The Cambridge Curriculum Explained

Open Minds Campus offers the Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE) curriculum. This Cambridge Curriculum allows our students to approach their studies independently, teaching them how to learn and apply their knowledge. We strive to give the students a safe space to explore campus life and tools to study beyond school with aid from the Cambridge curriculum. 

The academic goals are made clear for every child using the syllabi provided on the Cambridge website. The child can take ownership of their studies, independent of the teacher but with guidance from a facilitator.

Open Minds Campus offers the Cambridge curriculum in the following ways:

  • Primary
  • Lower Secondary
  • Upper Secondary IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education)
  • Advanced International AS (Advanced Subsidiary) and A (Advanced) Levels

The Primary Phase consists of stages one to six; the Lower Secondary phase consists of stages seven to nine; the Upper Secondary IGCSE phase is equivalent to grades 10 and 11; the Advanced International phase is equivalent to grade 12.

Advanced Levels can be perceived as grade 13. This level is relevant and recommended to students looking to further their studies abroad.

Cambridge Exam Paths

The Cambridge curriculum allows students to use various paths to attain a South African matric certificate. The paths are detailed below; these indicate the subjects required at the IGCSE and AS levels to obtain a matric.

Students need to pass five subjects:

Most common subjects Path: 4 AS Level subjects and 1 IGCSE subject. English at the AS level is compulsory for this option.

Path 2: 2 A-level subjects and 3 IGCSE subjects.

Path 3: 3 A-level subjects and 1 IGCSE subject.

The most common subject path is illustrated below. While there are many second language options, Afrikaans remains the most common choice for South African students.

Subject Requirements

There are numerous subjects to choose from. Students are, however, encouraged to choose subjects compliant with university requirements that align with their personal goals.

1st subject: A first language is compulsory e.g. English

2nd subject: A second language is also compulsory e.g. Afrikaans

3rd subject: A third language, Maths or a Science subject

4th and 5th subjects: The two remaining subjects can be taken from any of the subject groups e.g. History, Geography, Accounting, Business etc.

Detailed subject choices are listed at:

Approved South African subjects are on page 4 of the pdf document on this link:

Minimum marks for Exemption requirements (Bachelor’s Matric Pass)

A Level subjects – E symbol (40%)

AS Level subjects – D symbol (50%)

IGCSE subjects – C symbol (60%)

“Two-sitting” Rule

The five subjects for Paths 1 and 2 above (or 4 subjects for Path 3) must be written in two calendar years. Mid-year and end-of–year exams are available. This means that exams can be written over four sittings in two calendar years.

Afrikaans can be written in October of the year before the two calendar years kick in, with its result combined with the results of the May/June exams of the first calendar year. This means a 5th exam sitting is allowed for Afrikaans.

Extending AS to A levels

A-Level exams are to be written within 13 months of the AS-level exams. This is after the two calendar year period. A student has a maximum of two attempts to convert an AS-level result towards an A-level result.

University acceptance 

South African Universities accept the Cambridge Curriculum. Faculties will also set their own entry requirements over and above the mentioned requirements. Students are encouraged to check the requirements of their respective faculties to avoid disappointment when applying.

Why choose the Cambridge Curriculum?

The main reason for using Cambridge is that it is flexible. One does not need prior school reports to write the Cambridge exams. Exams can also be written over several sittings. There is also no need for doing portfolios for year marks.

The Cambridge curriculum promotes independent learning and encourages students to take responsibility for their own learning. It does this in several ways:

  1. Emphasis on inquiry-based learning: The Cambridge curriculum encourages students to ask questions and seek answers rather than being told what to learn. This helps students develop critical thinking skills and encourages them to take an active role in their own learning.
  2. Flexibility: The Cambridge curriculum is flexible and adaptable, allowing teachers to tailor the learning experience to the needs and interests of their students. This helps students take ownership of their learning and makes it more meaningful to them.
  3. Encouragement of self-reflection: The Cambridge curriculum encourages students to reflect on their own learning and progress, which helps them identify areas where they need to improve and motivate themselves to work harder.
  4. Emphasis on practical application: The Cambridge curriculum emphasises the practical application of knowledge, encouraging students to use what they have learned in real-world situations. This helps students see the relevance and value of their learning and motivates them to take an active role in their own education.

Overall, the Cambridge curriculum fosters independent learning by encouraging students to take an active role in their education, think critically, and apply what they have learned in practical ways. This lines up with the philosophy of Open Minds Campus.