Can I get a brief description of the UK education system?

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    Hi all!

    I'm applying (mostly through UCAS) to study in the U.K., and I was wondering if someone can help clarify what the education system is like over there.

    Here in the U.S., we have elementary schools (k-6), middle (7-8), and high school (9-12) with many students going to college/university afterwards.

    What is the distinction between college and uni over there? Here, the term is used interchangeably. And what are A Levels?

    Thank you all in advance!
    -Julianne
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    (Original post by Ussop)
    Hi all!

    I'm applying (mostly through UCAS) to study in the U.K., and I was wondering if someone can help clarify what the education system is like over there.

    Here in the U.S., we have elementary schools (k-6), middle (7-8), and high school (9-12) with many students going to college/university afterwards.

    What is the distinction between college and uni over there? Here, the term is used interchangeably. And what are A Levels?

    Thank you all in advance!
    -Julianne
    In the UK college and sixth form are similar (16-18+), which is where you do A-levels. They're a 2-year qualification which is a level above GCSE which we do from year 9-11 (13-16). Uni is where you do degree-level qualifications.
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    Would you like a run down of the Scottish system, or would that just complicate matters? We have a seperate system, and it can be confusing for folk who haven't come through it!
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    The only difference is that we finish "high school" at 16 (year 11) and then usually go to a separate college/sixth-form for A-levels, but that's optional and some people just go straight into work. Then when you've passed your A-levels you apply to uni through UCAS or take a gap year and do it later.
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    (Original post by Ussop)
    Hi all!

    I'm applying (mostly through UCAS) to study in the U.K., and I was wondering if someone can help clarify what the education system is like over there.

    Here in the U.S., we have elementary schools (k-6), middle (7-8), and high school (9-12) with many students going to college/university afterwards.

    What is the distinction between college and uni over there? Here, the term is used interchangeably. And what are A Levels?

    Thank you all in advance!
    -Julianne
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Educat...United_Kingdom
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    (Original post by ax12)
    In the UK college and sixth form are similar (16-18+), which is where you do A-levels. They're a 2-year qualification which is a level above GCSE which we do from year 9-11 (13-16). Uni is where you do degree-level qualifications.

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    (Original post by Ussop)
    Hi all!

    I'm applying (mostly through UCAS) to study in the U.K., and I was wondering if someone can help clarify what the education system is like over there.

    Here in the U.S., we have elementary schools (k-6), middle (7-8), and high school (9-12) with many students going to college/university afterwards.

    What is the distinction between college and uni over there? Here, the term is used interchangeably. And what are A Levels?

    Thank you all in advance!
    -Julianne
    A level are similar to APs. Except they're the norm. Most people take 3 A levels and follow that with a 3 year degree (in a specific subject - the idea of choosing your major while partway through your degree is alien to the English/welsh/NI university system. The Scottish system is much closer to the US model with 4 year degrees (and those with the right A levels or Advanced Higher grades able to skip the first year)).
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    (Original post by sherbet_lemons7)
    Would you like a run down of the Scottish system, or would that just complicate matters? We have a seperate system, and it can be confusing for folk who haven't come through it!
    Hi sherbert_lemons7! I would actually love a rundown of the Scottish system, as I have also applied to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland!
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    Thank you everyone for your help! It's so difficult to keep things straight when I've gone to school in South Korea, and the U.S. while trying to attend uni in the U.K.
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    (Original post by Ussop)
    Hi sherbert_lemons7! I would actually love a rundown of the Scottish system, as I have also applied to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland!
    Oooh fantastic! :gasp: It's a great place- I have friends that studied there and know someone who teaches. What are you applying to do?

    In Scotland, you start primary school aged roughly 5, and are in what's called 'Primary 1' or 'P1'. You leave in P7, aged roughly 11 or 12 and move on to secondary school. You start in 'Secondary 1' or 'S1' at around 12 and this goes up to S6, which is your final year of school. Depending on when your birthday lies, you can leave school after S4, when you turn 16.

    Exam wise, you have lots and lots and lots of options. When I was at school you first did a mixture of Standard Grade exams (these were graded 1-7, with 1 being the best and 7 a fail. Grade 1 and 2 were called Credit, 3 and 4 General and 5 and 6 Foundation. The three levels were seperate exam papers. Everyone sat the General paper, and then you sat either Credit or Foundation based on your predicted grades and performance throughout the year) and the Intermediate exams (Intermediate 2 was roughly equivenlent to Standard Grade Credit, and Intermediate 1 to Standard Grade General. These were graded A, B, C etc. There were other options like Access 3, Access 2 and Access 1 which were a bit lower down the chain than Standard Grade Foundation). When you had achieved a Standard Grade Credit pass (so grade 1 or 2), or an Intermediate 2 pass at A or B, you moved on to Highers and then if you really wanted, Advanced Highers.
    However. In the past couple of years the system has changed to the very controvesial "Curriculum for Excellence". Roughly speaking, Standard Grade Foundation has been replaced by 'National 3', General by 'National 4' and Credit by 'National 5'. The Highers have been revised and some of the content changed. You can still then go on and do Advanced Highers if you're really keen.
    Another however. College in Scotland isn't exactly the same as elsewhere. They are geared towards offering more practical courses (but by no means less difficult!). You can do apprenticeships, access courses, NCs (National Certificates), HNCs (Higher National Certificates), HNDs (Higher National Diplomas), Professional Development Awards, night classes, evening classes, art classes, first aid- and so on and so on. You can also do a lot of the qualifications offered in schools at college too. In your senior years at secondary school (S4, S5 and S6) there are often opportunities to attend a college for a couple of afternoons a week to do a course that you couldn't do at school.

    You can apply for University in S5 or S6 (or after you've left school) with Highers, and the undergrad degrees in Scotland are 4 years long. However, if you have relevant Advanced Highers, or a HND from college you can sometimes apply to skip the first year of the degree.

    There's more to it than that, but I don't want to bore you any further. But feel free to ask anyhting.

    This link here
    http://www.scqf.org.uk/framework-diagram/Framework.htm
    is a really good interactive explainer about all the different qualifications old and new. Just hover your mouse over any of the boxes for more information.
 
 
 
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