St John's College

The Sixth Form administrators receive many enquiries about the feasibility and advisability of taking this course of action. If you are considering such a change, it is important to bear the following pros and cons in mind before making a final decision.


If you know that your son or daughter will definitely be aiming for an overseas university, moving to the CIE examination system will streamline the process. 

A Levels are recognised worldwide as the premier university entrance qualification and your son/daughter would exit the South African school system with this international qualification in the same time as it would take to complete a matriculation qualification.

International acceptance of CIE A Levels

Australia: A Levels are seen as a superior qualification and will give credits in some faculties.

Canada and United States: A Levels are regarded as a distinct advantage in addition to SATs and an A or B symbol at A Level is automatically given first-year credit at many universities.

United Kingdom: CIE A Levels are very highly regarded and will ensure that pupils enter university on a more than equal footing with UK students.


If a student wishes to keep the South African university option open, careful consideration of subject choices is necessary to ensure matriculation exemption and adequate points. A Levels are accepted as an entrance qualification, but the application process may be more complicated than with a South African matric.

The transition from Grade 10 to Lower VI is a challenging one in terms of academic standards and the levels of independence required. Some students miss the feeling of completion that finishing matriculation in their original school gives, with the possibility of prefect status and team sport representation.

General info

The A Levels can be completed equally successfully either as a two-year course or as a post-matriculation accelerated one-year course. In cases of uncertainty, the latter option is often preferable.  

Students gain the benefit of finishing their matriculation course, which effectively serves as an equivalent to IGCSE/AS level, and are a year older and hopefully more mature when they possibly travel overseas to university. Students may still attend South African universities based on their AS and A Level qualifications. 

If you would like to discuss the potential of both courses of action, please do not hesitate to contact us via email at [email protected] and we can arrange a full discussion.