Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions
Cambridge International AS/A Levels Programme
(updated October 2018)
 
What are attendance expectations? Attendance in classes is expected to be consistent throughout the MYP and CIE programmes. A failure to attend classes regularly may constitute dismissal from VIS. Attendance expectations are clearly outlined in the General Terms of Agreements that is signed by parents and all students over the age of 14.  The General Terms states that ... “4.2.1. student's illness (upon submission of medical certificate or Parents’ note for a maximum of 5 days in total per Academic year; a medical certificate is required where a student is absent for more than two consecutive days); 4.2.2. important family circumstances (upon submission of parents’ note but for no longer than 5 days per Academic year); Important family circumstances include: death of family member(s) or relative(s), accident and other similar circumstances of a great importance. Family vacations incompatible with the school calendar are not justifiable…”
 
Do I need to take Lithuanian to graduate? Yes. VIS mother tongue (home language) speakers must take MYP Lithuanian language and literature and foreign nationals are required to take Lithuanian Acquisition through grades 9 and 10. Mother tongue speakers must take and pass the VIS Lithuanian language and literature course in preparation for sitting the Lithuanian National exam.  All VIS Lithuanian mother tongue graduates must sit the Lithuanian National Examination in June of grade 12. The results of the exam will be reported on the student’s transcript.
 
What is the advantage of taking English if it is not a Cambridge International AS/A Level course? English in grade 11 and 12 is a mandatory requirement for graduation. All instruction at VIS is conducted in English and the VIS courses support the development of robust academic English language skills.  Secondly, success at university is greatly dependent upon strong academic writing skills, as well as text analysis.
 
What is IELTS? When and how do I register for the examination?  IELTS is an assessment of English Language Proficiency used in the majority of international University Admissions decisions.  Most University admissions require submission of IELTS results (generally above 6.5). IELTS may be registered for directly through their website and completed at British Council offices.  IELTS scores are valid for 2 years from completion date.
 
Where can I see a course syllabus? Cambridge International AS/A Level programme provides course syllabi to the public on the CambridgeInternational.org  website.
 
What are past papers? A past paper is an exam that has been administered by Cambridge International previously and is available to students and teachers for use as practice in class and as exam preparation.
 
What are mock exams? Do they "count"? The role of mock exams is two fold: 1) they provide the student an opportunity to practice under full exam conditions. The importance of the results cannot be understated because: 2) the results inform the forecast grades (predicted grades) that are recorded on the transcript that is sent to universities with the application. Mock exam results do count and preliminary University placement offers will be based primarily on mock examination results.
 
What is a course grade? A course grade is calculated based on the student’s academic performance on Assessment Criteria (MYP) and Assessment Objectives (Cambridge International). VIS calculates course grades based on criteria assessed throughout the course.  Course grades are reported on both progress-reports as well as end of year Report Cards. Mock Examination grades will be factored into course grades in grades 11 and 12.
 
What is a transcript? How do I get one? A transcript is a record of a student course marks and forecast (predicted)/final Cambridge International exam results. A transcript request can be made to the Upper School Principal. Transcript requests should be made at least one week in advance. Transcripts will be updated with predicted grades at regular intervals during the year: once in the fall (November); in January after retake results are released (in the event that a student has re-sat an examination); After Mock Examinations; and in May/June.  Final transcripts are prepared subsequent to the release of student AS and A-Level results in August of each year.
 
What is the difference between a course and a credit? A course and a credit are used synonymously at VIS. The completion of one course in grades 9 through 12 grants the student one credit. Evidence of student learning in the form of course completion/credit is awarded upon the successful completion (pass) of a subject.
 
What does UNGRADED (U) mean?  'UNGRADED' (or “U” on student transcripts and reports) indicates that the student has failed to reach the standard required for a pass. Ungraded may be the mark for either a grade 11/12 course or the external examination.  'UNGRADED' will be reported on the Statement of Results from Cambridge International for external exams, but not on the final certificate. Ungraded will be reported as a “U” on the student’s report card and/or transcript for both Cambridge and Non-Cambridge courses (e.g. English or Lithuanian) in grades 11 and 12.
 
How do I apply to resit a Cambridge International exam?  The Cambridge International Exams Officer  will assist students in the registration for each of their exam sessions (initial and re-take). The Cambridge International Exams Officer will coordinate times to inform, register and assist students in both grades 11 and 12 for both initial and re-take sessions. Applications for retakes must go through the Upper School Principal (who will consult with the Cambridge International Committee at VIS).
 
Can I take an online Cambridge International AS/A Level course? VIS does not recommend online courses unless they are offered by the school itself and are identified as part of the CIE course offerings at VIS. Students interested in taking online courses due to the fact that a particular course is not offered at VIS will be expected to pay for it at their own expense and arrange testing at an alternative location. VIS does not administer exams for students taking online courses offered outside of the VIS programme at the school.
 
