How many subjects need to be taken for IGCSE exams to get a university exemption?
We would advise that students take 6 International GCSEs, with 5 leading on to AS-Level. The below refers to the requirements to work towards achieving complete exemption from USAf. It does not include the AS-Level requirements that follow-on from these International GCSE requirements.
Please see our online calculator which will help you to choose subjects correctly, should you wish to gain exemption for entry into South African public universities.
The pre-requisites are made up of 4 rules, all 4 rules need to be met. A minimum of a Grade C in all the International GCSE subjects is required. The subjects listed, are the subjects that you have online learning content for.
Rule 1: a minimum of 1 subject from the First Language group
Rule 2: a minimum of 1 subject from the Foreign Language group (also refer to Note 2)
Rule 3: a minimum of 1 subject from the Sciences group
Rule 4: the remaining 3 subjects can come from any of the Sciences, Humanities and Vocational groups.
Note 1: English Literature is a recognised subject, however, does not count towards the exemption requirements
Note 2: Afrikaans as a Second Language could be counted in the Foreign Language Group.
See Full Curriculum
English First Language
French as a Foreign Language
German as a Foreign Language
Spanish as a Foreign Language
*Afrikaans as a second language
* Afrikaans can be taken as a second language for exams, but you need to study from a text book for is as we do not support it on our program)
We recommend : Afrikaans Tweede Taal but Ronel Gouws and Marianne Peacock
Biology # Biology Practical exams are optional
Physics # Email us for more info on Physics practical exams which are optional
Combined Science *
Co-ordinated Science *
* The key difference between the Combined and Co-ordinated Science is that the Combined course is a single award – meaning you get one IGCSE from studying it (like you would one subject) – and the Co-ordinated course is a double award (you receive two IGCSEs – each with the same grade although important to note USAf does not recognise it as two). Within each course you study Chemistry, Biology and Physics like you would as if you studied them as separate subjects but to differing extents in terms of the amount of content covered. In each course you will gain an understanding of the basic principles of each subject, developing an understanding of the scientific process and concepts needed for further study. You cannot take either of these subjects alongside any of the individual IGCSE science subjects or alongside the other (e.g. you can’t take combined and co-ordinated sciences together).
** Maths is not a requirement. Group 3 includes the subjects Biology, Chemistry Combined Science, Coordinated Science, Maths, Physics and Physical Science. A student can choose any of these to meet the exemption requirements. Please email us for more info on Maths Core or Maths extended or international Maths.
The student should just consider that most Universities have Maths as an admission requirement.
# There is an alternative to practical papers that students can select to do in place of the practical exam.
Computer Science # Email us for more info on practical exams
# Computer Science is more about how computers work, and about programming. ICT is more about people in business, and tailoring commercially-available applications to their needs.
Matric Certificate without exemption
What if I do not wish to get a university exemption and just wish to evaluate my IGCSE as a Matric equivalent with SAQA? ( Please contact us for info on this option.)
What is the official Syllabus for each exam subject?
Please see this link to choose an exam to write and the drop down menu will tell you what is included in the syllabus for each subject: ( A- G grading exams are recommended)
Cambridge now has two different gradings. Students can either choose to do the A-G grading or the new grading of 9-1. When selecting which grading syllabus to choose, a student must choose the same grading for all subjects. Traditionally students do the A-G. The syllabus content is exactly the same, just different gradings.
Where do you book for the international GCSE exams?
Students need to book in advance for the exam sessions.
Exams will be booked independently by parents or tutors at one of the many exam centres
available- these can be found on this link:
or you can write exams at the British Council.
Please contact https://www.tutorsandexams.co.za/ for any booking queries.
How much do the IGCSE exams cost?
Cost of each exam is from R1800 depending on the centre you choose. We suggest you enquire at the exam centre you will be writing at. Exams are paid per subject and not per paper. Sometimes a courier fee will apply.
Here is a list of prices for exams hosted at the British Council.
How many papers do we choose for each subject?
To see how many exam papers are to be written for each subject please go to this link and choose your subject.
At the bottom of the page in the subject you have chosen, you will see details of how many exam papers to be written for both Core and Extended as per the screen shot.
What is the Pass Mark ?
For Cambridge Passing grades for Cambridge IGCSE are A*–G, with A* being the highest. U is Ungraded. It does not specify a pass or a fail.
A minimum of five subjects passes at ordinary level (Grades A-G), including English Language and/or mother tongue, warrants an evaluation of Grade Eleven.’
