justinawe
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In my country, the two most popular A-Level examination boards offered by colleges are CIE and Edexcel (I personally have never seen a college that offers a different examination board, though there may be). CIE (Cambridge International Examinations) are "International A-Levels", and have a linear examination system... meaning it's just one examination for AS Level, and one for A-Level. Edexcel is one of the normal UK A-Levels, probably some of you are doing/have completed Edexcel A-Levels. So yeah, it's the exact same one that is offered in the UK, with the 6 modules etc.

The general consensus seems to be that the CIE A-Levels are "definitely" harder than the Edexcel A-Levels. I've also asked people who have transferred between these two programs, and they too say that the Cambridge A-Levels are harder, citing several reasons. The main ones being: harder syllabus, lack of resits, as well as having to remember the entire AS or A2 syllabus rather than just studying for separate modules.

So, the thing is, would it really be worth doing these CIE A-Levels? Do universities recognize that these A-Levels are harder and give better offers, or do all A-Levels get the same recognition? If it's the latter, then is there any real use in doing the CIE A-Levels? Sure, it might prepare me better for university due to a tougher syllabus, but that's pretty much useless is I fail to get into the degree course I want to.

Any advice (especially if you have done CIE A-Levels yourself) would be appreciated.
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Azland
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(Original post by justinawe)
In my country, the two most popular A-Level examination boards offered by colleges are CIE and Edexcel (I personally have never seen a college that offers a different examination board, though there may be). CIE (Cambridge International Examinations) are "International A-Levels", and have a linear examination system... meaning it's just one examination for AS Level, and one for A-Level. Edexcel is one of the normal UK A-Levels, probably some of you are doing/have completed Edexcel A-Levels. So yeah, it's the exact same one that is offered in the UK, with the 6 modules etc.

The general consensus seems to be that the CIE A-Levels are "definitely" harder than the Edexcel A-Levels. I've also asked people who have transferred between these two programs, and they too say that the Cambridge A-Levels are harder, citing several reasons. The main ones being: harder syllabus, lack of resits, as well as having to remember the entire AS or A2 syllabus rather than just studying for separate modules.

So, the thing is, would it really be worth doing these CIE A-Levels? Do universities recognize that these A-Levels are harder and give better offers, or do all A-Levels get the same recognition? If it's the latter, then is there any real use in doing the CIE A-Levels? Sure, it might prepare me better for university due to a tougher syllabus, but that's pretty much useless is I fail to get into the degree course I want to.

Any advice (especially if you have done CIE A-Levels yourself) would be appreciated.
I'm doing CIE myself. Firstly, its not just 1 examination for AS and A2. Usually all subjects have 2 papers at the AS and 2 at the A2. I think its 3 or 4 for edexcel and other UK boards. Universities regard them as the same as edexcel in terms of giving out offers. Whether they decide to choose you over a candidate who has the same grades but on a different board is something I dont know. Also yes, it is harder. Some subjects like CIE math has topics from Edexcel Further Math. But CIE only tests you on two papers for pure math. Paper 1 and 3 is a combination of Core 1-4 and some FM. So, I guess thats a + side for those who dont want to appear for so many papers but not very good for those who dont like so many topics at once.

Also, you can resit in CIE. It's just that you have to resit either the entire AS or entire A2. If you get A in one paper and E in the other - you will have to write the A again aswell. The A* grade calculation is also different and needs about 90% overall in AS and A2. It prepares you better for university in my opinion but its only ment for people who know the subject very well imo. They can ask you anything from any topic in any of the papers. ( no module specific topics ). I got 2 A*'s from CIE and I'm doing my 3rd subject in May. Feel free to pm me if you have any questions.

Oh and dont expect A Levels ( Especially from CIE ) to be anything like IGCSE. Its a very big jump up.
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justinawe
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(Original post by Azland)
I'm doing CIE myself. Firstly, its not just 1 examination for AS and A2. Usually all subjects have 2 papers at the AS and 2 at the A2. I think its 3 or 4 for edexcel and other UK boards. Universities regard them as the same as edexcel in terms of giving out offers. Whether they decide to choose you over a candidate who has the same grades but on a different board is something I dont know. Also yes, it is harder. Some subjects like CIE math has topics from Edexcel Further Math. But CIE only tests you on two papers for pure math. Paper 1 and 3 is a combination of Core 1-4 and some FM. So, I guess thats a + side for those who dont want to appear for so many papers but not very good for those who dont like so many topics at once.

