O-Level exams are the international UK equivalents of our local Matric board exams. They are held by both the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) and the Pearson Edexcel boards and administered in Pakistan through the British Council. The O-Level exams are widely preferred by almost all universities abroad and many universities in Pakistan for admission to undergraduate, liberal arts, or vocational programs (provided that the applicant has completed A-Level as well). Study for the O-Level exams usually spans through grades 9 to 11.
Click on any of the tabs below to know more about O-Level and the courses we provide for O-Level studies.
Comparison between Matric and O-Level
Just like Matric, O-Level education usually spans three years in most popular schools. Some schools teach them in two years as well, but they are the exception to the norm. Whereas both are supposed to be grades 9 to 11, O-Level education is preferred far more because of its rigorous education and concept-based learning. In fact, O-Level education is even preferred to American Highschool. Below is a table which outlines all the major differences between Matric and O-Level.
|Agency that conducts the exams||BISE||British Council|
|No. of times regular exams conducted||1||2|
|Supplementary exam||September||No supplementary exam|
|Examination Month||March – May||May – June;
Oct. – Nov.
|No. of subjects||5 Compulsory, 3 Elective||Locally: 5 Compulsory, 3 or more elective.
Internationally: Any 5 are required
|Marking||Out of 1050 or 1100||Grades from A* to E|
|Failing a subject||Fail||U-Grade (Ungraded)|
|Passing all subjects in one attempt||Required||Not Required|
|Exam Fee||All subjects||Per Subject|
|If a student fails one subject||Will appear in all subjects again||Will appear only in the subject he/she failed|
|No. of certificates||1||1 or more|
Subjects and exams?
There are over 40 subjects provided by the CIE—a list can be found here. Note that no school or academy teaches every subject.
Every student must give both compulsory and optional subjects, the details of which have been provided below.
- English Language
- Urdu – First Language or Urdu – Second Language
- Pakistan Studies
These include all subjects apart from the compulsory subjects. Students may study and give exams for as many optional subjects as they want, but it is advisable that students at least pick two.
When are the exams held?
The exams are held twice a year.
- Summer session: Held throughout May and June. Most schools and some private candidates give official CIE exams in this session.
- Winter session: Held throughout October and November. Some schools and most private candidates give official CIE exams in this session. Most students retake their exams in this session.
CIE IGCSE and Edexcel IGCSE?
CIE O-Level and CIE IGCSE qualifications are equivalent grade for grade. Whereas O-Level is more popular among students in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, and a few other countries, the IGCSE’s are more popular in European countries. Pakistani students may appear for the IGCSE’s if they wish. Most syllabi for IGCSE subjects are 95% similar to the syllabi for O-Level subjects. In fact, the IGCSE and O-Level economics syllabi and papers are exactly the same. The papers are even held on the same date! For other subjects, there might be minor differences in paper patterns, but it is something teachers at Green Hall Academy are usually willing to accommodate.
The table below highlights the differences between O-Level and IGCSE exams.
|Candidates are only awarded grades from A* to E, where A* is the highest achievable grade. U defines ungraded means failure in the subject.||Candidates are awarded a range of grades from A* (highest grade) to G (lowest). There is a core (C to G) and extended (A* to C) curriculum available in some subjects.|
|Students have to give exams for the entire syllabus of a subject together.||For some of the subjects, the syllabus is divided into core and extended components. Students may sit for the core components to be awarded an overall grade between C to G. If students wish to obtain a grade between A* to C, they must sit for both the core and extended components, either together or separately.|
|Not many coursework options.||Offers more coursework options than O-Level subjects.|
|Language exams mostly only have reading and writing components.||Language exams also have listening components.|
|More restricted practical test options for science students.||More practical test options for science students.|
Edexcel International GCSE
CIE O-Level and Edexcel International GCSE qualifications are equivalent grade for grade. These subjects are taught the same way as O-Level subjects are. Most of the syllabus is even the same. However, the exam pattern is entirely different from that of O-Level exams. In Lahore, only the International School of Choueifat adheres to the Edexcel board. Edexcel students are welcome to study at Green Hall Academy and seek any sort of guidance from the teachers, who are usually willing to help Edexcel students cover their own material.
Note: Edexcel International GCSE’s are more popular than CIE IGCSE’s. More schools cater to the former than they do to the latter.
List of subjects
- Agriculture (5038)
- Arabic (3180)
- Art (until November 2014) (6010)
- Art and Design (BD, MV, MU, PK) (6090)
- Bangladesh Studies (7094)
- Bengali (3204)
- Biology (5090)
- Business Studies (7115)
- CDT: Design and Communication (7048)
- Chemistry (5070)
- Commerce (7100)
- Commercial Studies (7101)
- Computer Science (2210)
- Computer Studies (7010)
- Design and Technology (6043)
- Economics (2281)
- English Language (1123)
- Environmental Management (5014)
- Fashion and Fabrics (6050)
- Fashion and Textiles (6130)
- Food and Nutrition (6065)
- French (3015)
- Geography (2217)
- German (3025)
- Hindi (3195)
- Hinduism (2055)
- History (Modern World Affairs) (2134)
- History: World Affairs, 1917-1991 (2158)
- Human and Social Biology (5096)
- Islamic Religion and Culture (2056)
- Islamiyat (2058)
- Literature in English (2010)
- Marine Science (5180)
- Mathematics – Additional (4037)
- Mathematics D (Calculator Version) (4024)
- Metalwork (6040)
- Nepali (3202)
- Pakistan Studies (2059)
- Physics (5054)
- Principles of Accounts (7110)
- Religious Studies (2048)
- Science – Combined (5129)
- Setswana (3158)
- Sinhala (3205)
- Sociology (2251)
- Spanish (3035)
- Statistics (4040)
- Swahili (3162)
- Tamil (3206)
- Travel and Tourism (7096)
- Urdu – First Language (3247)
- Urdu – Second Language (3248)
- Woodwork (6030)