Student In A Level Biology Class At Abbey College Cambridge

September 2024 Start Courses at Abbey College Cambridge

Abbey College Cambridge offers a range of  high-quality Year 9, GCSE, A-Level and International Foundation Programmes along with a Pre-Sessional preparation course.

We are a fee-paying independent British boarding school offering a range of high-quality academic programmes and on and off-boarding rooms for students from around the world aged from 13-21 years. Enquire now to receive more information about studying with us in September 2024 and to hear from one of our International Admissions Advisors.



September 2024 Courses and Subjects Available

Abbey College Cambridge offers a wide range of academic programmes for students aged from 13 – 21 years.

Courses Available.

Pre-Sessional Programme 1 – 3 Terms 13 – 16 years GCSE, A-Level, International Foundation Programme
Year 9 1 Year 13 Years GCSE
GCSE 1 or 2 Years 14* – 16 Years A-Level, International Foundation Programme
A-Level 2 Years 16 – 20 Years Undergraduate Course at University
International Foundation Programme 1 Year 17 – 21 Years Undergraduate Course at University



Study GCSEs in September 2024

General Certificates of Secondary Education (GCSE) represent the first stage on the path to study at a UK university. Many institutions will ask for at least 5 GCSE passes for entry.

In 2023 88% of GCSEs awarded to Abbey College Cambridge students achived grades 9-5/4 (A** – C).

September 2024 GCSE study options

Programme Compulsory Subjects Electives Subjects Progress to
2 Year GCSE (September 2024 – July 2026)  

  • Biology
  • Business Studies
  • Chemistry
  • Economics
  • English Language
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
Choose two from:

  • Further Mathematics or History
  • Art & Design or Sports Science
  •  A Level
  • International Foundation Programme
1 Year GCSE (September 2024 – July 2025)  

  • Chemistry
  • Economics
  • English Language
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
Choose one from:

  • Biology or Business Studies
  •  A Level
  • International Foundation Programme

Why study GCSEs?

Depending on the duration of studies, GCSE students will take between 6-8 subjects. GCSEs provide a great ‘grounding’, offering students a wide breadth of subjects. time to familiarise themselves with the UK education system and improve their English (English Language is a compulsory GCSE subject). GCSEs also provide a natural pathway to A Levels, and students who have taken them tend to perform better in higher-level examination.

How are they taught?   

GCSE course content is broken up into units, each unit is taught in a linear structure, with an emphasis on understanding the connection between topics within the wider context of the subject.


GCSEs are assessed by an end of course exam. Some subjects will also by coursework or practical work.



Study A-Levels in September 2024

Abbey College Cambridge Chemistry class

Advanced Level courses, commonly known as ‘A-Levels’ are the most widely recognised qualification for entry to UK universities.

In 2023, 81% of A-Levels awarded to Abbey College Cambridge students achieved grades A* – B.

September 2024 A-Level study options

Programme Subjects Available Progress to
2 Year A-Level

(September 2024 – July 2026)

  • Accounting
  • Art & Design
  • Biology
  • Business Studies
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Economics
  • English Literature
  • Geography
  • Government & Politics
  • History
  • Mathematics & Further Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Psychology

Undergraduate course at university

Why study A-Levels?

Most students will take 4or 3 A-Level subjects over the duration of their studies. A-Levels offer a good balance between subjects specialisation and choice, allowing students to focus on the subject that really interest them with the option of maintain breadth of subject choice. A-Levels also offer progression the widest range of universities, and are the best options for students looking to join a top rated university.

 How are they taught?

Course content is divided into different sections, and students are encouraged to develop and understand the links between them. Learning is underpinned by the key concepts of the skills of the subject, with a strong focus on their practical real world application.


A-Levels have a linear structure, which means that all exams take place at the end of the final year. Most A Level subjects are assessed by written examination unless the course has a large practical element (such as in Art of the sciences).



Study International Foundation Programme in September 2024

Abbey College Cambridge Business Studies class

Our International Foundation Programme (IFP) is an intensive year 13 academic programme that offers international students direct entry to a wide range of UK universities.

