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Entrance Examinations in Barbados - CAPE and CSEC

The Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE)

Students who have successfully completed their 5 years of secondary education and wish to continue their studies can take the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE). It is meant to provide certification of the academic, vocational and technical accomplishment of students in the Caribbean. The subjects included under this examination are organized in 1-unit or 2-unit courses with each unit comprising of 3 modules. 

The Caribbean Examinations Council provides 3 types of certification-

Type 1: It is the award of a certificate indicating that each CAPE unit is completed.  

Type 2: It is the CAPE diploma, awarded to pupils who have satisfactorily completed a minimum of 6 Units, inclusive of Caribbean studies. 

Type 3: It is the CAPE associate Degree, given for the satisfactory completion of 7 CAPE units along with the completion of the Caribbean studies and Communication studies. 

Subjects Offered at the CAPE Level

Caribbean examination council (CXC) offers CAPE examinations in 22 two-unit subjects and 2 one-unit subjects. The two 1-unit subjects are-
  •  Caribbean studies 
  • Communication studies
Mathematics is the only subject with two separate syllabuses, each with two units and includes pure mathematics and applied mathematics. The following are the 2-unit combinations for Mathematics-
  • Pure Mathematics Units 1 & 2
  • Applied Mathematics Units 1 & 2
  • Pure Mathematics Unit 1 and Applied Mathematics Unit 2
To know more about the CAPE subjects, click here

CAPE Syllabus 

  • Accounting
  • Agricultural Science
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Art and Design
  • Biology
  • Caribbean Studies
  • Chemistry
  • Communication Studies
  • Computer Science
  • Digital Media
  • Economics
  • Electrical and Electronic Technology
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Environmental Science
  • Food and Nutrition
  • French  
  • Geography
  • Geometrical and Mechanical Engineering (GMED)
  • History
  • Information Technology
  • Law
  • Literatures in English
  • Management of Business
  • Performing Arts
  • Physics
  • Physical Education and Sport
  • Pure Mathematics
  • Sociology
  • Spanish
  • Tourism

 Fees for CAPE Examination

  • Candidate Fee - Bds $52.00
  • Unit Fee  - Bds $36.00 per unit
  • Local Fee  -  Bds $30.00
  • Late candidate entry (CAPE) - Bds $50.00

Grading System- CAPE

The CAPE examinations uses 7 overall grades: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII along with the profile grades, A, B, C, D, E, F and G. Candidates are given result reports on each unit. For each Unit, candidates get:

An overall grade from I to VII, indicating the quality of performance on the Unit as a whole

A module grade from A to G, denoting the performance on each module of the Unit

Overall Grades

 Grade  Definition
 I  Indicates an excellent understanding of the principles, concepts and skills included in the syllabus; knows how to apply the principles and concepts to the problems appropriately; as well as organizes information and communicate ideas in an effective manner
 II  Indicates a very good understanding of the principles, concepts and skills included in the syllabus; and applies the principles and concepts to the problems appropriately; as well as organizes information and communicate ideas in an effective manner
 III  Indicates a good understanding of the principles, concepts and skills included in the syllabus; and applies the principles and concepts to the problems appropriately; as well as organizes information and communicate ideas in an effective manner
 IV  Indicates a satisfactory understanding of the principles, concepts and skills included in the syllabus; and applies the principles and concepts to the problems appropriately; as well as organizes information and communicate ideas in an effective manner
 V  Indicates a acceptable understanding of the principles, concepts and skills included in the syllabus; and applies the principles and concepts to the problems appropriately; as well as organizes information and communicate ideas in an effective manner
 VI  Shows a basic weakness in applying principles; analysing issues; very little grasp of principles an concepts covered in syllabus
 VII  Shows little or no skills in the application of principles, concepts;analysis of  issues; and organisation and communication of ideas

Module Grades

 Grade  Definition
 A  Excellent
 B  Very Good
 C  Good
 D  Satisfactory
 E  Acceptable
 F  Limited
 G  Very Limited

CAPE Results

CAPE results are reported as an overall Unit grade (Roman numerals I to VII) and three Module grades (letters A to G). Each overall grade as well as module grade shows that the candidate has obtained a score that lies somewhere along the band of scores associated with that grade. For further studies, grades I – V are accepted. 


Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC)

Students who have completed 16 age of secondary level education are eligible for the CSEC. This examination is equivalent to the ordinary level (O-levels) examinations. 

CSEC Subjects

The CSEC subjects are examined for certification at the General and Technical Proficiencies. The General and Technical proficiencies allow pupils to continue their studies and enter the job market. 33 subjects in total are offered by the CXC, out of which 28 subjects at General Proficiency and 5 at Technical Proficiency.

 To know a complete list of subject offered at the CSEC level, click here. Students can sit as many subjects as they want at a single sitting.

Examination Dates

The Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination takes place in January for re-sit and private candidates and in May or June for in-school candidates and private candidates.

CSEC Syllabus

  • Additional Mathematics
  • Agricultural Science
  • Biology
  • Caribbean History
  • Chemistry
  • Clothing & Textiles
  • Economics
  • Electronic Document Preparation & Management
  • English 
  • Food & Nutrition
  • Geography
  • Home Economics Management
  • Human & Social Biology
  • Industrial Technology
  • Information Technology
  • Integrated Science
  • Mathematics
  • Modern Languages
  • Music
  • Office Administration
  • Physical Education & Sport
  • Physics
  • Principles of Accounts
  • Principles of Business
  • Religious Education
  • Social Studies
  • Technical Drawing
  • Theatre Arts
  • Visual Arts

CSEC Grading System

The six-point grading system is used for grading the performance of the candidates. Overall and profile grades are given to the candidates. Overall grades (Roman numerals I to VII) and profile grades (letters A to F):

Overall grades - I, II, III, IV, V, VI

Profile grades - A, B, C, D, E, F

To gain admittance into 4-year programme at the universities and entry requisite to community colleges, teacher’s college or any other tertiary institution, grades I-III at the General and Technical Proficiencies is considered.

Grade and Profile Descriptions

The overall grade and profile descriptions are:

Overall Grades

 Grades  Definition
 I  Indicates a comprehensive understanding of the main concept and aptitude required by the curricula
 II  Indicates a good understanding of the main concept and aptitude required by the curriculum
 III  Indicates a fairly good grasp of the main concept and aptitude required by the curriculum.
 IV  Indicates a moderate understanding of the main concept and aptitude required by the curriculum
 V  Indicates a limited understanding of the main concept and aptitude required by the curriculum
 VI Indicates a very limited understanding of the main concept and aptitude required by the curriculum

Profile Grades

 Grades  Definition
 A  Outstanding
 B  Good
 C  Fairly Good
 D  Moderate
 E  Weak
 F  Poor

CSEC Examination Fees

  • Candidate Fee  - Bds $36.00
  • Subject Fee  - Bds $36.50 per subject
  • Local Fee  -  Bds $30.00
  • Late candidate entry (CSEC) - Bds $50.00


To get more details on the CAPE and CSEC examinations, contact the Caribbean Examination Council. 

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