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Fact Details
Duration and Intakes 1.5 years of 3 semesters:
January
March
July
Entry Requirements SPM, O Levels or equivalent 5 credits including English and Mathematics/Science Subject pre-requisites apply
No. of Subjects A minimum of 3 or a maximum of 4 A Level subjects
Subjects Offered Mathematics
Further Mathematics
Chemistry
Physics
Biology
Economics
English Literature
Law
Accounting
Examination Sessions May / June
October / November
Assessment Style 100% external examinations in 2 phases: Advanced Subsidiary Level (AS Level) and A2 Level
Awarding Body University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE)
Frequently asked questions about Cambridge International Examinations

What is Cambridge International Examination (CIE)?

  • CIE is a part of the Cambridge Assessment Group (UCLES) and a not-for-profit organisation.
  • Cambridge International AS and A Levels are taken by over 175 000 students in more than 125 countries every year.
  • There are 350 000 entries for Cambridge International A Level annually and growing.

How is Cambridge A-Levels at HELP different from other colleges?

  • Getting The Edge (GTE) for Personal & Leadership Development: In order to cultivate leadership and organisational skills, students are encouraged to participate in the prestigious GTE program. Under this program, students get to work closely with our most experienced lecturers on various winning science projects, participate in creative writing and drama workshops, challenging yet fun mathematic workshops and to develop the technological skills through the multimedia workshops.
  • Centre of Excellence: The Department of A-Levels at HELP University College was accorded the Centre of Excellence award by Edexcel International, UK for exceptional delivery of the London Examinations GCE A-Levels, in recognition of HELP’s superior facilities, outstanding quality of teaching by qualified and experienced lecturers, and for the excellent pastoral support available to their students.
  • The A-team: HELP A-Level lecturers are not only experienced, but also dedicated. We have an indisputable great team of lecturers to guide and motivate our students to strive for excellence
  • Superior Facilities: HELP offers state-of-the-art facilities, especially the Curie Science labs, which are equipped with top quality apparatus and safety features. These labs are acclaimed to be among the best in the world by the A-Levels Biology Chief Examiner from the UK.
  • Outstanding Track Record: 39% of our students scored outstanding straight As and attained an impressive passing rate of more than 90%. Many are also admitted to prestigious universities worldwide with scholarships.
  • University Placement Service Centre: Dedicated staff from this centre to assist A-Level students in their application for admission to universities worldwide and in their bid to secure scholarships.
  • Unique Pastoral Care: Each A-Level student at HELP is assigned to a mentor, usually a lecturer, who serves to monitor and guide the student on academic performance and also advise on application for university admission. A team of counsellors from the Center of Psychology also provides a range of mental health and leadership programs and personal counselling services for A-Level students at HELP.

What do Advanced Subsidiary Level (AS Level), Advanced Two (A2) Level and A Level mean?

  • Students take the A-Level examinations conducted by the University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) in two phases: AS Level and A2 Level.
  • AS Level will account for 50% of the marks while Advanced Two (A2) Level the other 50%.
  • Students who complete the correct pattern of AS level units (usually 2 or 3 units at this level, depending on the subject) will be awarded an AS level certificate.
  • A2 refers to the final stage of A-Levels. Students who have successfully completed AS units in a subject move on to do A2, which are of a higher standard.
  • Completing the correct sequence of subjects at both AS and A2 level means students have finished a full A level in a subject.
  • University places often need a number of grades at A-Level (so both AS + A2 in a subject) but completed AS awards also attract UCAS points and are often counted towards university entrance.

What is the difference between CIE and EDEXCEL Board?

  • Academic system: The Cambridge A-Level programme follows a staged assessment route to A Level by taking the AS Level in one examination session and completing the final A Level assessments at a subsequent session. Some papers are actually practical papers, in which you have to do experiments and answer related questions. The Edexcel A- Level programme follows a modular system. Most Edexcel A-Level students would sit for 1-2 papers per subject at the end of every 5 to 6-month period.
  • Examination board: Edexcel and CIE are both examples of UK examination boards which provide a range of exams and qualifications. All exam boards operate under the guidelines produced by the JCQ (Joint Committee for Qualifications). There is no difference in the level or degree of difficulty between the examination offered by Edexcel and CIE. The specifications of syllabuses might differ but both of them are recognized by colleges, universities and employers all around the world.

Give one advantage of Edexcel A-Levels compared to Cambridge A-Levels?

