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Is AICE the Place? An Overview of the Cambridge AICE Diploma

Updated: May 21, 2023

What Is Cambridge AICE?

The Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE [pronounced “ace”]) Diploma is a relatively accelerated high school program. The Cambridge AICE Diploma is an international curriculum and examination system that was first awarded in 1997. Cambridge AICE is an alternative to another accelerated high school diploma, the International Baccalaureate or IB diploma. The University of Cambridge in England developed AICE. In addition to the academic requirements described below, AICE graduates must volunteer for 105 hours.

What Are the Cambridge AICE Classes?

Cambridge AICE offers over 50 AS- and A-Level classes that fall in four subject areas:

· Group 1: Mathematics and Sciences

· Group 2: Languages

· Group 3: Arts, Humanities, Social Studies, and Business

· Group 4: Interdisciplinary subjects

Students must earn at least one credit from each of Groups 1, 2, and 3. A maximum of two credits can come from Group 4, which is optional. Students need to earn six credits to obtain a Cambridge AICE diploma. In addition to those six credits, all students must take and pass the Cambridge International AS-Level Global Perspectives and Research. This class requires students to research and write about a topic from a variety of perspectives.

An AS-level class is the first year of a full A-level class. A-level classes require two years of study. AICE classes are generally believed to provide students with more of an opportunity to explore what interests them relative to IB and AP classes. The required AICE diploma curriculum is not as structured as the IB diploma curriculum. AICE classes (e.g., marine science, accounting, and Hinduism) are often narrower in focus than IB classes. While a student who is a generalist might be happy in an IB program, a student who likes to specialize might be happier in an AICE program.

AICE Diploma Assessment

As is the case with IB, students take an exam to evaluate their knowledge of the coursework and qualify for an AICE diploma. The exams are typically held in May-June and the results are released in August. There is an opportunity to appeal an assessment score if the results seem to be incorrect.

Are Cambridge AICE Diplomas Widely Recognized?

Cambridge AICE diplomas are becoming more widely recognized, but for now,

(IB) diplomas and Advanced Placement (AP) courses are more widely recognized in the U.S. The Common Application differentiated Cambridge AICE classes from other classes for the first time as part of its application for students applying in 2021.

The recognition of Cambridge AICE varies by State and college. Florida’s State University System gives extra weight to those classes, just as it does IB and AP courses. In addition, Florida offers a generous Bright Futures scholarship to certain students who earn a Cambridge AICE diploma. In a meeting with an admission officer from a major public Georgia university, he was asked about how they view Cambridge AICE diplomas. His response was: “What is that?” Needless to say, his university does not award additional weight to grades in AICE classes. Ivy league universities typically recognize A-level courses. When speaking with college admission officials outside of Florida, consider using the term "GCSE," which stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education, in addition to the term AICE. AICE is an "internationalized" version of the UK GCSE and 'A' Level programs.

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