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What's harder: GSCEs or Nationals?

People seem to sit like 9 GSCEs and get 7 A*s and 2 As, but I feel as though Nationals are a lot harder. However, I may be wrong. What are everyone's opinions?

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Reply 1
National 5 < GCSE < Higher < A-Levels < Advanced Higher
So what makes you say National 5 isn't as hard as GCSE?
They're classed equally. It depends on the subject really, GCSE's seem like they cover a lot more content. After looking at GCSE maths past papers and revision guides I would personally say that it looks easier than national 5 maths as it covers things which seem a lot more basic, whereas nat 5 doesn't. The exams are in units as well so I don't know how that changes things. However, some subjects seem a little more difficult that national 5.

My sister is going to be moving to England and will be doing GCSE's which is different to me, so I'll see how it goes for her haha.
Hi!

It is widely regarded that Scottish Qualifications are of a higher level than their English Qualifications within education although there are a few misconceptions. So GCSEs<Nat 5s, AS<Highers and A-Levels<Advanced Highers. The best comparision that can be found for them is through using the UCAS points tariffs because UCAS compares the qualifications in depth to produce non-bias guidelines for univeristys. You can compare them here -
https://www.ucas.com/ucas/undergraduate/getting-started/entry-requirements/tariff/calculator

It is also important to remember that while the major English Qualification (A-Level) is taken over 2 years, the Advanced Higher and Higher courses are take over 1 year. Because of this, the AH qualification demands around 70% over the course for an A while for A-Level students this would only be a B. Going back to UCAS points however, this would be worth 56 points and 40 points respectively. Again, this is because the AH is regarded as more difficult not only because they are taken over a shorter period of time but because they are more advanced content wise. For an A level student to get 56 points, they would have to achieve 90% over the whole course or an A*. Because of this differance, universities tend to be happy to take AH students on as Year 2s in subjects while more A-Level students would still have to take year 1.

Hope this helps!
Original post by Scottie1058
Hi!

It is widely regarded that Scottish Qualifications are of a higher level than their English Qualifications within education although there are a few misconceptions. So GCSEs<Nat 5s, AS<Highers and A-Levels<Advanced Highers. The best comparision that can be found for them is through using the UCAS points tariffs because UCAS compares the qualifications in depth to produce non-bias guidelines for univeristys. You can compare them here -
https://www.ucas.com/ucas/undergraduate/getting-started/entry-requirements/tariff/calculator

It is also important to remember that while the major English Qualification (A-Level) is taken over 2 years, the Advanced Higher and Higher courses are take over 1 year. Because of this, the AH qualification demands around 70% over the course for an A while for A-Level students this would only be a B. Going back to UCAS points however, this would be worth 56 points and 40 points respectively. Again, this is because the AH is regarded as more difficult not only because they are taken over a shorter period of time but because they are more advanced content wise. For an A level student to get 56 points, they would have to achieve 90% over the whole course or an A*. Because of this differance, universities tend to be happy to take AH students on as Year 2s in subjects while more A-Level students would still have to take year 1.

Hope this helps!


Great answer! Puts things into perspective really, thanks for the answer!
My maths teacher said the same thing but only for maths, not sure about the subjects as he has taught both and was an examiner for both qualifications.
Original post by SocialStudiesETC
Great answer! Puts things into perspective really, thanks for the answer!


Why thank you :smile:
Here's a more detailed breakdown of how the English and Scottish grades compare (Wikpedia I know but having read over this, it seems to be correct) -
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Qualifications_Certificate

(Note the at UCAS points are from an older system)
(edited 7 years ago)
I've recently moved from England and I was doing GCSEs and am now doing nat 5's and 1 higher and personally I find nat 5's a lot easier than GCSEs were.
(edited 6 years ago)
N5’s are said to be harder than GSCEs because they are a mix of the old higher and standard grade but I think it really depends on the subject
Regarding the difficulty of qualifications, does it really matter? Education = Education. We can't assume that the Scottish Standard is better than the English Standard, through the comparison of one variable. Although, we are discussing the difficulty of the National 5 compared with GCSEs, its wholey down to subjectiveness, and using statistics can provide an unreliable perspective towards this. Primarily because statistics can be influenced by multiple factors... Britain does have much better schools such as Eton, Harrow, Winchester, Westminster, Radley, Leicester Grammar, Tonbridge, Uppingham and etc...
National 5 is a 1 year course, meaning there is less content (but more understanding required) in the final exam. However, the content is far more in-depth and students are expected to have an in-depth knowledge of what they learn.
GCSE is a two year course meaning they learn lots more information but the final exam is less in depth as there is more content for the examiners to condense.
Higher is like the first year of A-level, and Advanced Higher is similar to the second year of A-level but more intense.
I've been in both education systems. I know this is from 5 years ago, but I thought I might as well reply lol. GCSEs are harder than Nationals. You have two years of content to cover, so more of it, which also allows there to be more difficult content but people also generally take more, and there is greater distinction between grades. Sometimes the subject does have an impact, but I don't think there is a subject which is harder at Nat 5. I found Higher Chemistry/Physics a lot easier than other people taking those subjects after doing trilogy at GCSE which is the one of the
Why is everyone saying that nat 5s are harder?? I am a GCSE student and we were doing Nat 5 past papers as a 'warm up' at the start of the course (age 14) and getting around 90%. GCSE are much harder.
GCSE are easier than Nationals. The courses you cover are also very different to what we cover. GCSE papers are a joke because they are that easy. I sat my Nat 5 maths earlier this month and had done all of the SQA papers and decided to do the GCSE ones, and the results I got in the GCSE papers were higher then what I got in the SQA ones, because they were that easy.
(Original post by ExamYearsStudent)Why is everyone saying that nat 5s are harder?? I am a GCSE student and we were doing Nat 5 past papers as a 'warm up' at the start of the course (age 14) and getting around 90%. GCSE are much harder.

what nat 5 past papers were you doing because gcses look easier from a scottish perspective
Original post by ExamYearsStudent
Why is everyone saying that nat 5s are harder?? I am a GCSE student and we were doing Nat 5 past papers as a 'warm up' at the start of the course (age 14) and getting around 90%. GCSE are much harder.


Nat 5s are a entirely different course to gsce there was no way you were going past papers and getting 90% with the nat 5 marking scheme when the courses were so different. Take a look at gsce biology and compare it to nat 5 - nothing particularly alike really
Original post by 1420787
National 5 < GCSE < Higher < A-Levels < Advanced Higher


how are A levels easier than AHs
someone explain
Original post by cantdomathlikefr
how are A levels easier than AHs
someone explain


Advanced highers are equivalent to 1st year uni?
Reply 19
Original post by fionaapple
Advanced highers are equivalent to 1st year uni?


First year at a Scottish uni (4 year degree) is also very different and less intense than 1st year at an English uni (3 year degree).

Everything from NAT5 to final year at uni are completely different education systems, different durations and ages for each step and different levels of difficulty - they are simply not directly comparable.

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