UK education options for F.5 students (HKALE)
Students are presented with a wide variety of choices to continue with their education after GCSE. Depending on their interest, students can choose to do academic programmes such as A-levels, International Baccalaureate (IB) or University Foundation Courses. Alternatively, students can also opt for the more vocational National Diploma. All these pathways lead to degrees at universities.
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.
IB is an internationally recognised high school qualification. It is a two-year programme that focuses on developing students’ aptitude and critical thinking skills, helping them adapt to the learning environment in universities. Content of IB is broader and more difficult than that of the GCE A-levels. Students need to process very strong comprehension and writing skills to cope!
University Foundation Courses (usually last a year) provide an opportunity for students to progress to year one of undergraduate degrees in UK universities. Some of these programmes station in university campus, offering you full benefit as an UK university student!
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.
National Diploma are two-year vocational courses suitable for students who have little interest in traditional academic subjects. Focuses are on practical trainings of professional knowledge and skills for a specific profession, equipping students with industrial knowledge and practical skills that help them in work places.