However, in terms of students who would want to go onto applying for complete exemption from USAf, they will need a minimum of a Grade C at IGCSE level.
What if I fail an IGCSE subject:
Exam sittings in the same calendar year are counted as one sitting, so if a student fails in November and then rewrites the next year, it would be a problem in terms of exam sittings.
A student will submit 4 subjects at AS Level PLUS 1 subject at IGCSE for exemption, so only these subjects that a student will be submitting will need to be within the two sitting rule. So that does give a student some breathing room if a few IGCSE subjects are failed or not done within the year.
Two Sitting Rule
The two sitting rule applies to the subjects that you will be submitting for exemption, not all IGCSEs.
A student will submit 4 subjects at AS Level PLUS 1 subject at IGCSE for exemption, so only these subjects that a student will be submitting will need to be within the two sitting rule. ( English should be taken at AS level and the second language can be taken at IGCSE level)
For the two sitting rule for complete exemption from USAf, exams written in the same year are counted as one sitting. The two sittings would need to cover any subject submitted for exemption, so it would incorporate both IGCSE and AS-Level. Exams are available in May/June and October/November. Please see the Universities attachment under Two Sitting Rules for different examples of how the two sitting rule works and when to complete the AS levlels.
How does a student get an exemption to university?
Please see attachment but a student will submit 4 subjects at AS Level PLUS 1 subject at IGCSE for exemption, so only these subjects that a student will be submitting will need to be within the two sitting rule.
Chemistry/Biology Practical Exams
If you look at page 7 of the Biology syllabus (and attached) it is up to the student to choose between paper 5 (practical) or paper 6 (alternative to practical)( ditto for Chemistry).
For those wanting to do practical exams you can buy science kits on this link.
What if I need a tutor for certain subjects?
Please contact us for a list of independent IGCSE tutors you can negotiate with if you require extra lessons in certain topics or subjects.
Do I need Text books to do the IGCSE exams?
A blended approach of using text books and the video content is recommended for students
studying for the IGCSE exams. Please contact us for a list of text book sources you can choose from.
Text books and Past Papers ( Digital):
Cambricollege has Free Past papers and digital textbooks for sale on our online content platform called Snapplify. Please click here to get an invitation to access Snapplify. The platform also hosts a wonderful free digital library and other free resources for our students to use.
You can also get past papers on the Cambridge site.
Once you click on the link, you select a subject and once in that subject, on the left-hand side you select ‘Past papers, examiner reports and specimen papers.
Text books ( Hard Copy)
Should a student wish to buy hard copy books, we would recommend that they consider the textbooks that are available on the following pages:
Cambridge has recommended Macmillan Education for text books.
Other sources are:
Cambridge University Press
Alternatively you can buy text books from recommendations on the Cambridge Facebook pages or even find second hand books via Facebook.
For Afrikaans some have parents have recommended:
Ronel Gouws en Marianne Peacock Afrikaans Tweede Taal- Cambridge IGCSE.
Formula sheets for Biology, Chemistry and Physics are attached or can be downloaded from Extra Resources on the program.
Please see this video on how to choose exam codes for IGCSE exams.
See example below
The 0610 and 0970 are the subject codes.
0610 is the A-G grading subject code ( preferable in South Africa)
0970 is the newer 9-1 grading subject code
It is important that the choose the same grading codes for all subjects. The content is exactly the same. CY and GY are exam options. Select extended, not core. Our program covers the extended syllabus.
Is there a Year Mark for IGCSE?
No, the final exam counts 100%. The student can see the breakdown contribution per exam to the overall mark in the syllabus, which can be downloaded from this link:
Learning Difficulties and Dyslexia
To see info on how students can get extra time for exams go to this link:
What are AS Levels
AS-Level is the level, which is one level above IGCSE, which is similar to Matric. We now have a section called Getting Ready for A levels which would assist students complete with IGCSE levels.
What are A Levels
A-Levels are made up of two levels/years. AS-level is the first year and is considered equivalent to Gr 12 in SA. Most students in South Africa just complete their AS-Level. A-Level is then the second year and equivalent to a 13th year or first-year University. It is rare that students go on to A-Level unless they are doing post-Matric.
So the pods provided for A Levels would provide a great help for students wanting to do their AS-Levels.
If you do not wish to do IGCSE exams you can simply just move onto the GED program and exams to complete your Grade 12 equivalent.