Approaches to Learning

From Cambridge IGCSE™ to Cambridge International AS & A Level IT is a big step

David Waller

Congratulations! You’ve guided your students through Cambridge IGCSE™ and now they’re about to embark on their Cambridge International AS & A Level IT course. The jump from Cambridge IGCSE to Cambridge International AS & A Level is big, not only in the amount of work students have to get through and its difficulty, but in the way students need to work more independently.

The difference between Upper Secondary and Advanced is greater than the difference between Cambridge International AS & A Level and a degree course. So, be prepared to take on the challenges of guiding students through this transition.

Encourage students to be organised and mentally prepared. In addition to theory, Cambridge International AS & A Level IT has a strong focus on practical skills that need to be developed and honed across the two year course. Sharing a schedule of deadlines at the beginning of the academic year can help students prepare for what’s to come. It’s also a great visual way to remind them to take good notes to revise from.

Hit the ground running. Don’t think that you can ease students into the course. Start how you mean to go on. Work your way through the series and leave plenty of time for questions and revision.

Give students a copy of the examination specification and ask them to study it. The Cambridge International AS & A Level IT series covers everything your students need to support them through the course but studying the specification can help students connect the dots. Pairing up chapters with examination topics helps students see the importance of their learning and encourages them to go the extra step with some online research.

Encourage students to search independently for answers to questions they may have, this is an IT course after all! Encourage students to go through the coursebook and check online before coming to you for help. This gives them an opportunity to practice their research skills, encourages learner autonomy and frees up some of your time

Make study accessible. Sometime you’ll need to set lengthy homework tasks or projects, but try to break learning into smaller pieces where possible. Asking students to complete a series of smaller tasks encourages them to practice their skills daily. The variety of tasks in the Cambridge International AS & A Level IT Practical Skills Workbook is a great way to get students studying during their free periods, not just at home.