Transition from English IGCSEs to Scottish Highers - Can Anyone FIll Me In?

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gwagon
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Hey guys,
I'm actually switching from the Edexcel IGCSEs and instead of doing the A Levels, I'll be doing the Scottish Highers instead.
I have absolutely no idea about the Highers so can anyone help me out and explain what all these fancy N3, N4 notations mean? And could you possibly compare it to the A Levels?

Thanks!
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Ecasx
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(Original post by gwagon)
Hey guys,
I'm actually switching from the Edexcel IGCSEs and instead of doing the A Levels, I'll be doing the Scottish Highers instead.
I have absolutely no idea about the Highers so can anyone help me out and explain what all these fancy N3, N4 notations mean? And could you possibly compare it to the A Levels?

Thanks!
Progression:
National 1
National 2
National 3
National 4
National 5
Highers
Advanced Higher's


I don't actually know if Nat 1 and 2 exist, but they're not relevant to you anyway so it wouldn't matter. National 5's would be considered GCSE equivalents, although Nat 5s are notably more difficult (typical 7-8 Nat 5s vs. 10-12+ GCSEs in some cases I believe). Highers are slightly more difficult than AS levels I've heard (typically people do 5 Highers). And likewise Advanced Highers are slightly harder than A-Levels, although they are considered equivalent. Another thing to note would be that Highers and Advanced Highers are not linked as (I believe) A-Levels and AS is (although of course, Higher teaches the basic concepts requited in Advanced Higher).

Regarding difficulty comparisons - nothing is from experience. It's merely what I've seen online from others.
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gwagon
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(Original post by Ecasx)
Progression:
National 1
National 2
National 3
National 4
National 5
Highers
Advanced Higher's


I don't actually know if Nat 1 and 2 exist, but they're not relevant to you anyway so it wouldn't matter. National 5's would be considered GCSE equivalents, although Nat 5s are notably more difficult (typical 7-8 Nat 5s vs. 10-12+ GCSEs in some cases I believe). Highers are slightly more difficult than AS levels I've heard (typically people do 5 Highers). And likewise Advanced Highers are slightly harder than A-Levels, although they are considered equivalent. Another thing to note would be that Highers and Advanced Highers are not linked as (I believe) A-Levels and AS is (although of course, Higher teaches the basic concepts requited in Advanced Higher).

Regarding difficulty comparisons - nothing is from experience. It's merely what I've seen online from others.
So you say that people normally take 5 Highers, would they continue to do five for the Advanced Highers, or would they drop some? How much subjects would you need to get into a reputable uni in Scotland?
How is it recognized internationally?
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GoldenAge
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(Original post by gwagon)
So you say that people normally take 5 Highers, would they continue to do five for the Advanced Highers, or would they drop some? How much subjects would you need to get into a reputable uni in Scotland?
How is it recognized internationally?
Most people take highers during fifth year, leaving sixth year for Advanced Highers or even more highers. Most Scottish universities ask for 4 highers at first sitting, however if you don't meet the requirements you can do more highers in sixth year to meet the second sitting conditions. If you want to go to university in England then you need about 3 Advanced Highers (the university systems are different in Scotland compared to the rest of the UK, I think).

If you're doing nothing but AHs then you do 3 (or four if you want to die), but a lot of people do a mix of advanced highers and highers during sixth years.

I'm not quite sure about the international recognition part. Best thing to do is to check entry requirements, I suppose.
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Asklepios
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(Original post by gwagon)
So you say that people normally take 5 Highers, would they continue to do five for the Advanced Highers, or would they drop some? How much subjects would you need to get into a reputable uni in Scotland?
How is it recognized internationally?
For entry into a Scottish university, you would need at least 4, but preferably 5 Highers in fifth year (year 12). Your admission will be mainly on the basis of your higher results. In sixth year (year 13), you can choose to go on to Advanced Higher level in some of your subjects or choose to study more Highers in new subjects. It would be advisable to take 3 Advanced Highers and/or Highers.

For English universities, you would need 4 or 5 Highers in fifth year and 3 Advanced Highers in sixth year. Note that unlike Scottish universities, your Advanced Highers will form the main criteria for admission in English universities. When looking at websites and prospectuses, the A-level entry requirement is roughly similar to the Advanced Higher one.


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LionKing1
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(Original post by Asklepios)
For entry into a Scottish university, you would need at least 4, but preferably 5 Highers in fifth year (year 12). Your admission will be mainly on the basis of your higher results. In sixth year (year 13), you can choose to go on to Advanced Higher level in some of your subjects or choose to study more Highers in new subjects. It would be advisable to take 3 Advanced Highers and/or Highers.

