Worldwide, Cempaka International School Cheras students join thousands of their peers enter leading universities each year with Cambridge A Levels. We spoke with Dr. Barry J. Hoole, Head of A Level Department and asked him to share basic information about this course.
Cempaka Blog: What is A Level and why choose it?
Dr. Barry Hoole: The A Level set of examinations provides a basis for University entrance qualification. It is by no means the only source of qualifications, but is one of the most widely known, and accepted internationally. A Level examinations are set by a number of different Examination Boards. These examinations are similar, and of similar standards. Cempaka students sit for examinations set by the Cambridge International Examination Board (“CIE”), one of the largest and best known. Examinations are set in around 100 subjects, and examinations are held twice a year.
Students may enrol to take the examinations in one or more subjects. There are no pre-requisites to take exams in particular subjects, and students have a free choice in the selection of subjects.Following the examinations, students receive a Grade (A*, A, B, C, D, or U) for each subject taken, and these Grades may be used as entry qualifications for tertiary or other institutions.
CB: Who is eligible for A Levels? What type of students would benefit from A Levels?
Dr. Barry: Anyone is eligible for A Levels. There are no pre-requisites for any subject, and an O level or IGCSE qualification in any subject is not necessary. As I explained above, A Level courses of study should be of interest to those students who have who have determined either that they wish to study a particular set of subjects in greater depth, or who are aiming for a career where specific knowledge areas are an advantage (such as medicine, or engineering).
CB: What can students expect from A Levels?
Dr. Barry: Students can expect results consistent with the effort that they contribute. An A Level course has a wide syllabus, and students need to master all of it, as they may be examined on any topic within it. Grades awarded reflect the input students make. They can expect to be challenged to develop effective study techniques, balance in their life and good time management. They will also be encouraged to be the best they can be, and to achieve the best grades that they can, as more doors will open in life, with better results.
CB: What are the subjects covered?
Dr. Barry: Most of our students study Maths and three sciences, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. We offer regular options of Applied Information and Computing Technology and Further Mathematics. Over the years students have also taken Accounting, Economics, Business Studies, Law and Thinking Skills, and we would consider reinstating any of these courses given the demand. Consideration is also being given to Psychology as a fourth science subject.
CB: Why should parent/s choose A Levels at Cempaka International School Cheras for their children?
Dr. Barry: Parents and students first need to establish whether A Level or some other qualification is in the best interest of a student. At Cempaka we offer A Level, IBDP and GAC qualifications – and all are excellent courses, each being perhaps more suited to a student with particular interests.