CAIE, or Cambridge Assessment International Education (formerly CIE), is the world’s largest provider of primary and secondary school qualifications. Based out of the prestigious University of Cambridge, they provide examinations to over 160 countries.
In New Zealand, CAIE is a popular curriculum of choice for many schools, and is an alternative to NCEA and IB for senior high school students.
Want to know more about CAIE and how it works? Read on…
Who sits CAIE exams?
CAIE offers qualifications and certificates for students at all levels of primary and secondary school. However, students in New Zealand will typically only sit CAIE qualifications in their final three years of high school, in place of their NCEA Levels 1 through 3 exams.
How does the qualification system work?
A student progressing through the typical CAIE pathway will sit three levels of exams: IGCSE in Year 11, AS in Year 12, and A2 in Year 13. Each corresponds to a year-long set of courses, with each course having between one and three examinations at the end of the year.
An IGCSE qualification stands alone, and students receive percentage marks in all their subjects along with a corresponding letter grade (90-100%: A*; 80-89%: A; 70-79%: B; and so on). However, AS and A2 are considered to jointly make up an A Level qualification, with the grade for the overall A Level consisting of a weighted average of both the AS and A2 examination marks.
Full A Level qualifications use a similar grading system to IGCSE, and most top Universities will require CAIE students to have received good grades in at least three full A Level qualifications. High-performing students are also able to aim for Top in Country or even Top in the World awards, given to those who receive the highest mark in their respective geographic location in an exam session.
By and large, CAIE students will receive their marks from one set of examinations at the end of the year. However, there are multiple exam sessions per year, so students can often organise to re-sit qualifications if they are unhappy with their marks. In some subjects, internally assessed work will also contribute to the final grade.
Is CAIE right for me?
As we established in our article on NCEA qualifications, different curricula suit different people. CAIE qualifications are accepted and respected around the world, but can often come with a higher risk than NCEA qualifications, for example. This is because in most subjects, the final exam marks come down to a single set of exams at the end of the year. If the questions are difficult, or you are underprepared for the exam, you may struggle to achieve good marks in the subject.
However, if you do well under pressure, and are willing to work hard in order to give yourself the best chance of success in a set of exams, then CAIE may be right for you.
What can I do with my CAIE qualifications?
CAIE results are accepted by all universities around the world. Some programmes will require you to do specific CAIE subjects in order to gain entry, but in general, a good set of results in at least three full A Levels will meet minimum entry requirements for all universities.
Where can I find out more?
The CAIE website has an extensive list of resources, including subject information, past papers, and more: https://www.cambridgeinternational.org/
I need help with my CAIE subjects, where can I go?
At EduExperts, we offer tuition across all main subjects for all popular high school curricula, including CAIE. Get in touch with your local centre for more information – your friendly centre manager will be more than happy to help you find the support you require!