The Pre-U courses are new sixth-form qualifications, developed by the Cambridge University International Examinations. They were introduced in 2008, so the first results are available in 2010. They have been welcomed as an academically rigorous preparation for university by the Russell Group of universities, and by top academic independent schools. One of its key advantages is that it is a full 2-year course, with no examination half way through, which both reclaims teaching time at the end of the lower sixth and allows the teachers to develop the order and pace most appropriate to the students.
There are 26 subjects offered. Many independent schools offer individual subject Pre-U, in place of A-levels, so sixth formers can take a mixture of both qualifications. It is also possible to take a full Pre-U Diploma, which comprises three principal subjects, together with an independent research report and a Global Perspectives portfolio (covering practical ethics, economics, environment, technology, and politics and culture).