Also, you can resit in CIE. It's just that you have to resit either the entire AS or entire A2. If you get A in one paper and E in the other - you will have to write the A again aswell. The A* grade calculation is also different and needs about 90% overall in AS and A2. It prepares you better for university in my opinion but its only ment for people who know the subject very well imo. They can ask you anything from any topic in any of the papers. ( no module specific topics ). I got 2 A*'s from CIE and I'm doing my 3rd subject in May. Feel free to pm me if you have any questions.

Oh and dont expect A Levels ( Especially from CIE ) to be anything like IGCSE. Its a very big jump up.
Yeah, when I said 1 examination I meant something like that, Paper 1/3 at the end of AS/A2, but it's considered as two papers for one examination, isn't it?

Same with the resitting, I just meant you can't resit separate modules

As for the A* grade calculation... is it just 90% overall or you need 90% or above in A2 as well? I know that other boards (Edexcel etc) require you to have 90% for A2 but only 80% overall.

I do know that A-Levels are significantly harder, I've gone through some of the content myself. Thanks for the warning, all the same I have an Additional Maths IGCSE which covers most of AS-Levels Maths, so it should be a fairly smooth transition in that area, but the science subjects especially are a huge step up, the IGCSE sciences are ridiculously easy in comparison

EDIT: Another question... I heard somewhere that for CIE A-Levels, if you do well in your AS but poorly in A2, if you wish to retake, you'll have to retake AS as well, rather than just A2. Is this true?

Thanks for your help, I really appreciate it.
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Azland
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(Original post by justinawe)
Yeah, when I said 1 examination I meant something like that, Paper 1/3 at the end of AS/A2, but it's considered as two papers for one examination, isn't it?

Same with the resitting, I just meant you can't resit separate modules

As for the A* grade calculation... is it just 90% overall or you need 90% or above in A2 as well? I know that other boards (Edexcel etc) require you to have 90% for A2 but only 80% overall.

I do know that A-Levels are significantly harder, I've gone through some of the content myself. Thanks for the warning, all the same I have an Additional Maths IGCSE which covers most of AS-Levels Maths, so it should be a fairly smooth transition in that area, but the science subjects especially are a huge step up, the IGCSE sciences are ridiculously easy in comparison

EDIT: Another question... I heard somewhere that for CIE A-Levels, if you do well in your AS but poorly in A2, if you wish to retake, you'll have to retake AS as well, rather than just A2. Is this true?

Thanks for your help, I really appreciate it.
Technically there's no specific definition as to how much you need for an A*. You need a specific number of raw marks from all your papers combined. This varies each year depending on exam difficulty. From my experience though everyone who has got an A* has had above 90 UMS in both AS and A2. Generally its 90% overall. If you get 80% at AS you would need like 100% at A2. And no, you can retake the AS or the A2 - dont need to retake both. Additional maths should help you with the basics of AS I suppose but remember CIE math takes in some parts of further math also from other boards. Your Add Math's wont really help all that much although I suppose you would know the first two chapters or so of AS.

Just my two cents but If I was you I would go with Edexcel. The math is ridiculously easy in comparison. I dont do your science subjects so I cant comment on them much. But people in my class who take sciences very rarely cross a B. I think just one or two got an A in AS. Dont let that put you down though - my school is quite terrible in terms of teachers so I'm not sure how much of it is because of CIE's difficulty.
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justinawe
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(Original post by Azland)
Technically there's no specific definition as to how much you need for an A*. You need a specific number of raw marks from all your papers combined. This varies each year depending on exam difficulty. From my experience though everyone who has got an A* has had above 90 UMS in both AS and A2. Generally its 90% overall. If you get 80% at AS you would need like 100% at A2. And no, you can retake the AS or the A2 - dont need to retake both. Additional maths should help you with the basics of AS I suppose but remember CIE math takes in some parts of further math also from other boards. Your Add Math's wont really help all that much although I suppose you would know the first two chapters or so of AS.