  • This modular system aims to test you on the application of each unit, and hence a student can choose to repeat a single unit on its own, without having to repeat an entire level. Only the highest mark scored in any attempt will automatically be taken into account.
  • The Cambridge Board, on the other hand, is linear-based. Students attempt to take the examinations in two stages, AS & A2 Level. Students unsatisfied with any of their individual units must re-sit the entire level, i.e. either AS or A2, and only the last score will automatically be taken into account.

Give advantages of Cambridge A-Levels compared to Edexcel A-Levels?

  • Examination fees for Cambridge A-Level are lower than its Edexcel counterpart.
  • Fewer modules per subject (max five) than Edexcel (max six).

Is CIE recognised by foreign universities?

  • The CIE is internationally recognized by universities around the world including all UK universities and over 450 US universities including Harvard, Yale, MIT and Stanford.

What is the subject combinations offered for the CIE at HELP?

  • At HELP, there are packages of subject combinations for students keen to pursue a career in Law, Accounting, Medical Science and Engineering. These combinations will provide students with a balanced mixture of subjects to meet the entry requirements at university level. Our counsellors and staff will assist students in choosing the best subjects to prepare them for their university studies.

How many subjects should I take to get A-Level certificate?

  • The number of A-Levels you take depends on a number of things. In particular, it can depend on the reason you are taking A-Levels. If you are taking the A-Levels as a stepping stone to university, then the number you take may depend on what the university requires or the number of UCAS points you need to get into your course. You should check with the universities you are thinking of targeting to see how many they want you to have.
  • For UK universities, students need a minimum of two A Level passes. At HELP, students need to choose a minimum of 3 A Level subjects and maximum of 4 subjects.

How many subjects are offered at both AS and A2 level at HELP?

  • Nine different subject syllabuses are available. All subjects are offered at both AS and A2 Level.

Why isn't Critical Thinking Skills offered as a subject for the HELP A-Level?

  • Critical Thinking Skills or Social Skills are basically subsidiary papers and non-traditional subject – not an entry requirement into universities.
  • Some colleges impose this subject to have their lecturers fulfil their annual workload hours.
  • At HELP, our A-Level lecturers have been trained to infuse the Critical Thinking Skills in each subject offered. This exposes you to real life scenarios via “stretch and challenge” approach adopted in the teaching and learning effort. Learning becomes much more interesting as you are able to relate to the knowledge acquired to real life application of it.

Does the syllabus include any coursework?

  • No. However, unit 3 of science subjects is a practical examination in which students are assessed based on their laboratory skills. The practical is conducted up to 2 hours under controlled conditions. The whole unit is marked by CIE.

How many units should I take to get AS or AL certificate?

  • For sciences, you need to take three units to be awarded an AS Level Certificate and five units to be awarded an A Level Certificate.
  • However, for other subjects such as Accounting, Mathematics, Economics and English Literature students need to take two units to get an AS Level Certificate and four units to get an A Level Certificate.
  • To get an A Level Certificate for Further Mathematics, students are required to take all the two units at A2 level.

When can I sit for my first CIE external examination if I join the January intake? What about the March and July intakes?

Intake First session Second session
January 2013 Oct / Nov 2013 May / June 2014
March 2013 Oct / Nov 2013 May / June 2014
July 2013 May / June 2014 Oct / Nov 2014

When will I receive my results?

  • Results for May/June sessions are issued in August
  • Results for October/November sessions are issued in January

How much do the examinations cost and when is the registration due?

  • Fees are paid according to the number of subjects a candidate enters.
  • Date of registration for each session is uploaded at HELP portal for students.

What happens if I am dissatisfied with my results? Can I retake an exam if I am unhappy with my marks?

  • You can discuss your options with your subject lecturer. It is possible to retake subjects.
  • However, students unsatisfied with any of their individual units must re-sit the entire level.
  • Also, some university courses, such as medicine, sometimes require students to have taken all their AS or A2 units in a single sitting without any re-sits.
  • It might be worth considering having the paper remarked.

How do I get an A* for CIE?

  • You require an average of 90% in your both AS and A2 units to qualify for an A*. If a student scored very highly in AS and only got grade A in A2, but overall uniform mark scale (UMS) is 90% or above, it’s an A*

Where can I find more information about CIE subjects and their grading system?

  • CIE has its own website which gives access to a very wide range of support materials. You can download for free the syllabuses and pastpapers from the CIE website. CIE offers curriculum support materials specifically designed for students on the Cambridge Students website : http://www.cambridgestudents.org.uk