Cambridge: A Rigorous Program

Stephanie Lazo

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Several students at BDHS choose to take Cambridge courses (AICE or IGCSE) or join the Cambridge Programme. While taking Cambridge classes can be beneficial, many wonder if suffering the stress from the program is worth it. 

The Prince William County Public School Website describes the Cambridge Programme as, An innovative international pre-university curriculum and examination system that can be tailored to students’ interests and abilities. Courses are based on an investigative approach to learning with students using initiative and creativity in solving problems.” 

“An innovative international pre-university curriculum and examination system that can be tailored to students’ interests and abilities. Courses are based on an investigative approach to learning with students using initiative and creativity in solving problems.” ”

— Prince William County Public Schools

By earning A’s in Cambridge level classes, students can earn college credits. According to The Center for International Education (CIE), “students go into college with up to 45 hours of college credit.” 

Universities search for students who have an Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE)This is because colleges try to acquire students that take academically challenging classes. Those who take difficult courses are thought to do better in college because they have adapted to rigorous work ethic and stressful situations. 

Students who join the program have flexibility. They have the ability to choose whichever Cambridge courses they are interested in as well as the number of courses they would like to take. However, students must have a total of 7 credits to receive an AICE diploma. 

For some studentsobtaining seven credits is difficult. Ethan Hebert, sophomore, transferred to BDHS this year. Hebert says, “since I just came to BrentsvilleI will only have three years to get all of my credits which is a little stressful. Most people have four years to do it.” 

Because of how difficult Cambridge classes are, it’s common for students to get grades below A’s. In many cases, this results in students’ grade point average (GPA) plummeting. Regan Stachelski, sophomore, explains, “I take Cambridge classes because colleges think they are betterbut sometimes it causes my GPA to drop.” 

 Stachelski says, “At first I was scared to take Cambridge classes because I didn’t want to take the AICE exams.”  Students are hesitant to take the advanced classes due to the IGCSE and AICE exams. AICE exams are often compared to finals. Students are tested on what they have learned throughout the school year. To earn the AICE diploma, students must pass with a score of 360 points. 

Cambridge credits are not accepted by every college. Many students worry about being accepted into a college that will validate their credits. Hebert says, “It (Cambridge) is a unique program that is highly recognized in several colleges. Most of them are out of state though which makes it harder for a lot of people.” 

Adams State University, Abeline Christian University, Bennington College, Berkeley College, Boston University, California State University, Florida State University are a few of the recognized colleges that take students with Cambridge credits.