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 equivalent to the Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination (HKALE) – both of which are completed in F.6 and F.7. The first year of A-level 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 with the more demanding curriculum.
UK foundation programmes provide an opportunity for students to progress to year one of undergraduate degrees in UK universities. UK foundation programmes usually last for one year. Some of the UK foundation programmes station in university campus, offering you full benefit as an UK university student. Find out more about UK foundation courses choices and pathways.
The General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) qualification is equivalent to the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE) qualification – both of which are completed in F.4 and F.5 – while GCSE poses less restriction on subject choices which allows students 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 A* to C and students are expected to gain a minimum of 5Cs to qualify for the GCE A-levels examinations.
National Diploma and Higher National Diploma are 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. The qualification of National Diploma is equivalent to GCE A-levels, after which students can choose to progress to Higher National Diploma or year 1 of a traditional undergraduate degree. The qualification of Higher National Diploma is equivalent to that of year 1 and 2 of undergraduate degree, after which students are able to progress to Year 2 or Year 3 of an undergraduate degree.