Just my two cents but If I was you I would go with Edexcel. The math is ridiculously easy in comparison. I dont do your science subjects so I cant comment on them much. But people in my class who take sciences very rarely cross a B. I think just one or two got an A in AS. Dont let that put you down though - my school is quite terrible in terms of teachers so I'm not sure how much of it is because of CIE's difficulty.
Did you take the Add Maths IGCSE? Most people I know who did, and went on to CIE A-Levels (the more popular choice in my country, they only first introduced Edexcel a few years ago) say that it was a huge help, as it covered many of the AS topics, expect for AS Maths it was more "in depth".

Also, I'm planning on doing Further Maths as well - are there topics covered in CIE's FM that isn't for Edexcel? Basically, if I did Maths+FM with CIE, would I cover more than I would with Maths+FM with Edexcel?
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Azland
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(Original post by justinawe)
Did you take the Add Maths IGCSE? Most people I know who did, and went on to CIE A-Levels (the more popular choice in my country, they only first introduced Edexcel a few years ago) say that it was a huge help, as it covered many of the AS topics, expect for AS Maths it was more "in depth".

Also, I'm planning on doing Further Maths as well - are there topics covered in CIE's FM that isn't for Edexcel? Basically, if I did Maths+FM with CIE, would I cover more than I would with Maths+FM with Edexcel?
No, I didnt but a few in my class did. Sure, when we first started AS they were a little ahead but it hardly mattered anymore after 2 months. Your not allowed to take FM untill you complete Math if I remember correctly. I dont know what CIE FM covers exactly but since CIE normal math covers some topics from other boards FM, I assume it will cover more yes. Also in other boards where you have the option in maths of choosing different modules like statistics or mechanics or decision maths to get an overall grade - you dont have that option in CIE. To do CIE FM it says "Knowledge of complete Statistics and mechanics is assumed". Basically you will have to know every part of math and the applied sub divisions to attempt FM. Quite a work load I'd say. Dont take it just because you think Add Maths was a piece of cake in GCSE.
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Samurai_Jack
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(Original post by justinawe)
In my country, the two most popular A-Level examination boards offered by colleges are CIE and Edexcel (I personally have never seen a college that offers a different examination board, though there may be). CIE (Cambridge International Examinations) are "International A-Levels", and have a linear examination system... meaning it's just one examination for AS Level, and one for A-Level. Edexcel is one of the normal UK A-Levels, probably some of you are doing/have completed Edexcel A-Levels. So yeah, it's the exact same one that is offered in the UK, with the 6 modules etc.

The general consensus seems to be that the CIE A-Levels are "definitely" harder than the Edexcel A-Levels. I've also asked people who have transferred between these two programs, and they too say that the Cambridge A-Levels are harder, citing several reasons. The main ones being: harder syllabus, lack of resits, as well as having to remember the entire AS or A2 syllabus rather than just studying for separate modules.

So, the thing is, would it really be worth doing these CIE A-Levels? Do universities recognize that these A-Levels are harder and give better offers, or do all A-Levels get the same recognition? If it's the latter, then is there any real use in doing the CIE A-Levels? Sure, it might prepare me better for university due to a tougher syllabus, but that's pretty much useless is I fail to get into the degree course I want to.

Any advice (especially if you have done CIE A-Levels yourself) would be appreciated.
In my country, the most popular choice are CIE and edexcel too. I am doing CIE though but while comparing with my friends I wouldn't say that Edexcel is necesserily 'easier' as some humanities have compulsary course works which are definately harder however, comparitively, the sciences and even social sciences are slightly harder due to the missing option of module choices and syllabus content.

In case you are actually planning to do Furthur Mathematics, I would advise you to stay with Edexcel because it was my only subject where the difficulty between the two boards was more apparent than ever. Unis. in UK don't count any difference between them so it would be make sense to do the easier one. The only country I heard (informally) which respects CIE a bit more is Hong Kong during an educational event. However, the rest of the countries regard them all as the common "British-Patterned Examinations".
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justinawe
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(Original post by Azland)
No, I didnt but a few in my class did. Sure, when we first started AS they were a little ahead but it hardly mattered anymore after 2 months. Your not allowed to take FM untill you complete Math if I remember correctly. I dont know what CIE FM covers exactly but since CIE normal math covers some topics from other boards FM, I assume it will cover more yes. Also in other boards where you have the option in maths of choosing different modules like statistics or mechanics or decision maths to get an overall grade - you dont have that option in CIE. To do CIE FM it says "Knowledge of complete Statistics and mechanics is assumed". Basically you will have to know every part of math and the applied sub divisions to attempt FM. Quite a work load I'd say. Dont take it just because you think Add Maths was a piece of cake in GCSE.
I see.

