Qualifications and Systems

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Deciding which educational system and qualifications for your child can be challenging. It is important to consider the best fit for your child's pathway. Here is an overview of some of the different qualifications and systems to consider:

GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education)

Two-year program in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland that covers a range of subjects and is typically taken by students aged 14-16.

GCSEs are generally seen as a prerequisite for further education and are often required for entry into A-Level programs.

A-Levels (Advanced Level)

Two-year program in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland that is typically taken by students aged 16-18.

Students usually choose three or four subjects to study in depth, and A-Levels are considered to be a high-level qualification that can help with university admission.

APs (Advanced Placement)

Program offered by the College Board in the United States and Canada that allows high school students to take college-level courses in a range of subjects.

APs are often seen as a way to demonstrate academic rigor and can help with university admission. AP courses are designed to be the equivalent of first year university courses and can be taken by high school students to earn college credit.

IB (International Baccalaureate)

Two-year program offered worldwide that covers a range of subjects and is designed to provide a well-rounded education.

IB students usually choose six subjects to study, including a language, mathematics, science, humanities, and the arts. The IB is often seen as a way to demonstrate academic excellence and can help with university admission.

Each of these systems has its own strengths and weaknesses, and the best choice will depend on your child’s individual needs and goals. It’s important to research each system carefully to determine the best fit for your child.

For example , if your child is planning to study in the UK, traditionally A-levels or IB were the best option but now AP courses are widely accepted. If your child wants to study in the US or Canada traditionally APs were more appropriate but now IB and A-Levels are widely recognised.

Ultimately it is important to consider your child’s individual strengths and interests.

SAT and ACT

The SAT and ACT are standardized tests that are commonly used as part of the college admissions process in the United States. In its nearly 100 years of existence the SAT has gone through many revisions, but none as dramatic as what international students have experienced in March 2023 with the launch of the new digital, adaptive SAT.

The SAT is developed and administered by the College Board, and is a multiple-choice test that assesses a student’s skills in reading, writing, and math. The test is typically taken by high school juniors or seniors, and is used by many colleges and universities as part of their admissions process. The SAT is scored on a scale of 400-1600, with separate scores for the reading and writing section (200-800) and the math section (200-800).

The ACT is developed and administered by ACT, Inc., and is also a multiple-choice test that assesses a student’s skills in English, math, reading, and science. The test is typically taken by high school juniors or seniors, and is used by many colleges and universities as part of their admissions process. The ACT is scored on a scale of 1-36, with separate scores for each section.

Both the SAT and ACT tests are designed to measure a student’s academic abilities and readiness for college-level work. Many US, European and UK universities may require them. They are also used by some colleges and universities  as a way to determine eligibility for scholarships and financial aid. Additionally, some employers and graduate programs may require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores as part of the application process.

It’s important to note that while SAT and ACT scores are one factor that colleges and universities consider in the admissions process, they are not the only factor. Admissions committees also look at other factors such as a student’s high school grades, extracurricular activities, essays, and letters of recommendation.

To make a difference in someone’s life you don’t need to be brilliant, rich, beautiful or perfect. YOU NEED TO CARE.

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Mandy Hale

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