Understanding the Distinctions: IGCSE and O Level Qualifications

Thousands of learners use Cambridge International AS & A Level every year to gain places at leading universities worldwide. Students develop a deep understanding of subjects, as well as independent learning and constructive thinking skills – abilities which universities value highly.

Cambridge International A Level is typically a two-year course, and Cambridge International AS Level is typically one year. You have the freedom to offer Cambridge International AS Levels as qualifications in their own right or as part of a progression to Cambridge International A Level. Your learners can study for Cambridge International AS Level alongside Cambridge International A Level subjects to increase breadth in the curriculum and to build further knowledge and understanding.


Cambridge International AS & A Level curricula are flexible. It reflects the latest developments in education with the consultation of some of the world’s leading higher education institutes – including the University of Cambridge, Harvard and MIT.

  • in-depth subject content
  • independent thinking
  • applying knowledge and understanding to new as well as familiar situations
  • handling and evaluating different types of information source
  • thinking logically and presenting ordered and coherent arguments
  • making judgments, recommendations and decisions
  • presenting reasoned explanations, understanding implications and communicating them clearly and logically
  • working and communicating in English.

University Recognition and Research

Learners use Cambridge International AS & A Levels to gain places at leading universities worldwide including in the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Singapore, Egypt, Jordan, South Africa, the Netherlands, Germany and Spain.

Cambridge International AS & A Levels are accepted for entrance to all UK universities. In places such as the United States and Canada, good grades in carefully chosen Cambridge International A Level subjects can result in up to one year of university course credit.

Over 500 US universities accept Cambridge International AS & A Levels, including all Ivy League and Ivy Plus universities. These universities include Brown, Harvard, MIT, Stanford and Yale.

Research carried out1 looked at whether Cambridge International AS & A Levels prepared learners for continued studies in colleges and universities in the US, as well as Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate programmes. The findings suggest that Cambridge qualifications compare favourably with other programmes.