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  • Scottish Highers and Advanced Highers

TSR Wiki > A Guide to Further Education > Study Help > Exams and Qualifications > More Qualifications > Scottish Highers and Advanced Highers


Contents

Overview

Highers and Advanced Highers are the Scottish equivalents of A-Levels. Highers are considered the same as AS levels, Advanced Highers are considered slightly harder than A2 Levels. Highers are usually sat in the 5th year of secondary school (Year 12 in England) and Advanced Highers in their final year, 6th year (Year 13 in England).

The requirement for entry into most Scottish universities are Highers however for entry into English universities, applicants are expected to present Advanced Highers.

Advanced Highers usually require you to have passed; grades A or B, sometimes a C in Higher to allow you to sit the Advanced Higher of that given subject.

The examination board responsible for Scottish Qualifications are the SQA: Scottish Qualifications Authority

Highers

Requirements

1, 2 or 3 and in some cases 4 at Standard Grade OR A, B and in some cases a C at Intermediate 2 in the given subject.

People can also crash the subject, meaning they can take up the subject at Higher level even though they have never done Standard Grade/Intermediate at that level.

This is all dependent upon the school and the teacher of the given subject. Requirements vary between schools.

What subjects can be studied

Much like their English equivalents, Scottish Higher students can choose to study across a range of sciences, humanities, arts, languages and more vocational courses. Below is a list of all the subjects on offer.

Higher Subjects

  • Accounting
  • Administration
  • Architectural Technology
  • Art and Design
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Biology
  • Biotechnology
  • Building and Architectural Technology
  • Building services
  • Business Management
  • Care
  • Chemistry
  • Civil Engineering
  • Classical Greek
  • Classical Studies
  • Chinese Language and Culture
  • Computing
  • Construction
  • Dance
  • Drama
  • Early Education and Childcare
  • Early Years Care and Education
  • Economics
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Electronics
  • English
  • English for Speakers of Other Languages
  • Fabrication and Welding Engineering
  • French
  • Gaelic (Learners)
  • Gàidhlig (Gaelic)
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • German
  • Graphic Communication
  • History
  • Home Economics: Fashion and Textile Technology
  • Home Economics: Health and Food Technology
  • Home Economics: Lifestyle and Consumer Technology
  • Hospitality: Food and Drink Service
  • Hospitality: Professional Cookery
  • Hospitality: Reception and Accommodation Operations
  • Human Biology
  • Information Systems
  • Italian
  • Land Use
  • Latin
  • Managing Environmental Resources
  • Manufacturing
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechatronics
  • Media Studies
  • Modern Studies
  • Music
  • Personal and Social Education
  • Philosophy
  • Photography
  • Physical Education
  • Physics
  • Politics
  • Product Design
  • Psychology
  • Religious Education
  • Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies
  • Russian
  • Sociology
  • Spanish
  • Technological Studies
  • Travel and Tourism
  • Urdu

Methods of Assessment

In order for you to "qualify" to sit the final exam, you must pass the NABs, Nation Assessment Bank, which are essentially end-of-unit tests. In each subject, they are usually 3. Some subjects also have a percentage mark which is dedicated to your in class coursework.

Coursework marks however are more common in Advanced Highers.

A preliminary exam is often sat after the Christmas holidays which can act as your appeal if you don't do as well as you hoped in your final exam. The final exams are sat during May/June.

Grading

These are the standard boundaries and vary depending on the subject. They are subject to change each year depending on the results obtained by pupils that year and the difficulty of the paper; however, they will rarely change more than 5% up or down.

  • A - 70%
  • B - 60%
  • C - 50%
  • D - 45%
  • N/A - <45%

Also given are "Bands":

  • A1 - 85%
  • A2 - 70%
  • B3 - 65%
  • B4 - 60%
  • C5 - 55%
  • C6 - 50%
  • D7 - 45%
  • Band 8 (no award) - 40%
  • Band 9 (no award) - <40%

Many argue that these serve little use and often students don't find out their banding - the certificate issued on results day has only grades. However, the bands are used by some universities and can give students a better indication of how they performed; this is particularly true at the extreme end of the scale as both "A" and "no award" have wide ranges of marks attributed to them.

