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    • Thread Starter

    Hi everyone! I'm from the Netherlands but have been a (inactive) member of this site for some time now, because I'm interested in the school system in the United Kingdom. I really love the idea of the Grow your Grades, so I thought I would do it, just for myself to look at how I handle things, and maybe you guys can see how the Dutch school system works.

    Explanation Dutch Education system
    In the Netherlands, we work with levels of difficulty in High School. When you finish elementary school at the age of twelve, everyone makes a really important test, and together with yearly tests designed by a government funded company and advise from you teacher, you go to a certain high school. Sometimes people do the first year with two levels combined, but in the second year almost everyone has a certain level. I do gymnasium, which doesn't mean I go to a sports school, but that I follow the university preparation school, with latin and/or Greek. This doesn't mean it's a private school!
    Wikipedia gives the following explanation for a gymnasium
    In the Netherlands, gymnasium is the highest variant of secondary education, offering the academically most promising youngsters (top 5%) a quality education that is in most cases free (and in other cases at low cost). It consists of six years, after 8 years (including kindergarten) of primary school, in which pupils study the same subjects as their German counterparts, with the addition of compulsory Ancient Greek, Latin and Klassieke Culturele Vorming, Classical Cultural Education, history of the Ancient Greek and Roman culture and literature. Schools have some freedom in choosing their specific curriculum, with for example Spanish, Philosophy and "Technasium"

    If this isn’t really clear, this is the explanation from wikipedia.com
    “Education in the Netherlands is characterized by division: education is oriented toward the needs and background of the pupil. Education is divided over schools for different age groups, some of which are divided in streams for different educational levels. Schools are furthermore divided in public, special (religious), and general-special (neutral) schools,[1] although there are also a few private schools. The Dutch grading scale runs from 1 (very poor) to 10 (outstanding).[citation needed][clarification needed] The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), coordinated by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), ranks the education in the Netherlands as the 9th best in the world as of 2008, being significantly higher than the OECD average”

    In the Netherlands there are essentially only state schools. If you go to a private school, it means that your parents wanted you to follow a certain level of difficulty and you couldn't keep it together (because of your ability or your focus, doesn’t matter) so you needed extra help with small classes and more explanation. I know some people who do this, it doesn't mean you're stupid or something, just not that into school.

    Subjects grades and goals

    My goal is to get into Oxford to study PPE, and for that I need an eight in every subject. Here in the Netherlands you follow all 16 subjects in the first three years of high school, in the fourth year you drop some and in the fifth year you choose a packet of subjects plus some extra ones. I started this year (my fifth) with 14 subjects, while most people only have 9.
    I realised that this was too much for me, so I dropped:
    1. biology 2. chemistry 3. sociology 4. geography

    This means I have 10 subjects left are // grades last year // goal grades for this year
    1. latin // 7.9 // 8.0
    2. dutch // 7.1 // 7.5
    3. french // 7.5 // 8.0
    4. english // 8.0 // 8.5
    5. economics // 7.8 // 8.3
    6. philosophy // 7.4 // 8.5
    7. management and organisation //(this subject started this year) // 8.0
    8. PE (I get real grades for this and can fail a year if I don't do well) // 8.2 // 7.5
    9. history // 7.9 // 8.3
    10. calculus (a bit more advanced than the USA AP calculus) // 8.1 // 8.0

    I know those grades may not sound that well, but the grading system is completely different over here. The grades range from 1 to 10. The only way of getting a 10/10, is making literally zero mistakes. Many of my teachers promise to go to school in for example a kilt or in suit if anyone ever gets a 10 for one of the five big yearly tests for that subject. One teacher who has worked here for more than 30 years has never gone to school wearing a suit, because people don't get 10s. It doesn't happen.

    Besides that I participate in an honours programme, ELOS (European learning environment at school), DELF (an international french class) and the CPE class (advanced English class, as prep for the CPE Cambridge exam). Because we start at the age of 12 with an advanced program, in the end each Gymnasium student will be at the same level of ability of an A2-level student, except for English of course.

