General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE)
The General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) curriculum is taught in F.4 and F.5. It allows students the flexibility to do arts subjects alongside with science subjects. Students who take the standard 2-year GCSE programmes normally study seven to ten subjects. Passing grades are 9 to 4 (or grade A*-C in the old grading scale) and students are expected to gain a minimum of 5 passes at grade 4 to qualify for GCE A-levels examinations.
Starting from the academic year of 2015/16, the GCSE were reformed in phases. A selected set of reformed GCSE subjects and syllabuses replaced existing ones every year. Students who start Year 10 in September 2018 have all started using the new GCSE syllabuses.
A new grading scale of 9 to 1 is introduced with these reformed subjects, in which a grade 9 is set at a more challenging level than the original A* to reflect the abilities of more able students. In the new grading scale, there are two passing marks, where:
- Grade 4 represents a Standard Pass.
- Grade 5 represents a Strong Pass.
- Entry in September. Flexi-programmes also start in January or April.
- Less restriction on subject choices. Students can do arts subjects alongside with science subjects
- Progression to GCE A-levels or University Foundation Courses after completion.
- EFL (English as a Foreign Language)
Typical Electives *Popular Choices of HK Students
- Art and Design*
- Business Studies*
- Design & Technology*
- English Literature
- Food Technology
- Home Economics
|Students eligible for Sixth Form (5A*-C)|
|% of Grades at A or above||% of Grades at C or above|
|Source: DfE (UK) – 2015|
1-Year GCSEand Pre A-levels
In addition to the standard 2-year programmes, some boarding schools and independent colleges also run one-year GCSE (lasts 3 terms) and other flexi-programmes that last for 4 to 5 terms respectively – these are all excellent options for current F.4 students! Students normally study 5 to 6 subjects on a one-year GCSE programme. If students would like to study up to 7 to 8 subjects, joining a 4- to 5-term programme (starting in April and January respectively) will allow them to do so. Pre A-levels is the preparation course that enable students to skip the GCSE public exams altogether, by starting their studies of three A-level subjects a year early!
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