In 2023, Abbey College Cambridge students achieved an average overall score of 67% on our foundation programme.

September 2024 International Foundation Programme Study options

Programme Subjects available Progress to
One Year International Foundation Programme (September 2023 – July 2024)
  • Business Management & Economics
  • Engineering
  • Medicine
  • Science
Undergraduate course at university

Why study International Foundation Programme?

Unlike many foundation programmes, our destinations are limited to a choice of one or two partner universities. This means students are free to progress to a wide range of UK universities, including many top-ranked Russell Group institutions.

How are they taught?

The programme offers a range of subject-related pathways, which give access to complementary subjects at university. Each pathway is made up of a number of modules, depending on which pathway you choose you might have a choice of modules, they may be all compulsory, or a mix of elective and compulsory modules.


Each module is assessed individually, with three assessment points through each term. Students will achieve an average score.



Study Pre-Sessional Programme in September 2024

Group Of Male Students Walking In Abbey College Cambridge Courtyard

Our Abbey College Cambridge Pre-Sessional Programme is designed to raise students’ ability in general and subject-specific English to enable them to join our GCSE, International Foundation Programme and A-Level courses.

Dependent on the student’s level of language and academic abilities our Pre-Sessional Programme can be taught for one, two or three terms. As well as strengthening English language skills, we will prepare students to learn in a typical British classroom environment. This includes skill development in areas such as pair work, project work, independent reading, discussion work and team building. Physical Education (PE) and Personal Health and Social Education (PHSE) also form part of our pre-sessional curriculum.

Timetable and Curriculum

Our Pre-sessional programme consists of 2.5 hours per week of each of the following core academic subjects:

  • Mathematics
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Economics or Biology

Lessons in these core subjects will expand your language specific to these subjects and maintain your subject knowledge and skills. The remainder of the timetable is made up of English. Lessons in English will raise your proficiency in the use of general and academic English, improving your communication skills and giving you the ability to write a range of texts in a variety of registers with improved grammatical and lexical accuracy. For students of compulsory school age (13-16 years old), the programme includes one lesson of Physical Education (PE) per week.


Students sit three internal stage tests over the course of one year:

Stage Test 1: October/November
Stage Test 2: January
Stage Test 3: February

These tests include a test of the full range of English language skills (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking) as well as tests in the core academic subjects.

In addition, students sit the B1 Preliminary external exam in English and the Cambridge First Certificate in English (B2 level). Students who achieve the B1 Preliminary exam will progress on to study for the Cambridge First Certificate. It is desirable for students to achieve a B2 level for increased chances of success on their chosen path of progression the following year.

Extra-curricular Activities

The full range of Abbey College Cambridge extra-curricular clubs and activities is open to you on the pre-sessional course, and you are positively encouraged to get involved with as many activities as possible. The course also includes educational and recreational residential and non-residential trips, sometimes alongside our GCSE cohort of students who are of a similar age, and sometimes exclusively for the Pre-Sessional Programme.



Why choose Abbey College Cambridge?

Female students and teacher in Abbey College Cambridge Maths class

  • We are one of the UK’s top performing International Colleges
  • Our unique ‘Pre-Degree Diploma’ programme helps students prepare for competitive courses
  • We offer more than 60 weekly extra-curricular clubs and activities
  • Our students excel in national and international academic competitions
  • Our house system encourages competition, fosters pride and builds friendships

Since its foundation in 1994, Abbey College Cambridge has developed a reputation for academic excellence. As Cambridge’s leading international college, we are experts in teaching and supporting international students, and we do so in a community that is energised by the love of learning.

At Abbey College Cambridge students from around world feel at home, where they make friends from all over the world, share unforgettable experiences and go on to achieve amazing things together.



Abbey Cambridge
Join us in September


Join Abbey College Cambridge in September 2024

Day and Boarding places available this September for students aged 13 – 21 years.

Join our Year 9, GCSE, A Level, International Foundation and Pre-Sessional Programmes.