UK education options for HKDSE F.4 students
As GCSE spans from Year 10 to 11, students are rarely allowed to transfer to Year 11 in mainstream boarding schools. Depending on academic results, F.4 students can consider repeating Year 10 (F.4), or progress to a one-year GCSE course or Pre A-levels. Direct progression to Year 12 (F.6) from F.4 is also an option, but academic requirement will be more demanding.
The Advanced Level General Certificate of Education (GCE A-levels) is completed in F.6 and F.7 (Year 12-13). The first year of A-levels is the Advanced Subsidary (AS) level and the second year is the A2 level. Students normally start their AS year taking four to five subjects, out of which they choose three to four stronger ones to focus on when they progress to A2. To enter an UK university, a minimum of three passes are required.
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. 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 or a University Foundation Course.
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! Students will progress to Year 12 for A-levels (normally in the same school), after passing internal assessments.
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.