Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC)
With the introduction of CAPE the name of this examination was changed from CXC. This course lasts 2 years. Students are generally accepted at the beginning of Form 4. By the October of Form 5 the syllabus has been thoroughly completed. Analysis of past papers shows that the examiners aim to examine the whole syllabus to depth and certain topics occur more frequently than others. 10 weeks are spent revising the topics students find most difficult and come most frequently. Past paper questions, etc are used. This includes significant individual attention. From January to April of Form 5 past papers are done to time. Both multiple choice and structured papers are done. The average mark obtained from this gives an accurate indication of the grade the student will receive in the CSEC examination. The methodology used ensures that SpiSE students can satisfy CXC's requirements and have a strong base to do CAPE if they wish
Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE)
Whereas the CSEC Syllabus is a linear one, the whole syllabus being examined at the end of the two years, CAPE is a modular examination with two units. Each Unit consists of 3 modules with Unit 1 being taken at end of Lower 6 and Unit 2, Upper 6. In some schools both Unit 1 and Unit 2 are taken at the end of Upper 6. This can pose quite a challenge for students as the examiners aim to examine all the topics in the modules concerned. For example the linear A level had one multiple choice paper with 45 questions for the whole syllabus. Each Unit has a multiple choice paper with 45 questions, therefore, 90 questions for the whole syllabus. What can make this even more challenging is the student having to study Unit 2 before Unit 1. Unit 1 is meant to form the base for Unit 2 and should, therefore, precede it.
Unit 1. This commences in September and the examination is in May-June of the following year. This means that students have only two terms to prepare. There is a huge gap between CSEC and CAPE. Obtaining Grade1 for CSEC by itself does not guarantee performance at CAPE level. It requires hard, consistent work all the way through, applying the study and revision skills mastered in CSEC to obtain Grade 1 in CAPE. Although CXC does allow a student to repeat Unit I and improve the grade, it is best to do it at the end of Lower 6 and get the grade needed for University Entrance. SpiSE normally completes the syllabus by February and devotes 2 months to revision and practice with past papers done to time.
Unit 2. There is perhaps more time for this Unit because the student can start work on it from June and have approximately 11 months to prepare for the examination. However, the syllabus can be more demanding. By working through July- August SpiSE completes the syllabus by December of Upper 6 and from January does revision and practice with past papers to time.
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