Frequently asked questions

A Levels are an internationally recognized qualification for entry to higher education. The International AS & A Levels are the gold standard and recognised as a passport to success in education, university and employment. They are taken by students in over 160 countries.

Many international schools offer the IB (International Baccalauréat). However, here at Academia, we feel strongly that IB is not the most suitable programme for everyone. We have many years of experience in preparing students for success in the A Levels.

In the IB, the programme is fixed and students are required to study a range of subjects, including those which they may not enjoy. With our programme, students choose three to four subjects at the IGCSE level and an additional three A Level subjects, which they can study in depth. Thus they can focus on the subjects they like and enjoy and not be dragged down by having to continue to take subjects they do not wish to study.
A Levels are recognised all over the world. Universities will specify the grades and the subjects required for enrolment in their degree programmes. A Levels are so highly regarded that in the USA, good A Level grades will mean students receive credit and can directly enter their 2nd year of study. The depth of study and the autonomy that students have during their learning period, prepares them for university study.

The international General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is the world’s most popular international curriculum for secondary education. IGCSEs provide a broad, globally recognized, international secondary school leaving qualification (diploma). Students are able to pursue a variety of paths after their IGCSEs including continuation to an advanced stage as well as Cambridge International AS and A Levels and Cambridge Pre-U, and other progression routes. IGCSEs are regularly updated, extended and promote the development of subject knowledge and critical thinking skills using globally relevant content. Students with a good set IGCSE can further their studies in the UK and US.

Both IGCSE and A Levels lead to a internationally recognized formal qualification by means of examinations for each subject. Both curriculums place great emphasis on the development of critical and evaluative thought. The ability to synthesize, compare, analyse and criticse information is essential both in the classroom and is also assessed in exams. At our school cross-curricula project work is part of our curriculum. Application and experimentation are central to our science curriculum. Not having a schedule packed with obligatory competency based assessments and projects allows for a curriculum with room for authentic, timely development of the above-mentioned skills.

At both the ICCSE and A Levels, the individual subjects are completed by means of a final examination. During the lessons we encourage critical examination of the subject matter, as this competence is vital for success in the final exams: Our students learn to process, compare, analyse and evaluate information.

The beauty of our system is that we have the greatest number of options and choices open to students who are able to graduate with IGCSEs. There is no other international system with such options. IGCSEs are independent, official, world recognised, stand-alone, secondary leaving certificates which can open vocational paths and further education paths in Switzerland, (with an adequate level of German) and the UK. In the US the IGCSEs alone, will enable students to enter junior or community colleges. This makes our system the most flexible international system in the world.

Yes, A Levels are recognised at universities worldwide. Each university specifies the required grades and criteria for acceptance. Universities prefer students who come with A Levels because: “Our experience is that Cambridge Advanced qualifications such as Cambridge International AS & A Levels are consistently robust and reliable, and prepare students very well for higher education.”
Admissions Officer, University of Newcastle, UK
Yes, because A Levels are recognised worldwide. In Switzerland, specific subjects are required, including French or German, depending on the location. Therefore, careful planning is crucial to ensure that students make the right subject choices.
Recent data in the USA shows that:

  • Students with A Levels are more likely to be offered places at colleges (higher % than the national US average).
  • At the end of the first year, those students who have completed A Levels obtain a higher grade point average (GPA) than those who entered college with IB.
  • Students are less likely to drop out of college if they have taken A Levels or AP, rather than the IB.
  • Students who took A Levels are more likely to finish their degrees on time (compared to other examinations).
We welcome every kind of student. Our goal is to help develop academic curiosity in our students. We encourage students to question the status quo. We talk about the power of perception and bias. If students are strong at a subject they can move ahead more quickly in that subject than under normal circumstances. Our relaxed atmosphere should not be mistaken for an an ‘anything goes’ mentality. Our standards are high and we value excellence. Students are guaranteed a place at our school only if they respect our school values. Persistently disruptive students have no place at our school.

As an international school following an English-speaking curriculum, many of our teachers have QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) and are experienced UK teachers. We also have teachers from the US, Canada, Australia, France, Spain and Germany. A high proportion of our teachers hold a Master’s degree in education and we have several examiners on staff who are very familiar with the IGCSEs and A Levels. Aside from their experience and qualifications, one of the most important attributes we look for in our teachers is a sense of caring and commitment and willingness to reflect upon their teaching methods.

Yes, we have several members of staff who have experience with the UCAS and Common Application.

Academia Matura is part of the Academia Group, one of the largest education providers in Switzerland. Over 1,200 committed teachers and motivated staff work in over 20 locations to help our customers reach their personal educational goals and make the most of their potential. More information: www.academia-group.ch

«The best thing about this school is the very flexible timetable. The other positive aspect is, that I can decide to which subjects I want to focus.»