Advanced Highers

Requirements

A or B at Higher in the given subject. C is sometimes also accepted, this is all dependent upon the school and the teacher of the given subject. Requirements vary between schools.

What subjects can be studied

As with the English A2 equivalent, a slightly smaller list of subjects is available to take through to advanced higher level. Below is a list of subjects that can be studied.

Advanced Highers

  • Accounting
  • Administration
  • Applied Mathematics: Mechanics
  • Applied Mathematics: Statistics
  • Art and Design Enquiry: Design
  • Art and Design Enquiry: Expressive
  • Art and Design: Research and Appreciation
  • Biology
  • Building and Architectural Technology
  • Business Management
  • Chemistry
  • Civil Engineering
  • Classical Greek
  • Classical Studies
  • Computing
  • Drama
  • Economics
  • Electronics
  • English
  • French
  • Gaelic (Learners)
  • Gaidhlig
  • Geography
  • Geology(currently unavailable)
  • German
  • Graphic Communication
  • History
  • Home Economics — Fashion and Textile Technology
  • Home Economics — Health and Food Technology
  • Home Economics — Lifestyle and Consumer Technology
  • Information Systems
  • Italian
  • Latin
  • Managing Environmental Resources
  • Mathematics
  • Mechatronics
  • Media Studies
  • Modern Studies
  • Music
  • Philosophy (Unavailable as of 2007)
  • Physical Education
  • Physics
  • Politics
  • Product Design
  • Psychology
  • Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies
  • Russian
  • Sociology
  • Spanish
  • Technological Studies

Methods of Assessment

Similar to Higher, in order for you to "qualify" to sit the final exam, you must pass the NABs, Nation Assessment Bank, which are essentially end-of-unit tests. In each subject, they are usually 3. Some subjects also have a percentage mark which is dedicated to your in class coursework.

A preliminary exam is often sat after the Christmas holidays which can act as part of your appeal if you do not do as well as expected in your final exam. The final exams are sat during May/June.

Final exams typically last 3 hours.

Some subjects in Advanced Higher require written dissertations which make up a certain percentage of your overall grade such as;


Advanced Higher English - 40% is a written dissertation (personal study/comparison on literature), 30% is either Creative Writing folio OR a textual analysis essay(externally assessed) and the final 30% is comprised of a critical essay written during the final exam.


Advanced Higher Mathematics/Applied Mathematics - 100% based on external examination


Advanced Higher Modern Languages - 15% Based on Folio work. Speaking examination conducted by visiting examiner lsats for approximatley 20 minutes, worth 25% of overall mark.


Advanced Higher Physics, Biology & Chemistry - 20% based on a project written up, 80% on external examination

Grading

These are the standard boundaries and vary depending on the subject.

  • A - 75%
  • B - 60%
  • C - 50%
  • D - 45%
  • N/A - <45%

Results Day

Results day for Scottish students is on the 5th of August every year (before the 20th that A-Level students have).

Results are sent through the post but can also be sent through text/email at 8am-9am through MySQA.

Appeals

The examination board, SQA, Scottish Qualifications Authority, offer appeals if you fail to achieve your predicted grade in the final exam. Your predicted grade is a estimate of what your teacher thinks you will achieve based on coursework/NABs/tests & your prelim grade.

The SQA will inform the candidates' school/college who have applied for an appeal at Higher or Advanced Higher level whether or not they were successful in the last week of September.

Under the Data Protection Act, you can request to be sent all the information the SQA holds about you. They will send you out this information for a fee of £10, but since exam scripts are exempt from the act, they will not be sent.

Useful Resources/Links

Websites/Links/Online Resources

Past Papers - http://www.sqa.org.uk/pastpapers/findpastpaper.htm

2010 Exam Timetable - http://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/1439.74.html

MySQA information - http://www.mysqa.info/

LT Scotland - http://www.ltscotland.org.uk/nq/resources/index.asp


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