For English universities, you would need 4 or 5 Highers in fifth year and 3 Advanced Highers in sixth year. Note that unlike Scottish universities, your Advanced Highers will form the main criteria for admission in English universities. When looking at websites and prospectuses, the A-level entry requirement is roughly similar to the Advanced Higher one.



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The only uni i have seen needing 5 highers is Strathclyde ignoring medicine.
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Asklepios
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(Original post by LionKing1)
The only uni i have seen needing 5 highers is Strathclyde ignoring medicine.
You can get by with 4 in most places. But, especially for competitive courses, five would be better.


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gwagon
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Thanks for the info guys! I started school a few days ago and I seem to have missed an entire unit in every single subject! I've chosen math, physics, chemistry, business management & computing. I was stunned by the complexity of higher math and physics so I guess I have lots to catch up on and a lot of tutor visits lol! Can you guys recommend me some good text books for math, phys & chem? Thanks again!
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Rnk
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(Original post by gwagon)
Thanks for the info guys! I started school a few days ago and I seem to have missed an entire unit in every single subject! I've chosen math, physics, chemistry, business management & computing. I was stunned by the complexity of higher math and physics so I guess I have lots to catch up on and a lot of tutor visits lol! Can you guys recommend me some good text books for math, phys & chem? Thanks again!
Hello. I know this is an old post. But how did you get on with your highers and advanced highers in the end after transition from GCSE.
My son is planning to do the same so would be interested in knowing your experience of it
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TLML
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My two daughters did GCSEs and then changed schools and did Highers (5th year) and Advanced Highers (6th year). It wasn't easy to change to Higher as they missed the first couple of weeks of the Higher courses as their GCSEs finished much later than National 5s taken by their new classmates. There is also no natural link to the curriculums of GCSEs to Highers so they can have some topics with gaps in their knowledge but also have some easier topics. However with a bit of assistance in a couple of their subjects they both did really well. One got 5As at Higher and the other 4As and a B. They both did very well at Advanced Highers as well. I hope that helps.


(Original post by Rnk)
Hello. I know this is an old post. But how did you get on with your highers and advanced highers in the end after transition from GCSE.
My son is planning to do the same so would be interested in knowing your experience of it
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Rnk
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(Original post by TLML)
My two daughters did GCSEs and then changed schools and did Highers (5th year) and Advanced Highers (6th year). It wasn't easy to change to Higher as they missed the first couple of weeks of the Higher courses as their GCSEs finished much later than National 5s taken by their new classmates. There is also no natural link to the curriculums of GCSEs to Highers so they can have some topics with gaps in their knowledge but also have some easier topics. However with a bit of assistance in a couple of their subjects they both did really well. One got 5As at Higher and the other 4As and a B. They both did very well at Advanced Highers as well. I hope that helps.

That's very reassuring to hear that they did so well. Did you have to use additional tutors
Were they in the state or private system in Scotland
And what did they go on to study.
My son wants to study medicine. I'm also a Glasgow graduate in medicine from 1995
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TLML
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They were both private for GCSEs and moved to state for Highers and Advanced Highers.

They both ended up with tutors for English and Maths which seemed to have the biggest differences in curriculum. We learnt a lot with the eldest (who we didn't really know was struggling with English and Maths until prelims) and so transitioning the youngest was easier and she had tutors from the beginning.

The eldest is now doing French & Spanish at St Andrews. The youngest is now doing law at Edinburgh.

Good luck to your son. Just make sure he is on target for As from early on.

If you want any further info drop me a PM and I'll try to help.

(Original post by Rnk)
That's very reassuring to hear that they did so well. Did you have to use additional tutors
Were they in the state or private system in Scotland
And what did they go on to study.
My son wants to study medicine. I'm also a Glasgow graduate in medicine from 1995
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ABurgessJones
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We are planning a move to Scotland my son is currently just about to finish his first year IGCSE in Zambia is it advisable gor him to move and start Nationals and stay and write IGCSE here in May 2019 then move to Scotland for Highers?
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Seonaidb
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We are moving our daughter from GCSE to National 5s this summer and wondering if these are as well thought of as GCSEs academically. Also, we may have to move back to A levels depending on husband’s job. If she does National 5s, would she be able to transition to A levels later on?
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Labrador99
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(Original post by Seonaidb)
We are moving our daughter from GCSE to National 5s this summer and wondering if these are as well thought of as GCSEs academically. Also, we may have to move back to A levels depending on husband’s job. If she does National 5s, would she be able to transition to A levels later on?
National 5s are seen as equivalent qualifications to GCSEs, so yes, you can do national 5s and then transition to A levels. Obviously the differences in the system may mean that an A level probably doesn't follow on from a Nat 5 as 'naturally' as a Scottish higher would, but that's a transitional thing, rather than to do with the standard of the qualification. Hope this helps
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animalmagic
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The Scottish system is designed so that Nat5s lead onto Highers which lead onto Advanced Highers. Moving between the English and Scottish systems is not ideal as the contents do not match up leading to gaps in basic knowledge when moving up a level unfortunately. There are private schools in Scotland that do GCSEs and A levels which might be better if you have the funds, alternatively I would strongly suggest using private tutors to address the gaps if you change systems when your child is age 15-18.


