The benefits of studying A levels in South Africa

I’m currently in Grade 10 studying the IEB curriculum at a school that offers A levels from Grade 11 onwards, and need assistance making the decision regarding wether taking A levels from Grade 11 is a good way forward. My year average in IEB is over 85%, I’d like to attend a local university for my undergraduate degree and a university overseas for my post graduate degree.

I understand the Cambridge system is an internationally recognised syllabus and beneficial when planning to study overseas, however, I’m concerned that in taking A levels, my marks will drop and will ultimately hinder smooth entry into a South African university for an undergraduate degree, and will further limit my options for a university in the US/UK for a post graduate degree?

I’m also curious as to wether exceptionally high marks in IEB in Grade 12 (i.e. 7 A symbols+) will be an advantage over good, however lower marks in the Cambridge system (which is academically more challenging) when applying to universities?

In short, I’m looking for an opinion on wether, in my situation, taking A levels is a good idea?

2 Replies


If you think there is any chance–even extremely slight–that you would consider going abroad (to either the US/UK) for an undergraduate degree, choosing the A-levels is the better option.

If you are 100% confirmed that you will stay in SA for your undergraduate degree and consider a postgraduate degree abroad, then your high school curriculum will have no bearing (IEB vs. A-levels) on your postgraduate candidacy. At that point, in the future, your postgraduate candidacy will be evaluated based on primarily your undergraduate grades and experiences.


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