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ESL forum > Ask for help > GCSE    

GCSE



abba
Spain

GCSE
 
Hi there, I came across a text about education in Britain and I wondered if GCSE is compulsary for all students or only for those who want to go to university.

Thanks

29 Mar 2014      



FrauSue
France

GCSE (or an equivalent level qualification) is compulsory for nearly all students in England and Wales. It īs taken at age 16. Pupils who wish to go to university then continue with AS and A levels in their final 2 years of school.

NVQs are an equivalent to GCSEs. They tend to be more practical and less academic, and they are an alternative in some schools for certain pupils. The vast majority of pupils take GCSEs, though. 


29 Mar 2014     



almaz
United Kingdom

Can I just point out that there is no such thing as a uniform īBritishī education system. We have a separate education system here in Scotland.

29 Mar 2014     



ueslteacher
Ukraine

@Alex: do school leavers in Scotland have to take GCSE? what if they want to go to Oxford or any other university in England, will their diplomas be valid?
Sophia

30 Mar 2014     



almaz
United Kingdom

As far as I īm aware, Sophia, Scottish qualifications have their English equivalents and vice versa for the most part (although we don īt have anything like the A*A, for example). In the UCAS tariff system, a Scottish Advanced Higher A has roughly the same value as an English GCE A level A*.

UCAS (The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) is the admissions service for all British higher education institutions - including Oxbridge.

30 Mar 2014     



ueslteacher
Ukraine

Thanks, Alex, I didn īt know that. I thought of Britan īs educational system as something more unitary, maybe like that of the USA. I mean there īs some diversity within each state but there are also standardised tests. Anyways, thanks for clearing that up.

30 Mar 2014     



edrodmedina
United States

Sophia, your statement about the USA īs educational system being standard really makes me  laugh. Please no offense to you. The system here is soooo not unified. Even in the same twon you can have different books and curriculum. It is now with the onset of the common core that there is a push to try and standardize what is taught in all the states which have embrased it. There are still some hold outs. I īm sure that even with the common core there will still be discrepencies since each state will determine how to test. Ed

30 Mar 2014     



ueslteacher
Ukraine

Oops, my mistake:( I thought you had some unified tests when students leave school...

30 Mar 2014     



FrauSue
France

The "British" exam system is a minefield. In England and Wales there are a lot of similarities but with the big difference that Welsh exams can usually be done in either Welsh or English. Northern Ireland is a bit different - the "Northern Irish leaving certificate" is the A-Level equivalent, as far as I know. Even in England, there are different kinds of exam for different subjects at different levels!

The Scottish exam system, when I was at school, was as follows: take Standard Grades at age 15/16, Highers at age 16/17 and Advanced Highers at age 17/18. Entrance to Scottish universities requires good grades at Higher (or, in certain cases, Advanced higher) and entrance for Scottish students to most English universities requires good grades at Advanced Higher (equivalent to the A2 part of the A-Level). However, the Scottish curriculum was recently overhauled and all the exams have been renamed! The old Standard Grades (GCSE equivalent) now appear to be "Nationals" available at different levels depending on ability. I think Highers and Advanced Highers remain.

This page from the UK universities admission service might give some idea of how many qualifications there are : http://www.ucas.com/how-it-all-works/explore-your-options/entry-requirements/tariff-tables#

31 Mar 2014