Which is better Cambridge or ZIMSEC is one of those perennial questions that we get here at Revision everyday. A related question that often accompanies this is which is easier.
In this article we will try to help you make the choice. Even though we are primarily a ZIMSEC notes and revision material site we are not going to stand in the way of facts when we answer this question.
Advantages of Doing Cambridge instead of ZIMSEC
The Cambridge brand is easily one of the most recognized brands in the entire world. This will no doubt enhance the appeal of your qualification
Cambridge International Examinations have been around for a long time. They used to be the default Primary, Secondary and High school in Zimbabwe before ZIMSEC took over.
Related to the point above is that the University of Cambridge (aka Cambridge University) has been around since 1209. That is over 800 years of experience in the education sector and you will find fewer entities older than this.
Their exams are written and marked in a timely and orderly fashion
Predictable registration dates that are published well in advanced and not changed according to the whims of a chaotic administration
There is ample registration time for students. For example their June exam deadline usually closes in April. The deadline for October exams is usually in September. By comparison the unpredictable ZIMSEC deadlines vary wildly but the November deadlines closes in April and no one really knows when the June deadline ends.
You can still register and rewrite for subjects you failed in June that of that year. With ZIMSEC you have to register the subject for both June and November
You can register as many subjects as you want. The new ZIMSEC curriculum says you can register a minimum of 7 and a maximum of 12
You can choose your combination of subjects as you see fit and according to your needs. With ZIMSEC this is not possible as some subjects are compulsory
With Cambridge you can learn at your own pace while the ZIMSEC curriculum dictates your schedule down to the minute
No need for onerous continuos assesment with Cambridge while ZIMSEC requires continous assesment which no one sees how it will work
Private candidates can register without a hassle. With ZIMSEC it’s not clear where how private candidates can register without course work marks
There is clear guidance on what is required in clearly worded syllabi unlike ZIMSEC where some requirements such as continuous assessment are still to be figured out even though the syllabi is now in use
Plenty of textbooks to use
Plenty of online resources including sites and textbooks
Plenty of past exam papers online
You can pay the exam fees using Bond Notes (e.g. British Council Allows the use of transfers and deposits)
You don’t have to be in Zimbabwe to write it although you are restricted to the center you registered with
Cambridge is not plagued by incessant leaks. ZIMSEC leaks occur on almost a yearly basis
Flexibility between IGSCE and GCE examinations, we will look at these in a later post
Be it true or false Cambridge is perceived as being better than ZIMSEC and as they say perception is everything
Advantages of ZIMSEC over Cambridge
There are plenty of examination centers around the country
Is offered in most if not all schools and very few schools offer Cambridge in Zimbabwe
These Cambridge schools tend to be expensive so ZIMSEC is cheaper
The registration fees for ZIMSEC are way cheaper. Cambridge exam fees are usually more than $60 per subject and at current prices you can register 5 ZIMSEC subjects for that
Now that we have looked at the advantages of each over the other we will now examine some of the myths and lies that people have said over the years.
ZIMSEC is not accepted outside ZIMBABWE. This is a lie, top US, Australian, British and South African Universities and Colleges accept ZIMSEC certificates. In fact I have never heard of anyone being denied a place based on the fact that they have a ZIMSEC qualification alone
Cambridge is harder/easier than ZIMSEC. While there may be differences in content covered for example in subjects such as history the learning difficulties expressed by people who say these things have nothing to do with ZIMSEC or Cambridge. These people are simply deflecting their inabilities. A bad workman blames his tools.
If you have the money to do it you should choose Cambridge over ZIMSEC any day. It is more flexible, versatile and backed by ample resources with better international perception. If you are living under financial constraints just like the rest of us you should choose ZIMSEC.