Private schools are the elite of the high school education system and are focused on entrance to top universities and prepares students to succeed in higher education and their future. Many international students choose to attend Private Day and Boarding schools for multiple years in pursuit of A-Level or IB qualifications and aspire to attend a top university.
GCSEs and A-Levels - what do they mean?
GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education): A qualification in a specific subject typically taken by school students aged 14 - 16, at a level below A-Level. The equivalent in Scotland is Standard Grade. Students usually take around 9 - 10 GCSEs with all students required to sit mandatory subjects English, Mathematics and Sciences alongside other choices from the categories of Arts, Design and Technology, Humanities and Modern Foreign Languages. The final examinations are taken and grades received at the end of school Year 11. To gain access to A-Level programmes the required pass grade is 5 GCSEs from A* - C.
A-Levels (Advanced Levels): A Levels are demanding and students study 3 or 4 subjects over 2 years. Students most commonly take A-Levels after their GCSEs at aged 17-18. The equivalent qualification in Scotland are Highers. Some subjects will have their own entry criteria (e.g. you cannot study Chemistry if you do not have GCSE Chemistry). The most common aim for taking A-Levels is to access a university course. There are no mandatory A-Level subjects and students are free to choose 3 or 4 subjects that suit their ability, interests and requirements for post-18 education or work. Typically the top universities need 4 A-Levels at A* for entry whereas others might require 3 A-Levels A*-C.