How is the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) A-Level Graded in Malaysia
Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) A-Levels is an A-Levels course run by the University of Cambridge International Examinations Syndicate (UCLES). The Cambridge GCE A-Level programme follows a ‘staged’ assessment, in contrast to the traditional linear A-Levels where all subjects are assessed in a single examination session at the end of the course.
Students are prepared for the examinations in 2 stages, which takes away the pressure of one set of final examinations at the end. Students will sit for their AS examinations at the end of Semester Two and their A2 examinations at the end of Semester Three. The examination papers at both the AS and A2 Levels are set and marked by examiners from Cambridge International Examinations.
SPM – Semester 1 (6 months) – Semester 2 (6 months – Sit for AS exams contributing 50% to final grade) – Semester 3 (6 months – Sit for A2 exams contributing 50% to final grade) NOTE: The A2 examination cannot be taken as a standalone qualification.
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Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) A-Level
The A-Level subject syllabi are divided into the AS Level, which is the first half of the programme and form the foundations of A-Level, and the A2 Level, which is the second part of the syllabus and covers more difficult topics, with each level contributing 50% towards the final A-Level grade.
There is also a performance feedback session where students who have completed the AS level will receive valuable feedback on their performance, thus identifying their own strengths and weaknesses that will help them set learning goals for the A2 level.
The subject content of each of the A Level syllabuses has been subdivided into two parts: the AS (Advanced Subsidiary) syllabus content which is expected to be covered in the first half of the course, and part two of the syllabus commonly referred to as ‘A2’.
A typical Cambridge A-Levels student would take the AS-Level papers for each subject at the end of the 1st year and the A2 papers of each subject at the end of 1.5 years.
Some papers are actually practical papers, in which you have to do experiments and answer related questions.
Grading of the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) A-Levels in Malaysia
Each subject that a learner takes receives a separate grade.
Grades are benchmarked using internationally recognised grades, which have clear guidelines to explain the standards of achievement.
The Cambridge International A Level is reported on a grade scale from A*, A, B, C, D and E. There is no A* grade for Cambridge International AS Levels, which run from grade A to E. The A* grade is awarded to candidates who achieve an A in their overall A-level, with a score of at least 90% at A2. There is no A* grade at AS or unit level.
A candidate’s Cambridge International A Level grade is determined by their total mark for all the papers of the Cambridge International A Level qualification, including the Cambridge International AS Level papers. The Cambridge International AS Level papers always account for 50% of the weighting of the total Cambridge International A Level.
For example, a candidate obtained 55 marks out of 100 in their Cambridge International AS Level Economics in June 2020. In June 2021 they took the two remaining Cambridge International A Level papers in Economics and obtained 20 out of 30 and 37 out of 70 for them, a total of a further 57 marks. Their total mark for International A Level Economics was therefore 112 out of 200.
We compared that with the thresholds for different grades for International A Level Economics used in June 2020 and determined that 112 marks was worth a grade C at International A Level.
If the candidate had obtained 72 marks in their June 2020 papers instead of only 57, their aggregate Cambridge International A Level total would have been 127 marks out of 200, which in that particular subject in that particular year would have been enough for a grade B at International A Level.
Your results slip will also show a score on something called the ‘uniform mark scale’ (UMS). The AS is scored out of 300 UMS marks, and the A level out of 600 marks.
Once you have taken the three units for the AS level, and are happy with your award, you let the exam board know. This is called ‘ cashing in’. If you’re not happy, you can opt to resit a unit.
If the exam doesn’t go well
If on the day of the exam something happens outside your control to affect your performance, you may be eligible for special consideration. Speak to your teachers as soon as possible.
You can also choose to resit individual units (although there are time limits and some are not available in January). The awarding body will count the higher mark from your two attempts.
Re-marks and recounts
If you think something may have gone wrong with marking your exam, we can try to ask for a re-mark or recount. You also have the right to request your marked exam script.
If you are still unhappy, the college can appeal to the awarding body, and then finally, if necessary, to the independent Examinations Appeals Board.
Cambridge A-Level Exam Dates in Malaysia
The Cambridge AS and A2 Level examinations are conducted in May/June and October/November. Results are released in August for the May/June examination and in January for the October/November examination.
Students receive a certificate after completing the AS Level examination, and the A Level certificate after completing both the AS Level and A2 Level examinations.