SQA vs. AQA Watch

StudentForSQA
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What is SQA and what is AQA?
The SQA (Scottish Qualifications Authority) is the Education System in Scotland, taught in Schools and Colleges and sometimes in Year 1 Universities. For National five+ you have to sit exams and get a grade of A, B , C , D or no award.
The AQA (Assessment and Qualifications Alliance) is an exam board in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It has an educational purpose for students. You have to sit exams for GCSE+ and get awards of grade 9 (A*), 8 (High A), 7 (B+), 6 (B), 5 (C+/strong pass), 4 (C/average), 3 (fail/D), 2 (fail E/F)and 1 (fail/G).

Are GCSE and National fives equivalent? If so, which is harder?
Yes, GCSE’s and National fives are the same.
National five was the old standard grade or intermediate 2, which was changed a couple of years ago to Nationals. School vary the amount of subjects you can take in Scotland for any level of education you are studying. Different schools may sometimes have different numbers. National Fives have to be sat as one exam only within the time period given, the exam will contain the entire course you have studies over the year. However your assignment can take up to 25% / 100% of your final grade depending on how well you performed. This means approximately 75% of your final grade depends on the exam you sit. Resits are not allowed therefore you must do the course for another year if you fail.

GCSE’s are equivalent to the National five qualifications. Many students try to study for 10 or more GCSE’s. The exam has to be sat for the time period given. The exam contain 2 papers, paper 1 is sat in May, Paper 2 is sat in June. You are allowed to resit your GCSE exam plus some schools let you study GCSE’s alongside your A-levels.

In my opinion, National fives are slightly harder than GCSE’s with all the information gathered.
Last edited by StudentForSQA; 1 week ago
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AzureCeleste
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(Original post by StudentForSQA)
What is SQA and what is AQA?
The SQA (Scottish Qualifications Authority) is the Education System in Scotland, taught in Schools and Colleges and sometimes in Year 1 Universities. For National five+ you have to sit exams and get a grade of A, B , C , D or no award.
The AQA (Assessment and Qualifications Alliance) is an exam board in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It has an educational purpose for students. You have to sit exams for GCSE+ and get awards of grade 9 (A*), 8 (High A), 7 (B+), 6 (B), 5 (C+/strong pass), 4 (C/average), 3 (fail/D), 2 (fail E/F)and 1 (fail/G).

Are GCSE and National fives equivalent? If so, which is harder?
Yes, GCSE’s and National fives are the same.
National five was the old standard grade or intermediate 2, which was changed a couple of years ago to Nationals. School vary the amount of subjects you can take in Scotland for any level of education you are studying. Different schools may sometimes have different numbers. National Fives have to be sat as one exam only within the time period given, the exam will contain the entire course you have studies over the year. However your assignment can take up to 25% / 100% of your final grade depending on how well you performed. This means approximately 75% of your final grade depends on the exam you sit. Resits are not allowed therefore you must do the course for another year if you fail.

GCSE’s are equivalent to the National five qualifications. Many students try to study for 10 or more GCSE’s. The exam has to be sat for the time period given. The exam contain 2 papers, paper 1 is sat in May, Paper 2 is sat in June. You are allowed to resit your GCSE exam plus some schools let you study GCSE’s alongside your A-levels.

In my opinion, National fives are slightly harder than GCSE’s with all the information gathered.
I don't see how nat 5's are harder than GCSE's based on what you have said. From what I understand not all GCSE's allow for resits and many are just re-sat the following year (like with nat 5's). Also people can study a nat 5 along with highers/ advanced higher's.
Also most people only sit 8 nat 5's (or less) and at GCSE they do at least 10 for the most part- wouldn't it be harder to study for 10 subjects than 8? I struggle to see how you come to your conclusion
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123543
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From what I understand, the general consensus on the difficulty of exams comparatively is:

Hardest
Advanced Higher
A Level
Higher
GCSE and N5 basically the same
Easiest
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Fermion.
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(Original post by 123543)
From what I understand, the general consensus on the difficulty of exams comparatively is:

Hardest
Advanced Higher
A Level
Higher
GCSE and N5 basically the same
Easiest
Advanced higher and A2's are generally at the same difficulty and AS Level and Highers are meant to be at the same difficulty.