    Please ask questions if something isn't clear or you want to know something about me/the Netherlands!
    • Thread Starter

    Hi everyone!
    Since I started pretty late into the year, I'll first tell you what I've done so far, what kind of grades I've received, why my grades I get the coming two years are really important and what I'm going to do the rest of the year

    Our years are split up into 5 semesters, and at the end of each semester you have a testweek, which means you have tests for every subject (some subjects that only a few people follow like philosophy are outside the testweek). Each test counts for a percentage of your final school-exam grade. At the end of the final year of high school (for me this means 12th grade) we make a central exam for the subjects we took (kinda like A2 levels). The central exams count for 50% of your final grade, so that means that the tests I make at school these two years count for the other 50%. This has as a result that *every single test* is important, and can be a deciding factor in your life.

    I'm receiving my grades for the first test week online as I write, but so far I got:
    1. latin 8.4
    2. dutch 7.7
    3. french ??
    4. english 8.5
    5. economics 7.4
    6. philosophy 9.4
    7. management and organisation ??
    8. calculus 7.8

    I'm really happy with these grades, because quite a lot of people failed their Dutch, economics and history tests, so especially compared to that my grades are pretty high. I really have to focus on economics this year though, because my teacher doesn't even understand what he's teaching himself.... Still really nervous for French!

    This year I have quite a lot of trips planned.
    I'm going to Nantes (France) for a week, and after that a student from that school will come to me for a week. I'm also going to Napels (Italy) for Latin, and Edinbrugh for ELOS. Besides that I've to arrange an internship for ELOS in an international environment, and I'm hoping to get one in the UK. Besides that I have not a lot of test in the next testweek (week before christmas), but the testweek in March is going to be hell. I can't prepare for that yet, so that's annoying, but I'll probably be summarising a lot of the stuff I do this semester but have to learn for the next semester as prep-preparation. I'll try to post something about the way I learn different kind of things in the coming week!

    this is really interesting!
    thanks for the explanation on how the dutch school system works

    i will be sure to follow this thread! you can check out mine if you want haha
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    • Thread Starter

    (Original post by clouddbubbles)
    this is really interesting!
    thanks for the explanation on how the dutch school system works

    i will be sure to follow this thread! you can check out mine if you want haha
    Thank you! I'll check it out!
    • Thread Starter

    Hello everyone!
    It’s Monday unfortunately, and today was as could be expected. Uneventful and boring. Except for the fact that my Latin teacher had an awful mood and now I have detention. It’s because I didn’t know what the subject was in a sentence. That’s it. Literally. But oh well, it’s in the past.

    Tomorrow I have my management and organisation test, and I feel absolutely unprepared. I didn’t have any time this weekend because of a debate-day and that kind of stuff, and the book is super vague and weird. I think I’ll manage, but because of my lack of time I wasn’t able to make my maths homework either, so that means another hour of detention. I swear, normally i make all my homework and stuff, but I’ve been overwhelmed by everything lately.

    I’ll do an update about what I’ve been doing regarding my subjects later.
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    • Thread Starter

    Hi everyone! all my grades are back!
    subject // goal // grades test-week 1:
    1. latin // *8.0 // 8.4
    2. dutch *7.5 // 8.0
    3. french *8.0 // 8.5
    4. english 8.5 // 8.5
    5. economics *8.3 // 7.4
    6. philosophy 8.5 // 9.4
    7. management and organisation 8.0 // 7.4 (from now one I'll refere to this as M&O)
    8. history *8.3 // 8.7
    9. calculus 8.0 // 7.8
    So the subjects I'll have to work on, are mainly M&O, economics and calculus. Luckily calculus is easier this term, and I have a meeting with my economics/M&O teacher about how to better prepare for the next tests. Just for you guys to compare the grades with: a 7.0/7.5 is an A* most of the time, but of course this differs since we don't work with percentages.*

    I'll now elaborate on how I prepared for these tests, also for me to reflect on how I can do better next time:

    This test-week latin kinda sucked. We had to learn more than 600 words, and 24 pages of grammar, and a letter from Seneca. I started a few weeks prior by making flashcards. I take a really long time to remember words, so I put a lot of effort in this. About three days prior I started learning the grammar and working out the verbs and other words of the letter.*For me, this test was just a lot of memorising, not a lot of learning, which I think sucks.

