CSEC examinations evaluate the academic accomplishment of students after secondary level education in Trinidad and Tobago. Students take them after completing five years of standard secondary school education.
What is CSEC?
What does CSEC stand for? It is short for Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate. It is for students who want to study further in high school.
The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), founded in 1972, offers the CSEC examination. The exam assesses students in the Caribbean in three different proficiency levels such as:
- Basic: With an essential proficiency examination, you can study further to gain knowledge or skills in certain areas to help complete a secondary course.
- General: The general proficiency examination evaluates students’ breadth of knowledge and understanding of a subject. It enables them to study further and specialize in the specific subject after secondary school education.
- Technical: A technical proficiency examination is for students who look for pre-technician training or better preparation and practical orientation than required for general proficiency examination.
Both General and Technical proficiency examinations help you go for higher studies or work in a particular industry.
What is the meaning of CSEC? To know this, it is not enough to understand what CSEC stands for. It is a subject-based qualification introduced by CXC in 1979. The Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examinations are similar to the Ordinary Level (O-Level) examinations as a part of an academic program.
What is a CSEC exam?
CSEC exams are secondary school leaving examinations designed to meet the needs of the region. They are internationally recognized and equivalent to the General Certificate of Education (GCE) exams.
Who is eligible for CSEC?
If you belong to any one of the eligibility criteria given below, you will qualify for the exams.
- Form or Stage five students at public secondary schools
- Students above 10 years of age at private institutions
- Private candidates with a minimum of 16 years of age
What is the registration process?
When it comes to the registration process, it is different for in-school and private candidates. For the CSEC exams held in May or June, the in-school candidates must register by December, which their schools do. The private candidates must complete an entry form and register by November for the CSEC exams held in May/June. If they want to write the exam in January, they should register their name by September.
They can have the entry form from the Ministry of Education Head Office. It is located on Saint Vincent Street in Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago.
Examination dates for CSEC exams
You can find exams in January, May, or June. The exams conducted in January are for re-sit candidates, while those in May or June are for private and in-school candidates. The candidates who have secured 50 percent or more in the school-based assessment and wish to reuse the scores are re-sit candidates. The private candidates are from part-time centers, which are not recognized as full-time educational institutions by the council.
What are the subjects offered for CSEC exams?
The Caribbean Examinations Council has identified 33 subjects for the exam. Out of these, 28 subjects are available under General proficiency and 5 under Technical proficiency. Candidates can select and apply for any number of subjects they want to write from a list of CSEC subjects at a time. Most students choose more than 10 or 20 subjects to write though the Education Ministry does not encourage it.
As for the CSEC subjects, here is the list:
- Additional Mathematics
- Agricultural Science (Single and Double Award)
- Building Technology
- Caribbean History
- Clothing & Textiles
- Electronic Document Preparation & Management
- English A & B
- Food & Nutrition
- Home Economics Management
- Human and Social Biology
- Information Technology
- Integrated Science
- Mechanical Engineering Technology
- Office Administration
- Physical Education & Sport
- Principles of Accounts
- Principles of Business
- Religious Education
- Social Studies
- Technical Drawing
- Theatre Arts
- Visual Arts
Is CSEC recognized?
The University of Guyana, the University of the West Indies, and the University of Technology recognize the CSEC exam. Some international organizations also recognize the CSEC exam. They are:
- American Association of College Registrars and Admission Officers
- Cambridge University Examinations Syndicate
- Joint Matriculation Board, UK
The Association of Indian Universities has also recognized CSEC conducted by the Caribbean Examination Council.
Are CSEC and CXC the same?
Most students ask this question, “Are CSEC and CXC the same?” When CXC refers to the Caribbean Examination Council, CSEC is the proficiency exam conducted by it. Nevertheless, the CSEC examinations are still called the CXC examinations, for the CXC offered only CSEC exams from 1979 to 1998. It was in 1998 that CXC developed the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE). They help assess the academic, technical, and vocational achievement of students in the Caribbean islands.
CSEC grading system
what is a pass in CSEC? You need to understand that CSEC uses a 6-point grading system with overall and profile grades. The overall grades include I, II, III, IV, V, and VI. In contrast, the profile grades range from A to F. You can join a 4-year study program in a university or any community college with a CSEC grade. Nevertheless, you have to acquire an overall grade of at least III in general and technical proficiency subjects.
The profile grade – A shows you are outstanding. You show a fairly good knowledge and understanding of the curriculum’s key concepts, abilities, and required skills at Grade III. As for Grade IV and above, your efficiency ranges from average and limited to very limited. For grades from B to F, it ranges from good, fairly good, moderate to weak, and poor.
How to clear CSEC exams?
For any Caribbean student achieving a high grade in a CSEC exam is a dream. Are you unsure where to start? Here are several tips to help you.
- Know what a CSEC exam is: Unfortunately, most students ignore this. It is essential to go through the curriculum and the past test papers to learn the exam format. If you understand the objective of the exam, you will have the expected clarity.
- Have a timetable and start your preparation early: With a timetable, you can allocate the required time for each subject, provide extra time for complex topics and keep aside some time for revision. Once you have set the timetable, start your preparation early.
- Understand the concept: You need to learn the fundamentals of the subject to build a foundation. To answer the related questions, you should know the concept of the subject.
- Remain confident: Don’t fret; take a break between two study sessions. It will help increase your productivity, avoid last-minute rush and keep you confident.
We hope the above information helped you understand what CSEC is and how you can clear it successfully.