Pre-U Options: Cambridge A Level or SACE International?


Which pre-university programme should you pick? With so many pre-u programmes that are widely available these days, you probably feel lost and torn between the options.

Fret not. The table below will help you distinguish the differences between the Cambridge A Level and SACE International programmes to help you make an informed decision before you make your ultimate choice!



It’s a pre-university programme administered by the Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE), in the UK

Besides the UK, it’s widely recognised by universities across the globe and is deemed as the benchmark for pre-university programmes.

It’s an Australian Matriculation administered by the SACE Board of South Australia

Other than Australia, it’s also internationally recognised by universities around the world. You will be accredited with the South Australian Certificate Education (SACE) upon completion of the programme.

 Which should you pick?


Opt for the Cambridge A Level programme if you intend to further your studies in the UK and especially if you’re eyeing the top tier universities. 

It’s also accepted by many local institutions.



Opt for the SACE International programme if you intend to further your studies in Australia. 

It’s also accepted by many local institutions.



The programme generally takes about 15 - 24 months to complete


The programme generally takes about 10 - 12 months to complete.


 Which should you pick?


Take the Cambridge A Level programme if you want to master your subjects thoroughly and if you’re not in a hurry to pursue your degree.


The SACE International programme is typically a faster option if you want a speedy route to your degree.


For A Level, the amount you have to pay may differ according to the number of subjects you that you take. It also varies for local and international students. To check out the fees, do visit Taylor’s Cambridge A Level Programme.


The programme fees vary for local and international students. To check out the fees, do visit Taylor’s SACE International Programme here.



 Which should you pick?


The A Level programme is slightly pricier considering the duration of your studies is longer than the Australian matriculation counterpart. But, don’t forget, it also stems from a renowned institution in the UK!


Consider the SACEi programme if you’re looking for a slightly more affordable course as well as a quicker transition to your degree.


You will only need to take up 2 - 3 subjects throughout your programme..


You will have to take up 5 subjects throughout your programme.


 Which should you pick?


Although your subjects may be fewer compared to other pre-u programmes, you will be studying in-depth into each of your chosen subjects and the difficulty increases as you progress.

It’s recommended for those who wish to pursue a highly competitive degree programme such as law and medicine.



You should opt for a SACE International programme if you prefer to cover more subjects rather than going too in-depth but still sufficient to build a good foundation. 


With this, you also have more flexibility to choose a variety of different subjects to study and can even select a combination of Arts, Science, and Business programmes.


The programme is 100% exam-based and is divided into 2 stages — Advanced Subsidiary Level (AS Level) and A2 Level

The AS Level forms the first half and provides the foundation of A Level whereas the A2 Level is the second half which covers more complex topics of your subjects. 

Each stage contributes 50% to your final grades.


You will be assessed based on 70% of your college assessment and 30% based on your final examination


Your grades will be determined using the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) score which will be calculated based on four of your highest-scoring subjects, and 50% from your 5th highest scoring subject at the end of the programme


 Which should you pick?


Albeit the lack of assignments and fewer subjects, the programme consists of many long lectures and piles of materials to read.

Choose A Level if studying for exams is your strong suit

You need to be diligent and consistent in your revision to be able to master and apply everything you’ve learned from day 1 to the end, to ace your final examinations.

Take note: You only have 2 exams to determine your grades, which means you can’t risk either one.



You should opt for SACE International if you don’t want to put all your eggs in the same basket.

That said, it doesn’t mean that you can afford to slack here as well.

You will be continuously assessed, quizzed, and tested throughout your semesters which ultimately still means that you need to do your due diligence and maintain consistency in your studies as well. 

Choose this if you prefer a mix of coursework and exams.


We hope this helps you in deciding the best pre-u programme for you. Remember to do thorough research on each programme and institution and don’t make a hasty decision that you’re not comfortable with. 

If you still need help, it’s always worth it to seek out secondary opinions by speaking to experienced education advisors for more insights! Here are also some helpful questions to ask education counsellors during your appointment!