.

    (Original post by Arulz)
    My problem is that I dont know the differences that may be there between the two boards in these subjects. I dont know the difference in terms of content, difficulty or classification of content. My main worry is that Cambridge might be more difficult than edexcel, and that there may be big content differences, or that the structure of the exams might have HUGE differences. Considering what I have seen, Math under CIE might be much more different.
    As I said before, CIE generally considered to be harder and tougher than Edexcel mainly because they have to maintain more of an international standard than Edexcel. Edexcel is more UK based, hence their difficulty as well as course structure and paper structure is more in line with the UK system, whilst CIE is an entirely free body and they set their own exam structure which is as well approved by QCA.

    There is no HUGE difference, however there are SOME major topic differences depending on the choices you make. For example, in CIE physics, there's lots more material study, i.e. Young Modulus and so on at AS level... whilst this topic in Edexcel is a choice...

    As for Mathematics, there ARE actually pretty noticeable differences between Edexcel and CIE... CIE Mathematics is noticeably more difficult than Edexcel Maths, though nothing to worry about. They are not expecting you to be university level student. It's just their tricky questions and harder topics generally. They almost always compensate with their grade boundaries with the exception of this year's paper which was unbelievably easy which lead to a 46/50 raw marks to obtain an A in the mechanics topic.

    (Original post by Arulz)
    I need help from everyone to address
    CONTENT DIFFERENCES for the two boards in the subjects Ive chosen
    STRUCTURE DIFFERENCES in terms of exams in the subjects Ive chosen
    QUESTION differences: differences in Math questions, for example or the way questions are asked differently in Chemistry, etc.

    Keep in mind that I am talking about my AS level for the time being, but problems I may encounter in the future for my A2s will be appreciated. I am also wondering whether I will need any other textbooks or whether the edexcel specification ones will be fine.

    Preferably, I need people who have done or compared the syllabi for the two boards in Chem, Math, Phy and Bio

    Thank you
    Starting off with the structure differences in CIE exams. As you probably know Edexcel, AQA, OCR exams are all 6 paper exams, but CIE A level Chemistry, Biology and Physics are all 5 paper Exams and Mathematics is a 4 paper exam.

    Paper 1 for the sciences are a 40 question multiple choice paper.
    Paper 2 for the Sciences is a AS core content Structured paper
    Paper 3 for the sciences is the one and only practical paper lasting 2 hours.
    Paper 4 for the sciences is a rather long and hard A2 content paper with the application units for each subject. (This application units are new and are pretty ****ed up for Chemistry since there isn't much resource on that)
    Paper 5 is a planning, analysis and evaluation paper, you may not have seen in UK boards.

    As for Maths you have the compulsory P1 which is AS pure. Then you have an option of going for some more pure which is P2 or mechanics P4 or Stats P6 to complete an AS. So for AS you need P1 and one of P2, P4 or P6.

    For A level maths you need the AS modules obviously, and compulsory P3 and one other paper you haven't used already for AS.

    That's basically the structure differences.

    Maths questions are more or less asked in the same way. Be aware that the Maths exam is NOT done on the exam paper. You do it on a separate sheet of lined paper, which shouldn't be much of a problem really.

    As for the sciences Chemistry and Physics are obviously harder, the questions are tougher and as a results the A2 raw to UMS conversion compensates. (A word of warning however, in CIE you never get your UMS marks even though they actually use them). A 49/100 raw mark for paper 4 physics turned out to be an A for this summer's paper.

    The content structure difference cannot be covered extensively here, but just to say there ARE differences and if I were you I would buy those books I said before, here is a link to the Cambridge published endorsed material for CIe
    http://www.cambridge.org/uk/educatio...ge.asp?cid=186

    The physics book is this one
    International A/AS Level Physics
    Author: Mee, C, Crundell, M, Arnold, B, and Brown, W
    ISBN: 9780340945643

    Good luck with you AS year... and keep in mind it is difficult (CIE) and a rather important year for Uni application.

    Best wishes
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    xinolisss, it would be very helpful if you had any digital copies of past papers of CIE for my subjects. if you do have any, can you send them to me? I will give you my email address if you say you do =)
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    Oh yeah, and the Cambridge books you referred to are pretty much out of my budget. Can you tell me if I will miss any information if I study CIE material from my edexcel textbooks, covered any minor topics through the internet and also refer to my Cambridge syllabus and see if I covered everything? I am referring in particular to chemistry as I havent had the time yet to go through the other syllabuses. Is it absolutely essential to buy the book for minor detail points?
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    (Original post by Arulz)
    Oh yeah, and the Cambridge books you referred to are pretty much out of my budget. Can you tell me if I will miss any information if I study CIE material from my edexcel textbooks, covered any minor topics through the internet and also refer to my Cambridge syllabus and see if I covered everything? I am referring in particular to chemistry as I havent had the time yet to go through the other syllabuses. Is it absolutely essential to buy the book for minor detail points?
    Well, you can always search for those books on amazon.co.uk and get them second hand, in pretty good conditions for a fair price... I mean, let me take a look first, to outline the syllabus differences would be too much work for me and time consuming, time which I don't really have right now...

    Well I couldn't find anything on amazon... but you can always try on other sites, maybe you can get a bargain.. but sorry, that's all I can do for now... as for the past papers... PM me your email, and I'll see what I can do
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    helo,
    i'm doing A2 from Edexcel board. Can anyone pls tel me which books to use for understanding physics, because physics is quite hard!

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Updated: September 8, 2008
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