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What is HIGCSE?
HIGCSE evolved out of Cambridge's involvement with Namibia. The university entrance level in South Africa is age 17+. IGCSE is regarded as being one year’s study short of this level, so we were asked to expand IGCSE syllabuses in such a way that they would meet the South African entrance requirements, thus enabling Namibians with these qualifications to study in South Africa. The definition of HIGCSE standards is, then, what an IGCSE student would be able to achieve after an additional year’s study. The correlation of IGCSE grades against HIGCSE is as follows:
HIGCSE grade 1 = What a student with IGCSE grade A in that subject could be expected to achieve after a further year’s study
HIGCSE grade 2 = IGCSE grade B + one year
HIGCSE grade 3 = IGCSE grade C + one year
HIGCSE grade 4 = IGCSE grade E + one year
This equivalence was accepted by the relevant authorities in South Africa, and it was possible for students with a combination of IGCSE/HIGCSE grades to satisfy South African university entrance requirements.
HIGCSE does not really have a relationship with A Level because it is an extension of IGCSE – it is the conclusion of schooling for countries with what we would regard as a 17+ university entrance level. However, insofar as it represents a further year’s study after IGCSE, it can be seen as approximately half way between our 16+ and 18+ qualifications – roughly the same standard as AS.
HIGCSE has now been withdrawn. The last examination session was in 2010.