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International Advanced Levels (IAL) Examination

[Pearson Edexcel,

Cambridge International Examinations (CIE),

Oxford International AQA (Oxford AQA)]

About CIE and IAL

International Advanced Levels assess all students in sixth form (Year 12 & 13) with a mixture of examination styles; it is both deep and broad in syllabus. Students normally take three or four A-Levels in Year 12 subject to their interest, aptitude and availability. The exam grades are marked on a scale from A* through to E.

Edexcel International A-levels have a modular examination system; the content of the course is divided into separate modules or units, and exams for each unit can be taken in different examination windows. If you want to improve the grade, you can simply retake individual units.


CIE are also International Advanced Levels, but have a linear examination system, which means that all the examinations must be taken at the end of the course. If you want to resit the exam and improve the grades, you must retake all the exams at a later date (and in some specific instances may be able to resit individual components).


Note that there are 3 examination windows (October, January and June) for Edexcel IALs in each year while there are only 2 (October and June) for CIE. Students in Hong Kong or China normally choose either CIE or Edexcel IALs or both, but we may - in the future - offer courses for overseas students who take Oxford International AQA (we offer remote learning options though).

Comparison of modular and liner models

Comparison of modular and linear models:


  • Content is divided into a number of self-contained units.

  • Content units have well-defined and precise boundaries.

  • Content is divided into a number of bite-sized chunks with no links between different topics.

  • In many subjects, each unit focuses on a limited range of concepts and skills


  • Content is viewed as a whole – there is a more holistic approach.

  • Content will usually be divided into different sections but these will not be totally self-contained.

  • Links between content are emphasised and encouraged.

  • The key concepts and skills usually underpin the entire course.

What can we do?

Leap Up Education is experienced in helping students master exam techniques and content. We support all the major GCE exam boards and offer intensive or revision classes during the Christmas, Chinese New Year, Easter and Summer holidays each year. Our Advanced-level tutors, if necessary, can take an inquiry-based approach with their students - they can spot students’ weaknesses and strengths, review the topics that the students would like to know, deliver necessary exam techniques and mentor their students to achieve greater success in the examination.

What can we do

Our general tips

Given that the syllabus is too broad, time management will present a challenge to the students. We need to divide and conquer the subjects and papers strategically.

For Edexcel, we will generally advise you to take the easiest modules in October and the intermediate modules in January. The most difficult modules are held in the June window only. However, the choices will still depend on the students themselves.

Our general tips
Course options

Course options

We have a team of experienced tutors. Final year students, private candidates or fast learners are advised to take One-year Fast Track whereas early birds are recommended to take Two-year Regular Track because it allows you to slowly enjoy the subjects and understand more deeply about the principles and applications behind the physics questions.

One-year Fast Track

We promote the one-year fast track to those who are weak at Chinese and Liberal Studies. We have developed sets of notes that help students understand what is needed for the syllabus. Several students have taken this course and have already had a very satisfactory result.

Two-year Regular Track

In our regular track, we will provide comprehensive materials such as mark scheme analysis, past papers, organised notes from various sources. We also share the exam analysis in our class to help students understand what is needed.

CIE/Edexcel IAL Mathematics and Further Mathematics

We can offer a set of teaching flows and specific plans for different students. We are confident to help students get at least a Grade B, both in IAL Mathematics and Further Mathematics, no matter what exam boards students are going for.

Further Mathematics is tedious and conceptually demanding to many students. It often requires more time and practice to master the skills necessary before you sit the exam.

CIE/ Edexcel IAL Mathematics
CIE/ Edexcel IAL Physics

CIE/Edexcel IAL Physics

A lot of students are taking CIE and Edexcel IAL examinations. We list some of the differences between two exam boards:


  • More challenging MCQs

  • It requires more quantitative treatments.

  • Fluids at rest requires more computations and concepts

  • More questions for uncertainty analysis in LQ

  • It requires a practical exam


  • More essay-based

  • Less calculation

  • Some short questions with real-life examples

  • Practical exams are theory-based

Should you take Edexcel or CIE?

If you are good at mathematics, CIE will definitely be a better choice for you; else, Edexcel will be an easier choice for those who start late and do not have a solid foundation on mathematics.

Should you take Edexcel or CIE

Shining Results

Shining Results



Grade 10 student in Diocesan Boys' School

He achieved nearly perfect scores in physics, mathematics and further mathematics in Edexcel IAL. Besides that, he obtained a double S (the highest grade) in Sixth Term Exam Paper (STEP) and a Third Honour in Hong Kong Physics Olympiad (HKPhO) at the age of 14 (which is much younger than the normal candidates).

He has been attending Davis’s mathematics and physics classes for almost 2 years. During the first nine months here, he demonstrated his fast learning pace and completed courses on HKPhO, DSE physics (except for Radioactivity and Nuclear Physics) and DSE mathematics, IAL mathematics, IAL further mathematics and STEP I, II and III. Since then, he has been here learning IAL Physics, discrete mathematics, linear and abstract algebra, multivariable calculus, elementary analysis, ordinary and partial differential equations, Lagrangian mechanics, quantum mechanics and electromagnetism, etc.


Private IAL Candidate

He went from Grade D in AS Physics to Grade B in IAL Physics in three months. Then, he took another six months to achieve Grade A, with UMS 481/600 in IAL Physics.

After failing the HKDSE exam, he took an unusual path and attempted the IAL exam in 2016-2017. Since he did not study physics during high school and failed his first attempt on the 2017 January IAL exam, he had been looking for a physics tutor. He eventually found Davis as his physics tutor.

Davis has been a passionate physics teacher who wants students to do well on everything. With his constant encouragement and guidance for the nine months, his grade went from Grade D in AS to Grade A in the entire subject (with a straight A in AS). Cai said Davis has his plans to teach physics and was always unique to him compared to teachers outside because he employs various methods to explain abstract physical concepts and make sure students can truly understand and visualise the physical pictures.

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