Cambridge Pathway

Cambridge International Examinations are administered by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES). Although this organisation is based in the United Kingdom, its courses are designed for the international community.

The structure of the CIE awards is the same as the UK awards with two main levels:

IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) is usually taken at Year 11/ Form 5 and A Level is taken in the next two years.  More recently, AS Level was introduced as half an A Level award. This means that you will usually sit AS examinations in Year 12/ Form 6 and sit a combination of AS and A2 examinations in Year 13/ Form 7 to complete an A Level qualification. (AS plus A2 is the same as an A Level.)

CIE are sat by about two million students in nearly one hundred and seventy countries.

What Levels Of Qualifications Are There?

Cambridge awards exist at three levels – IGCSE & AS Level and A Level.

IGCSE stands for International General Certificate of Secondary Education. Its subjects are mostly studied at Form 5/ Year 11 but may also be studied in later years.

A Levels (A stands for Advanced) are two-year courses to prepare you for entry to university or other tertiary study. If you leave school after one year, you should have a good base and a useful qualification for employment or further study at an appropriate level. A Level courses are broken down into AS (Advanced Subsidiary) and A2 courses – each of these is HALF of a full AL (A Level) course. This way you sit exams at the end of each half of the course, instead of taking them all at the end.

What Results Can I Achieve?


At IGCSE, you can gain A*, A, B, C, D or E Grades.

At  AS Level, the grades awarded are A, B, C, D or E. Marks below these are ungraded. (An E Grade equates approximately to marks of 40-49%.)

At A Level which is the combination of 50% As and 50% A2 results, the grades awarded are A*, A, B, C, D or E. Marks below these are ungraded.

When Do I Sit Examinations?

Examinations are held in October-November. Mid year and end of year practice examinations will form part of the Westlake Boys’ High School assessment system, as they do now. The CIE exam timetable will be posted on this website as soon as it is available.

Will My Qualifications Be Accepted?

Entrance to university by CIE qualifications has been approved by the NZ Vice-Chancellors’ Committee (NZVCC). The standard can be achieved by accumulating UCAS points in AS and/or A2 level subjects over a period of one or two years (Form 6 and Form 7). CIE qualifications have also been accepted for entry to all restrictive entry courses at universities in New Zealand (e.g. Engineering, Law, Medicine).

University Entrance

CIE students must achieve:

120 UCAS points, including a minimum grade of ‘D’ in each of at least two subjects equivalent to those in the list approved for NCEA at AS or A Level; plus a minimum grade of ‘D’ in one further subject either from the approved list or related to a domain on the National Qualifications Framework at AS or A Level, plus a ‘D’ pass or higher in IGCSE Mathematics and an ‘E’ pass or higher in AS Level English

UCAS points are calculated as follows:

AS Level A Level [AS plus A2]
A* 140
A 60 A 120
B 50 B 100
C 40 C 80
D 30 D 60
E 20 E 40

Each student is then given a rank score based on up to six subject units [an AS is one subject unit; a full A level is two subject units]. The maximum score is therefore 420 points, based on an A in three full A Levels or an A in two full A Levels and two AS Levels. A boy getting a B, a C and a D at A Level would receive a rank score of 240 points.

Specific Courses

Some University of Auckland courses remain ‘open entry’ once students have achieved U.E. More competitive courses, however, now have scores attached that students must achieve. NCEA and CIE have their own requirements: the rank scores are not treated the same, although they are clearly considered to be close together.

Courses often require subjects to come from either ‘Table A’ or ‘Table B’.

Table A Table B
Classical Studies Accounting
English Biology
Geography Chemistry
History Economics
History of Art Business Studies [CIE only]
Te Reo Maori orTe Reo Rangatira [NCEA only] Mathematics, incl. Calculus and Stats

Some popular courses which demand more than U.E.:

Course NCEA rank score required CIE rank score required
Bachelor of Commerce [BCom]’ 180, with a min. of 16 credits from three approved subjects 190, with three approved subjects
Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) [BE (Hons)] 250, with a min. of 17 external Level 3 credits Calculus and 16 external Level 3 credits in Physics 310 with Mathematics and Physics at full A Level
Bachelor of Health Sciences [BHSc] 250, with a min. of 18 credits in one subject from Table A and a min. of 18 credits from one subject in Table B 300, with at least one subject from each table
Bachelor of Pharmacy [BPharm] 220, with 18 credits from both Biology and Chemistry, subject to interview 260, with Biology and Chemistry. Subject to interview
Bachelor of Science [BSc]
-Biomedical Science 280 310
-Sport and Exercise Science 180, including 14 credits in Biological Sciences at Level 3 190, including Biology
-All other specialisations 165 170
Bachelor of Technology [BTech] 220 260