Choosing A Levels at Cempaka International School Cheras

A Levels
Dr. Barry J. Hoole, Head of A Level Department, Cempaka International School Cheras. “We currently have ex students at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities  in the UK, and a number of other students have been offered places at prestigious institutions such as Imperial College London and University College London. Students from the A Level program have also recently enrolled at universities in USA and Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong and Germany.”

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.

Although there is no limit to the number of subjects a student may sit for, practical study-time considerations usually restrict the student to taking from 3 to 5 subjects.
A common mix might be Maths and three different sciences, another might be Economics, Accounting, Business Studies and Applied Information Computing and Technology. It is up to the student to select the subjects he or she wishes to take.
Students should consider A Level as a preferred pre-University qualification if they wish to study a particular group of subjects in more depth, to the exclusion of others. This might be because a student has developed deep interest in particular subjects, or perhaps is interested in a career where deeper knowledge of certain subjects is an advantage (such as medicine).
As students move from secondary to tertiary qualification, they will tend to specialise more and more in those subjects which may be the basis for a career. Selection of A Level as the qualification system, allows students to focus on a specific group of subjects before going to University.

CBWho 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).

CBWhat 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.

CBWhat 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.

CBWhy 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.

So let’s assume that the choice is for A level – then why Cempaka? We can show excellent results in the recent past. Nearly 90% of all examinations sat by our students over the last few years, have resulted in a A Grade, and nearly half of those have been A*. As a background, three As will probably get a student a conditional offer in 95% of universities around the world, and 4 As including a couple of A*s will encourage an offer at 98% of Universities. We currently have ex students at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities  in the UK, and a number of other students have been offered places at prestigious institutions such as Imperial College London and University College London. Students from the A Level program have also recently enrolled at universities in USA and Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong and Germany.
So we have a good track record. All students are targeted at 4 As, maybe 4 or 5 A*s. Our classes are small, and students have the opportunity for regular individual attention in classes. We have been selective with our teaching appointments, and have a skilled group of teachers.
Finally the Cempaka environment and its mantra “nothing is impossible” cannot help but encourage students to set high goals for themselves.
For more information on A Levels at Cempaka International School Cheras, please email Dr. Barry J. Hoole at schedule a visit, you may email: Ms. Lee (; Ms. Wong ( or you may call them at 03-9076-8400 extensions 14 (Ms. Lee); 23 (Ms. Wong).

5 thoughts on “Choosing A Levels at Cempaka International School Cheras

  1. Dear Dr Barry,
    This is probably off-topic from your article above, but could you please explain the difference between whats offered in Damansara Cempaka, and Cempaka Cheras. Are you offering completely different syllabus ? Or is it just logistics?


    1. Dear Taryn,

      Thank you for your question.

      On behalf of Dr. Barry, I will answer your question. Cempaka International School Damansara Heights Campus offers IGCSE and IBDP, while on the other hand, Cempaka International School Cheras/Cempaka Cheras offers two streams: Cempaka Cheras offers the Malaysian National Curriculum while Cempaka International School Cheras offers IGCSE and A Levels. So in a nutshell, they offer completely different syllabus.

      Thank you.

      Kind regards,

      Ryan Buaron,
      Special Projects Officer-Community Manager/Cempaka Schools Blog

  2. Choosing your A-Level subjects can be difficult, as many colleges in Malaysia offer a variety of subjects and combinations. Some subjects open doors to more degrees and professions than others, so it is important that you choose the right ones.

    1. That is correct and this is why the choice of institution with an established reputation and academic track record to match is very important. Guidance is another key factor. As educators, we aim to provide the best pathways of growth for our students.

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