Where can I sit an exam for an online course? The British Council in Vilnius is a Cambridge International Exam Center and can administer Cambridge International exams. The student must register with the British Council independently. As of 2019-2020 school year, VIS will not provide invigilation for online courses exams. Deadlines for sitting examinations at British Council may be earlier than at VIS.
 
How and when do I register for Lithuanian Language and Literature National exams? Registration for Lithuanian National exams takes place in the fall. All VIS students take exam as external candidates (liet. Eksternas - a grade 12 student attending foreign country educational institution). Students must register for Lithuanian Language National Exam by the date announced in September by the due date in October at the base school, which are outlined on the National Exams Center (www.nec.lt) website. Registration deadlines differ every year; therefore, all detailed information can be found at the National Exam Centre (www.nec.lt). Students must come in person to register and bring a valid ID with photo, Cambridge International Electronic Statement of Entry (or a letter confirming that they attend grade 12 at VIS), and a proof of payment for the exam. A week after their registration, students must come back to the base school in Vilnius to collect their digital logins and to complete their registration. The exam usually takes place the first week of June.
 
What is a VIS diploma? A VIS High School Diploma confirms that a student has completed the VIS graduation requirements. It is a ceremonial document that is substantiated by a school transcript. The VIS diploma confirms that a student has completed a minimum of 24 courses (credits) between 9th and 12th grades and met the VIS graduation requirements. VIS graduation requirements include the expectation that all students entering grade 11 will take three A Level courses.
 
Will the VIS High School Diploma qualify me for entry into universities within Lithuania? No. A VIS High School Diploma on its own may not be used for entry to university in Lithuania. The VIS transcript accompanied by the Cambridge General Certificate of Education with at least 2 A Level subjects passed must be verified by SKVC (Švietimo Kokybės Vertinimo Centras) for use in the admissions process in Lithuania. The required document for SKVC is called the General Certificate of Education.  This document must include either Advanced Level (A Level) or Advanced Subsidiary Level (AS) as issued by Cambridge. This official Cambridge document is an official record of  the exam results which is released mid-August in an electronic version called the Statement of Results. The official Certificate is sent to the school in October. Students will be notified via email when certificates have arrived.
 
What is the approximate timeline for completing an application to university? Applications to university in the United Kingdom take place through the UCAS Platform.  The application deadline for competitive UK universities is October 15. UCAS requires applications to be submitted by January 15. Applications for Universities in the Netherlands and other EU countries are sometimes due in March or later.  In general, however, VIS expects students to complete their application materials by January 15 in order to be competitive in the global university admission process.
 
When should I request a recommendation? Students should request references in person, of a teacher whom’s subject relates to their desired course of study at university. Recommendations should be requested well in advance of the due date of a student’s application and should be respectful of their instructor’s professional responsibilities.  A reasonable guideline for requesting a reference is approximately two weeks in advance of when the student plans to forward their application.
 
How do I pay for exams and retakes? Students are expected to pay all exam fees. This includes retakes and remarking.  An invoice will be issued by the VIS Finance Office. It is the students’ responsibility, and not the Exam Officer’s to ensure that fees are paid in advance of exam registration. The exam fee will include the cost of express delivery to the UK.
 
Key dates for Cambridge International AS/A Level 2018 -2019
 

Aug 14

Results released for June series

Sep 20

Deadline for enquiries about June results

Sep 21

Deadline for retake entries from June series

Mid Oct

Certificates despatched

Mid Oct-Mid Nov

November series exam period

Oct 24

Deadline to register for Lithuanian Language National Exam

Jan 10

Results released for November series

Feb 21

Final entries deadline for upcoming June series

Apr 30

Deadline for forecast grades for June series

Apr 30-Jun 14

June series timetabled exam period

Jun 1

Lithuanian Language National exam

Jun 9

Grade 12 Graduation Ceremony @12.00

Jul 3

Lithuanian Language National exam results released

*dates may slightly differ every year
 
Glossary of Terms:
 
Eksternas - A person who graduated high school in Lithuania or abroad, or grade 12 international school student applying to take national exams.
 
Brandos Atestatas - A certificate of completion, proving that a student has completed high school (grade 12) and passed Lithuanian Language and Literature National exams as well as one more subject national exam. The passing of two A Level exams is required for the SKVC to recognize it as equivalent to a Lithuanian Brandos Atestatas.
 
Transcript - A document issued by VIS that is used as a record of course completion and final marks from grades 9 through 12. Internal marks are recorded in addition to exam results.
 
Mock Exam - An exam that is facilitated according to the same condition that a student will encounter during the actual exam series in May/June (or Oct./Nov. for retakes).  The results of mock exams will be used in determining forecast grades.
 
Forecast/Predicted grades - Teacher assigned grades that are based on mock exam results and informed by classroom assessments. These are used for university applications as predictors of final exam results and have bearing on potential offers for university placement.