In colleges here, you take Maths and Further Maths simultaneously.

Don't worry, I'm not taking Further Maths because I think it'll be easy, I'm doing it as it is highly relevant to the uni courses I'm looking at. I do have a good aptitude for maths and a pretty high IQ score, so I'm sure, if I put in enough effort, I can handle it. I can always drop it after AS if I find the workload too much.

I did cover some Mechanics in Additional Maths and I have a Statistics GCSE, so maybe that could help somewhat. Nowhere near "complete knowledge", though.

What subjects did you take?
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justinawe
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(Original post by Samurai_Jack)
In my country, the most popular choice are CIE and edexcel too. I am doing CIE though but while comparing with my friends I wouldn't say that Edexcel is necesserily 'easier' as some humanities have compulsary course works which are definately harder however, comparitively, the sciences and even social sciences are slightly harder due to the missing option of module choices and syllabus content.

In case you are actually planning to do Furthur Mathematics, I would advise you to stay with Edexcel because it was my only subject where the difficulty between the two boards was more apparent than ever. Unis. in UK don't count any difference between them so it would be make sense to do the easier one. The only country I heard (informally) which respects CIE a bit more is Hong Kong during an educational event. However, the rest of the countries regard them all as the common "British-Patterned Examinations".
hmm, maybe I should go for Edexcel then. Humanities aren't really my thing, so if the Maths/Sciences/Social Sciences are more difficult, and the UK doesn't count any difference, CIE doesn't seem like a very good idea.

Do you know anything about acceptance for universities in countries outside the UK though? The main argument I've heard for CIE (not sure if this is true) was that it is more respected by countries such as Australia/US/Canada.

Thanks for your help.
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Samurai_Jack
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(Original post by justinawe)
hmm, maybe I should go for Edexcel then. Humanities aren't really my thing, so if the Maths/Sciences/Social Sciences are more difficult, and the UK doesn't count any difference, CIE doesn't seem like a very good idea.

Do you know anything about acceptance for universities in countries outside the UK though? The main argument I've heard for CIE (not sure if this is true) was that it is more respected by countries such as Australia/US/Canada.

Thanks for your help.
I initially continued with CIE with the same notion that it is indeed more respected but even though I have no idea about Australia, the students in my year who have applied with Edexcel in US and Canada received no extra privilege what so ever compared to the ones who applied with CIE. In fact, in one of my alumni interviews I was rather annoyed when I had to explain them that why I didn't have AS Further Maths as opposed to another girl applying from my hometown. This was really low ranked uni. in US though so I have no idea how the mindset of the biggies work.

Also when CIE had stated about the whole "complete knowledge" of mechanics and statistics they don't mean math at o levels but rather complete control of S1, S2, M1 and M2 at complete A level which is like doing two extra papers with the already annoying mathematics A level just to prepare taking the subject.
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justinawe
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(Original post by Samurai_Jack)
I initially continued with CIE with the same notion that it is indeed more respected but even though I have no idea about Australia, the students in my year who have applied with Edexcel in US and Canada received no extra privilege what so ever compared to the ones who applied with CIE. In fact, in one of my alumni interviews I was rather annoyed when I had to explain them that why I didn't have AS Further Maths as opposed to another girl applying from my hometown. This was really low ranked uni. in US though so I have no idea how the mindset of the biggies work.

Also when CIE had stated about the whole "complete knowledge" of mechanics and statistics they don't mean math at o levels but rather complete control of S1, S2, M1 and M2 at complete A level which is like doing two extra papers with the already annoying mathematics A level just to prepare taking the subject.
I see, thanks for the input.

Yeah, that's why I said it was nowhere near "complete knowledge" Additional Maths (not normal maths) IGCSE does cover a little bit of M1 while the Statistics GCSE covers quite a bit of S1, but that's hardy enough

Colleges here do offer Maths and FM simultaneously though, so there must be some kind of plan there.
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Azland
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(Original post by justinawe)
I see.

In colleges here, you take Maths and Further Maths simultaneously.

Don't worry, I'm not taking Further Maths because I think it'll be easy, I'm doing it as it is highly relevant to the uni courses I'm looking at. I do have a good aptitude for maths and a pretty high IQ score, so I'm sure, if I put in enough effort, I can handle it. I can always drop it after AS if I find the workload too much.