    Next time i would start earlier with memorising and not spend all my time on preparing myself for the memorisation process.

    This test was about poetry. To be honest I just read trough all the stuff one time and made the test of last year. I originally had a 7.2 but the test was way too difficult so the gave everyone 0.8 extra!

    Next time I would make a summary and practise more.

    We had to write an informal letter. The subject would be told us only at the start of the test, so we had to be prepared for everything. We had about 74 sentences we could learn, and we were allowed to use our dictionary. In my dictionary the verbs and grammar rules are included so that made everything a lot easier. According to my teacher it was “a delight to read my letter”. I honestly don’t really know how I did because I find French grammar pretty difficult.

    I’m honestly really happy with this grade and wouldn’t do anything different next time.

    This was a listening test. I watched some British youtubers the hour before the test. I could have made an example test but really I’ve followed school in the USA, it’s not like it’s really complicated. The only reason I didn’t do sooo well was because I found the subject really interesting and lost my concentration (Machiavelli)

    Next time I would go the sleep earlier the night before the test and do a practice test

    My teacher is really vague, so most of my preparation time was spend on finding out WHAT I actually had to learn. Once I figured that out I read trough the definitions once and made a summary. I actually started too late on this so this was all my prep.

    Next time I would ask my teacher about some more explanation about what to learn and make my homework trough the term.

    I LOVE PHILOSOPHY. I truly enjoy learning this stuff. To learn this I read it trough, prepare questions about what I don’t understand yet, ask them in or after class and make a summary.
    Nothing different to be honest.

    Management and organisation
    I didn’t really prepare for this except reading it trough and making a bit of the homework
    Next time I’ll make the homework trough the term and do practise-tests

    Read the text, combined it with my notes, made a text-summary, after that a summary using arrows

    Next time I would spend more time on learning dates

    Made all the end-assignment, a diagnostic test and learned to formulas

    Next time I have to spend more time on this. That I got this grade was based on luck, not my ability. When I make homework I should focus on my mistakes and why I made them, so I can really learn from them.

    Thank you for reading and catch you later
    Doei / bye
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    • Thread Starter

    Hi people who are reading this (as far as I can see, not that many lol)

    This term for me stands out because of a lack of homework. I can genuinely relax even though it’s not a holiday. That means I can catch up on my personal reading list as well:
    * the worldly philosophers by Robert Heilbroner
    * political philosophy by Jonathan Wolff
    * think by Simon Blackburn

    I want to finish them before the end of the Christmas holiday, and so far I’m almost finished with political philosophy and started think. I find political philosophy really interesting, and it goes way more in depth than my philosophy classes. Think is so far written in a way I personally don’t really like, but the information is interesting anyway.

    On to my personal life:
    I have to find an internship at a place they speak English (help is welcome)
    I’m going to be a judge at the Dutch championship for debating this Saturday, which I’m pretty excited about
    I went to the hospital to check my skin because it doesn’t look good and it hurts, got a collection of 9 different crèmes and stuff now for every situation I could imagine.
    It’s almost sinterklaas (it’s the thing that was the inspiration for Santa Claus, it can be perceived as racist but for me it’s also the happiest time of the year)

    And some more stuff but I’ll tell you guys later.

    What I’m doing in (the interesting) classes right now:
    History: 1000-1500 (late Middle Ages)
    Philosophy: metaphysics
    Calculus: log(****.i.dont.understand) stuff
    English: Macbeth, so far so good, but I find it pretty weird... and I miss most of my English lessons because of extra-curricular activities so I’m not really sure what’s going on.

