Cambridge CIE A-Levels vs EdExcel Board A-Levels in Malaysia

Study Cambridge A-Levels or Edexcel A-Levels in Malaysia

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Students after SPM or O-Levels interested to pursue a degree from a top university in the UK or Australia or to enter Ivy League universities in the USA can consider taking the A-Levels programme in Malaysia. There are 2 different Boards offering the A-Levels in Malaysia. Find out more about the differences between the Cambridge International A-Levels and the Edexcel International A-Levels to choose the right one to study.

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What’s the difference between the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) and the Edexcel International A-Levels in Malaysia?

The Cambridge International A-Levels

  • 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 than125 countries every year.
  • There are 350 000 entries for Cambridge International A Level annually and growing.
  • Assessment is 100% external examinations in 2 phases: Advanced Subsidiary Level (AS Level) and A2 Level
  • The awarding body is the University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE)

The Edexcel International A-Levels

  • Modular System (curriculum 2008) allows student to retake any modules to improve subject grade
  • Students sit for the exams in the same time as UK students

Differences

EduSpiral advised & helped me choose the best college for A-Levels. And now I have graduated from a top ranked UK University in Malaysia Dexter Leong, A-Levels at HELP Academy & Degree from University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

EduSpiral advised & helped me choose the best college for A-Levels. And now I have graduated from a top ranked UK University in Malaysia
Dexter Leong, A-Levels at HELP Academy & Degree from University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

  • 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.
  • The London Board operates on a  modular system that 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.
  • Examination fees for Cambridge A-Level are lower than the London Board Edexcel.
  • Cambridge has fewer modules per subject (max five) than the London Board Edexcel (max six).

Retaking the subjects

A-Levels at Taylor's College Lakeside Campuse

EduSpiral advised me to go for the best college for A-Levels in order to fulfil my dream of entering an Ivy League university in the USA. He met us at Taylor’s College to talk to us and tour the college.
Gi Hang, A-Levels at Taylor’s College

  • 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.

Scoring an “A” in the Cambridge A-Levels

  • 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*

The Best Colleges in Malaysia offering the A-Levels

Entry Requirements into the A-Levels in Malaysia

  • SPM, O Levels or equivalent 5 credits including English and Mathematics/Science

Duration

I talked to EduSpiral on Facebook to find out which is the best place to study A-Levels to help me achieve my goals. I am glad I did. Gan Wei Cheng, 3A* in A-Levels at KDU College Penang and now JPA Scholarship at U. of Sydney for Pharmacy

I talked to EduSpiral on Facebook to find out which is the best place to study A-Levels to help me achieve my goals. I am glad I did.
Gan Wei Cheng, 3A* in A-Levels at KDU College Penang and now JPA Scholarship at U. of Sydney for Pharmacy

  • January and July intakes are 18 months
  • March intakes are 16 months

Subjects Generally Offered

  • Mathematics
  • Further Mathematics
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Biology
  • Economics
  • English Literature
  • Law
  • Accounting
  • Business Studies
  • Psychology

How many subjects to take?

  • 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. Students need to choose a minimum of 3 A Level subjects and maximum of 4 subjects.

Subject Combinations for A-Levels

"EduSpiral gave me advise over phone, Facebook, Skype and even took me to visit the universities. He spent a lot of time to help me make my decision on what to study and at which university." Ban Moon (Left), Scored 3As in the A-Levels at HELP Academy

“EduSpiral gave me advise over phone, Facebook, Skype and even took me to visit the universities. He spent a lot of time to help me make my decision on what to study and at which university.”
Ban Moon (Left), Scored 3As in the A-Levels at HELP Academy

  • Students are required to take a minimum of 3 subjects and a maximum of 4. While subject combinations are left to the student’s interest and degree requirements of the different universities.
  • Below is a guide, students should check with the colleges:
  • Medicine – Chemistry, Biology and Maths or Physics
  • Pharmacy – Chemistry, Maths and Biology or Physics
  • Law – Law, Business Studies, Economics and any other subject
  • Engineering – Physics, Further Maths and another Science
  • Computing – Maths and another subject

The Cambridge AS Level

  • 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. Its flexibility enables students to sit for the AS level in one examination and complete the final Cambridge International A-Levels at a subsequent session.
  • 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.

Getting the 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.

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