I did cover some Mechanics in Additional Maths and I have a Statistics GCSE, so maybe that could help somewhat. Nowhere near "complete knowledge", though.

What subjects did you take?
You cant drop it after AS because there is no AS FM. CIE has only 2 A2 papers to finish the full FM. Both 3 hours each. If you complete both you get the A Level FM qualification. AS does not exist for CIE FM. The two papers which you will have to write are sent from hell too LOL.

Also, you misunderstood what I ment by taking FM and Math togeather. You can study both and take both at the same time - there's no problem with that. You just cant do any FM papers without attempting or preparing to attempt math at the same time. Hope you get my point.

For what It's worth I took commerce subjects more or less. Business, Econ, Math, English. I wanted to do Further math myself but the "complete knowledge" BS and lengthy 3 hour papers for each just made me avoid it. The risk factor is very high as its inbetween only 2 papers where you can be tested from any part of the syllabus ( pure math and alll the applied modules ). I would have totally gone for it on another exam board though. Also the fact that there is no AS means I wouldn't even know how good I am at the exam before taking it into A2. It would either befail or pass without knowing if you can handle it. Hope you get what I mean

By the way - One last point. It isnt just assumed knowledge of S1,S2,M1,M2. There are advanced topics on all these topics which you will also need to cover. Consider it S3,M3,S4 etc.
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justinawe
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(Original post by Azland)
You cant drop it after AS because there is no AS FM. CIE has only 2 A2 papers to finish the full FM. Both 3 hours each. If you complete both you get the A Level FM qualification. AS does not exist for CIE FM. The two papers which you will have to write are sent from hell too LOL.

Also, you misunderstood what I ment by taking FM and Math togeather. You can study both and take both at the same time - there's no problem with that. You just cant do any FM papers without attempting or preparing to attempt math at the same time. Hope you get my point.

For what It's worth I took commerce subjects more or less. Business, Econ, Math, English. I wanted to do Further math myself but the "complete knowledge" BS and lengthy 3 hour papers for each just made me avoid it. The risk factor is very high as its inbetween only 2 papers where you can be tested from any part of the syllabus ( pure math and alll the applied modules ). I would have totally gone for it on another exam board though. Also the fact that there is no AS means I wouldn't even know how good I am at the exam before taking it into A2. It would either fail or pass without knowing if you can handle it. Hope you get what I mean
No FM AS for CIE? Haven't heard that one before, that's an interesting bit of news, thanks.

Ah, I see what you mean. I think that's normal for all exam boards though? I don't understand how or why someone would sit for FM papers without attempting Maths as well in any case though, lol.

There does indeed seem to be a very high risk factor from what you're saying, no 6 modules is one thing but no AS is really off-putting.
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Super Unicorn
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(Original post by Azland)
You cant drop it after AS because there is no AS FM. CIE has only 2 A2 papers to finish the full FM. Both 3 hours each. If you complete both you get the A Level FM qualification. AS does not exist for CIE FM. The two papers which you will have to write are sent from hell too LOL.

Also, you misunderstood what I ment by taking FM and Math togeather. You can study both and take both at the same time - there's no problem with that. You just cant do any FM papers without attempting or preparing to attempt math at the same time. Hope you get my point.

For what It's worth I took commerce subjects more or less. Business, Econ, Math, English. I wanted to do Further math myself but the "complete knowledge" BS and lengthy 3 hour papers for each just made me avoid it. The risk factor is very high as its inbetween only 2 papers where you can be tested from any part of the syllabus ( pure math and alll the applied modules ). I would have totally gone for it on another exam board though. Also the fact that there is no AS means I wouldn't even know how good I am at the exam before taking it into A2. It would either befail or pass without knowing if you can handle it. Hope you get what I mean

By the way - One last point. It isnt just assumed knowledge of S1,S2,M1,M2. There are advanced topics on all these topics which you will also need to cover. Consider it S3,M3,S4 etc.
Congratulations on your result! i wanna appear for cie next year. so could you please tell me which subjects you took so that i can ask you for help if needed. and how do they grade you if you appear in As and A2 in different sessions.
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Super Unicorn
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congratulations! on your grades, i wanna appear for cie next year year. can you please let me know which subjects you took so that i can ask for any help if i need to. and how do they grade you when you give As an A2 in separate sessions.
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