    Some information about the way I work:
    I can’t work in my bedroom, I’m completely unable t focus, so I work in the living room. If my little brother isn’t being a complete pain in the ass it’s okay. I try to write everything that I have to learn, because that way I seriously have to think about each sentence + learn it better. I have a special notebook for summaries I use in the weeks leading up to the test week.

    I’ll tell you more about my way of summarising stuff and taking notes later!

    Have a nice day/ heb een goede dag
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    • TSR Support Team
    • Clearing and Applications Advisor

    This sounds interesting! I know absolutely nothing about the Dutch education system I have to admit, you've just taught me a lot though. Good luck, look forward to see how you get on!
    • Thread Starter

    Hi everyone!

    Even though I'm an extrovert, I don't really like big groups or party's with loud music. That means that on my free friday evening I'm at home, talking to my parents their friends and making some maths homework. For some time I've been thinking about sharing my note-taking process with you guys. I'll break this up in what I regard are the same sort of subjects:

    Economics, history, philosophy and management and organisation
    My history teacher explains everything with stories. He doesn't have powerpoints, but sometimes writes things down on a smartboard. Even though his way of talking makes me remember most stuff without even learning it, I realise that trying to write down everything he says works for me when I'm trying to remember his explanation. I can just grab my notebook and look trough the words I wrote down. This does mean that there are a lot of arrows though, and it probably wouldn't make any sense to someone else. I'll include a picture of when he talks (that's in Dutch, sorry) and when we watched a documentary. Since it was in English I made most notes in English, so that'll make more sense to you, even though it doesn't really represented my note taking since it's way more organised than normal.
    To be honest, philosophy is for me kinda the same, but the teacher makes powerpoints, so I write down what he says and look up the powerpoint later when I'm learning everything. For philosophy I always try to look up some background information when I'm learning, and asking questoins in class makes me understand everything before the test.

    Since I have the same teacher for economics and management and organisation, I'll put it under one explanatin.
    This teacher explains through examples, and even though it makes everything pretty clear, it isn't very useful regarding taking notes. Since we also don't have a book for economics, it becomes quite stressful to find the stuff I have to learn. That's why I always copy his definitions, and try to write down his important sentences when he summarises stuff. The same for M&O, however, we do have a book for that, so I mostly just try to make little graphics about what he explained and ask a lot of questions to clarify everything.
    The only problem I have with econ and m&o, is that even though the homework is important, it isn't really interesting and quite a lot. Most of the time I'm motivated to make my homework, just not for this subject. This weekend I'm planning on catching up on this.

    Math is of course not a lot of note taking, but I often make a short summary of the theory before making the homework, so I can easily look back at it. Right now we are at a pretty confusing part of differentiation and I'm just hoping the explanation of my teacher coming wednesday will clear things up.
    When I don't understand something about maths I often watch youtube videos where teachers explain it in a different way, or look at how the example assignments were made. More often than not, I can work out the problem that way.

    Latin and French
    Just paying attention in class and taking notes while reading stuff about what the teacher says helps a lot, but it's also important to mark stuff that he/she says is "really important" or "quite difficult" or "this could be a good test-question". LEARN THIS BEFORE THE TEST. Remember it. Memorize it by heart. Don't question this, because these sentences are not random: they are big warning lights that it will be a test question, and that it will be something you can't just figure out.

    I didn't have that much English lessons because of my debating/illness/being a mentor, so the only thing I can say about our reading of Macbeth that taking pictures of a lot of friends and combining those will hopefully make a good studyguide.

    I think this was everything, I'll update if I remember I skipped a subject.
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    • Thread Starter

    Hi people,
    Next week I’m going to Nantes for an exchange. This means I will miss 6 days of school. I’m going to try to avoid stress afterwards, and make sure I’ve finished all my homework beforehand. Because of this I won’t be updating this the coming two weeks.
    Thank you for understanding!
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