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Cambridge  International 

Cambridge International is administered by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES). UCLES is one of the world's leading examining bodies. Established in 1863 it provides examination services in over 160 countries around the world. Although CAIE is based in the United Kingdom, and the structure of the Cambridge International awards is the same as the UK awards, its courses are designed for the international community.

Cambridge offers three general secondary qualifications: 

  • International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) - usually taken in Year 11

  • Advanced Subsidiary Level (AS) - usually taken in Year 12 

  • Advanced Level (A Level) - usually taken in Year 13

Cambridge courses are generally assessed through external examinations. The different course components of each subject are assessed by separate examination papers, including practical work in the sciences.


Students receive grades and percentage marks for each subject.


Examinations are held twice a year in May/June and October/November. Students will generally sit their examinations in the October/November session. In a small number of courses the May/June session will be selected as the more appropriate.


Cambridge qualifications are recognised internationally. They can be used as University Entrance qualification

in New Zealand and overseas.


  • Provides a foundation for higher level courses, especially AS/A Level.

  • Subjects are generally studied at Year 11. Some subjects will be available in Year 12. 

  • In some IGCSE subjects there are two course levels - Core Curriculum and Extended Curriculum. The extended curriculum offers a more challenging course. 

  • The following grades are available:

   - Extended Curriculum : A*, A, B, C, D, E

   - Core Curriculum : C, D, E, F, G, H 

  • A ‘G’ grade is regarded as a minimum satisfactory performance against the learning objectives of each subject.

  • Are the first half of a full A Level (the second half is known as A2) and are generally studied in Year 12. Some AS levels, developed by New Zealand schools in conjunction with CAIE, are only available as Year 13 courses.

  • Cover the core, foundation aspects of a subject at an advanced level.

  • Are worthwhile, stand-alone qualifications that can be used for tertiary entrance.

  • Five pass grades are awarded: A, B, C, D, E. Marks below these are ungraded.

A LEVEL (A2) - YEAR 13

  • An AS Level can be carried through to a full A Level by completing the second half of the syllabus known as A2. (There is no such thing as a separate, stand-alone A2 qualification).

  • A2 courses are available as Year 13 courses and only to students who have already completed AS. A Level syllabuses offer challenging assessments to stretch the most able students.

  • Students who have completed their AS course the previous year have the option of re-sitting the AS exam in their A2 year in order to improve their overall A Level grade.

  • Five pass grades are awarded: A, B, C, D, E. Marks below these are ungraded.




NCEA and Cambridge qualifications are available in Years 11, 12 and 13. Students have two pathways to qualification:

  • Pathway 1 -  NCEA Level 1 (Year 11), NCEA Level 2 (Year 12), NCEA Level 3 (Year 13)

  • Pathway 2 - IGCSE (Year 11), AS Level (Year 12), A Level (Year 13)

(Note: Multi-levelling can occur within each pathway.)


For more information about Cambridge International at Avondale College, please download our information booklet below.


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