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Cambridge International are the largest provider of non government education in the world, and are taught by over 11, 000 schools worldwide.
Cambridge IGCSE is the world’s most popular international curriculum for 14-16 year olds, leading to a globally recognised and valued Cambridge IGCSE qualifications.
A Cambridge education prepares school students for life, helping them develop an informed curiosity and a lasting passion for learning. These international qualifications are recognised by the world’s best universities and employers, giving students a wide range of options in their education and career.
As PLC Sydney is a school that is international in both its nature and outlook, we offer the option of Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE) in Years 9 and 10 to supplement learning, in addition to the NSW Education Standards Authority courses (the HSC), as it enables students to sit examinations in globally recognised courses.
Cambridge International A Levels are highly specialised subjects. A Levels are equivalent to and take the place of the HSC. They are the ‘gold standard’ of Cambridge, and act as entry qualifications for universities around the world.
PLC Sydney currently offers Cambridge IGCSE subjects, the equivalent to the School Certificate, in Years 9 and 10. IGCSE subjects transition into ‘A’ level subjects in Years 11 and 12.
The Cambridge ‘A’ level structure is different to the HSC. Students study four subjects in Year 11. This is called ‘AS’ level. Students can reduce this to three subjects in Year 12. This is called ‘A’ level. Students are able to study A level subjects even if they haven’t done IGCSE subjects in Years 9 and 10 electives, although this may involve some bridging work.
Universities attribute scores to each ‘A’ level grade. ‘A’ level grades are structured as follows:
For example, to access medicine at Oxford University requires 16 points, or A*, A, A.
The A* at A Level is awarded to candidates who achieve a grade A on the A Level overall (80%), and who also achieve at least 90% on the uniform mark scale (UMS) across their A2 units.
It is possible to enter some universities in New Zealand, Canada and South Africa after Year 11 (AS level). CAIE results are based solely on examinations.
By 2024, PLC Sydney will introduce ‘AS’ level studies to students in Year 11 and 'A' level courses in 2025 (i.e. Year 12). These will be offered alongside the HSC.
*Cambridge A levels provide students with an internationally recognised qualification, which make applying for tertiary studies overseas easier
*If you already know what you want to do eg medicine….you can specialise earlier in your studies but choosing the 3 or 4 subjects relevant to your degree and university entrance
*A student wanting to study Medicine at Uni, may choose Chemistry. Biology and Maths.
*English is not a compulsory subject in ‘A’ levels
*Depth of Knowledge: If you are interested in a particular subject area, ‘A’ levels will give you greater depth in that area.
*Student aren’t competing against each other (‘A’ levels don’t have ATARS, so there are no comparisons against other students in the state as there is with the HSC. Students are judged on their mark only.
‘A’ Levels and the HSC - why do both?
Many students choose to study both the HSC and A Levels eg HSC + 1 x A Level subject providing them the best of both worlds using A levels to supplement the HSC by furthering a student’s love and knowledge of a particular subject area.
Not only do Cambridge/Pearson’s ‘A’ Level subjects provide enrichment and engagement in areas not available within the standard curriculum, it is also an international qualification recognised by the world’s best universities and employers, giving students a wide range of options in their education and career.
Until recently most Australian tertiary institutions used the ATAR as the means by which to select students into their courses. However over the last few years, many institutions are now choosing to look more broadly at their selection criteria. In 2019, 30% of PLC Sydney Year 12 students went into their HSC exams having already received offers into the university courses based on these changing entrance criteria including recognising a student’s participation in her community, leadership and co-curricular participation, external extension and enrichment reports etc Certain courses at University offer credits for the ‘A’ level exams and/or credits for overseas placements - adding weight to a student’s opportunity for overseas course entry.
PLC Sydney will be introducing ‘A’ Levels in 2023.
PLC Sydney is proud to have been recognised as one of the 100 most innovative schools worldwide by Cambridge University.
Cambridge University identified PLC Sydney as a highly innovative educator, for not only incorporating digital technologies, creative classroom design, and innovative pedagogy and programs into the College, but also for its comprehensive Service Learning Program, where students are encouraged from a very early age to engage with the community by undertaking volunteer work at various local and international institutions, according to their school year.