What is O Level?

O-Level is an abbreviation of Ordinary Level. It is one of the two-part of GCE (General Certificate of Education). O-Level is the final certification for secondary school, to be taken at fifth form or year 11. Students that have completed O-level are considered to have completed formal education. O- level is offered by Cambridge International Examination (CIE), American Council for Higher Education. O- level gives students advantages in part-time or evening education.

Cambridge O Level is a nationally recognized qualification equivalent to Cambridge IGCSE. It has been designed especially for an international audience.  The curriculum also enables teaching to be placed in a localized context, making it relevant wherever you teach it.

Subjects for O-Level?

For O-level, you can choose more than 40 subjects in any combination to provide the building blocks to create your own curriculum. Students normally choose 7-9 subjects in the O-Level exam, with maximum allowable 14 subjects. Usually, many schools allocate a total of about 130 hours for each subject. The syllabus is set by Cambridge, but the method of thought is dependent on the school. Most candidates take courses from each of the five Cambridge O level groups (languages, Humanities and Social Sciences, Mathematics and Business, Creative, technical, and vocational). Cambridge O-level course usually takes two years to complete and exams are taken at the end of that period.


The examination is taking place at the end of the course and includes written practical and oral tests. This helps the students to demonstrate their learning, particularly when their first language is not English. The grades are usually recognized grades, from A to E, which have clear guidelines to explain the standard of achievement. Grade A is awarded for the highest level of achievement and grade E indicates minimum satisfactory performance and grade U is commonly graded as fail. Cambridge O level examination usually occurs twice a year, in June and November. Results are issued in August and January.


O level is recognized in many universities worldwide to meet their entry requirements. Universities in many countries, including Canada and the USA, will admit students on the basis of their Cambridge O Level performances alone. In the UK, Cambridge O level is accepted as equivalent to the GCSE. Many Uk universities look at Cambridge O level grades, as well as predicted grades for Cambridge International A Level when enrolling for admissions.

Difference between Cambridge IGCSE and O Levels

IGCSE and O level are equivalent qualifications grade for grade, IGCSE set internationally recognized standards while O Level syllabus was developed to meet specific local needs in each country. The grade differences between IGCSE and O level, IGCSE are awarded from A to G and O level is awarded from A to E. The assessment technique is IGCSE is tested oral and practical skills and O level is focused on writing and reading skills in language subjects. The coursework options IGCSE is available in many syllabuses and O level is fewer coursework options.


Frequently asked questions for IGCSE and O level

What is the required number of subjects?

It is better to check with the university you wish to apply to as each university and its programs have their own set of entry requirements.

Which is better, IGCSE or O level?

IGCSE and O level are similar qualifications. If your plan is flexible, then you can take IGCSE but if your work requires an international environment O level is good as well.

Why do I need to take the board exams?

It’s in order to obtain a formal qualification for your future study or as proof that you have completed your secondary education.

What are the compulsory subjects?

There are no compulsory subjects in both subjects, however, there are still core subjects that you must fulfill to qualify for college or university. We suggest that you have to know the entry requirements of the university or college that you’re going to enroll.