(Original post by Seonaidb)
We are moving our daughter from GCSE to National 5s this summer and wondering if these are as well thought of as GCSEs academically. Also, we may have to move back to A levels depending on husband’s job. If she does National 5s, would she be able to transition to A levels later on?
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Nihao_there
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If it's useful for anyone, I did IGCSEs followed by Highers and I don't think it put me at any disadvantage at all. I'd missed two or three weeks in which they'd started the Higher courses, but that didn't seem to give me any problems. I had to read a section of the History textbook and catch up on a maths topic (it was only conversion into radians), but it honestly wasn't a big deal. When it came to essay subjects I can't really think of any way in which I was at a disadvantage, and I think I was significantly more confident with German than my classmates were.
I don't know how it would go the other way going into A levels, except that there's probably a significant difference in the way essays are marked (I actually really like Highers, but marking instructions for subjects like History can be a bit stupid. That problem seems to go away at AH level though).
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animalmagic
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I agree with the languages side, GCSE seems to be a very good preparation for Higher French and Spanish. However I would say English and Maths are the hardest to move from GCSE to Higher. You are right though, a big part of the problem is that Higher courses begin at the beginning of June and GCSE exams do not usually finish until towards the end of June so usually 2-3 weeks are missed at the beginning.


(Original post by Nihao_there)
If it's useful for anyone, I did IGCSEs followed by Highers and I don't think it put me at any disadvantage at all. I'd missed two or three weeks in which they'd started the Higher courses, but that didn't seem to give me any problems. I had to read a section of the History textbook and catch up on a maths topic (it was only conversion into radians), but it honestly wasn't a big deal. When it came to essay subjects I can't really think of any way in which I was at a disadvantage, and I think I was significantly more confident with German than my classmates were.
I don't know how it would go the other way going into A levels, except that there's probably a significant difference in the way essays are marked (I actually really like Highers, but marking instructions for subjects like History can be a bit stupid. That problem seems to go away at AH level though).
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Nihao_there
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(Original post by animalmagic)
I agree with the languages side, GCSE seems to be a very good preparation for Higher French and Spanish. However I would say English and Maths are the hardest to move from GCSE to Higher. You are right though, a big part of the problem is that Higher courses begin at the beginning of June and GCSE exams do not usually finish until towards the end of June so usually 2-3 weeks are missed at the beginning.
Out of interest, what do you think makes the English transition more difficult, because I didn't really notice a problem? I did find one slightly confusing gap in the maths syllabus that was in nat 5 but not the GCSE I sat in 2016 (idk what the new syllabus is like). Although both the GCSE and Nat 5 courses did plenty of trigonometry, when we did the wave function at Higher I found that the teachers expected us to already be familiar with using a CAST diagram to find out whether sin, cos, tan were positive or negative at different points in their wave functions (confusing explanation, image attached). That's the biggest gap I noticed and I was really confused that lesson, but I think you can catch up on it enough- just ask the teacher or someone else who's already familiar with it, or spend a lesson on it with a tutor if you have one (I didn't, but I was able to ask my dad for help with it). It's not a very big issue, but I think it would be a really useful one to know about in advance just so that you can look out for it and not think the wave function is even more complicated than it is!
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animalmagic
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English just seemed to have a totally different emphasis and there was one of the parts that hadn't been taught at GCSE, although I can't remember which one (I am a parent, not a student). Tutors helped with the change over in styles in English and gaps in maths though and all was good.



(Original post by Nihao_there)
Out of interest, what do you think makes the English transition more difficult, because I didn't really notice a problem? I did find one slightly confusing gap in the maths syllabus that was in nat 5 but not the GCSE I sat in 2016 (idk what the new syllabus is like). Although both the GCSE and Nat 5 courses did plenty of trigonometry, when we did the wave function at Higher I found that the teachers expected us to already be familiar with using a CAST diagram to find out whether sin, cos, tan were positive or negative at different points in their wave functions (confusing explanation, image attached). That's the biggest gap I noticed and I was really confused that lesson, but I think you can catch up on it enough- just ask the teacher or someone else who's already familiar with it, or spend a lesson on it with a tutor if you have one (I didn't, but I was able to ask my dad for help with it). It's not a very big issue, but I think it would be a really useful one to know about in advance just so that you can look out for it and not think the wave function is even more complicated than it is!
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