Hence why most universities (in England) would ask for advanced highers to make up for the A2 Levels.
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Kubsyy
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(Original post by StudentForSQA)
What is SQA and what is AQA?
The SQA (Scottish Qualifications Authority) is the Education System in Scotland, taught in Schools and Colleges and sometimes in Year 1 Universities. For National five+ you have to sit exams and get a grade of A, B , C , D or no award.
The AQA (Assessment and Qualifications Alliance) is an exam board in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It has an educational purpose for students. You have to sit exams for GCSE+ and get awards of grade 9 (A*), 8 (High A), 7 (B+), 6 (B), 5 (C+/strong pass), 4 (C/average), 3 (fail/D), 2 (fail E/F)and 1 (fail/G).

Are GCSE and National fives equivalent? If so, which is harder?
Yes, GCSE’s and National fives are the same.
National five was the old standard grade or intermediate 2, which was changed a couple of years ago to Nationals. School vary the amount of subjects you can take in Scotland for any level of education you are studying. Different schools may sometimes have different numbers. National Fives have to be sat as one exam only within the time period given, the exam will contain the entire course you have studies over the year. However your assignment can take up to 25% / 100% of your final grade depending on how well you performed. This means approximately 75% of your final grade depends on the exam you sit. Resits are not allowed therefore you must do the course for another year if you fail.

GCSE’s are equivalent to the National five qualifications. Many students try to study for 10 or more GCSE’s. The exam has to be sat for the time period given. The exam contain 2 papers, paper 1 is sat in May, Paper 2 is sat in June. You are allowed to resit your GCSE exam plus some schools let you study GCSE’s alongside your A-levels.

In my opinion, National fives are slightly harder than GCSE’s with all the information gathered.
Thank you for the explanation . However, I strongly disagree on nat 5s being hard more than gcses’. From looking qt the past papers from English language/literature are way harder since there are 40 markers, 20 markers which in comparison it is harder than nat 5s’ and the fact that other subjects have extraordinary marks (20, 30 markers etc) which puts AQA students on more pressure than ever and don’t get me started on A-levels lol.
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123543
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More marks don't necessarily mean an exam is harder. For example, the exams are varied and can consist of separate parts. Just looking at the socials - History and Modern Studies both incorporate source questions into the same exam as essays/questions which is a difficult timing balance.
(Original post by Kubsyy)
Thank you for the explanation . However, I strongly disagree on nat 5s being hard more than gcses’. From looking qt the past papers from English language/literature are way harder since there are 40 markers, 20 markers which in comparison it is harder than nat 5s’ and the fact that other subjects have extraordinary marks (20, 30 markers etc) which puts AQA students on more pressure than ever and don’t get me started on A-levels lol.
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StudentForSQA
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GCSE’s aren’t sat at the same time or day though for 1 exam. Our whole exam contains 2 papers which contain all units and have to be sat on the same day. You can predict how hard to work for paper 2, we just have to go with the flow.
(Original post by AzureCeleste)
I don't see how nat 5's are harder than GCSE's based on what you have said. From what I understand not all GCSE's allow for resits and many are just re-sat the following year (like with nat 5's). Also people can study a nat 5 along with highers/ advanced higher's.
Also most people only sit 8 nat 5's (or less) and at GCSE they do at least 10 for the most part- wouldn't it be harder to study for 10 subjects than 8? I struggle to see how you come to your conclusion
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AzureCeleste
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(Original post by StudentForSQA)
GCSE’s aren’t sat at the same time or day though for 1 exam. Our whole exam contains 2 papers which contain all units and have to be sat on the same day. You can predict how hard to work for paper 2, we just have to go with the flow.
But there is the advantage of coursework, so anything which doesn't go well on the day due to exam stress of the sitting can be partially made up for in coursework. Anyone doing GCSE's doesn't have that luxury if they just always crumble in an exam situation
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StudentForSQA
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The assignments are worth only 25% of the whole exam which is 100%. It’s not luxury really cause I’d rather we had a gap in between paper 1 and paper 2 not just a gap of a couple of minutes or something just straight on into paper 2. You could get tired which is a huge disadvantage.
(Original post by AzureCeleste)
But there is the advantage of coursework, so anything which doesn't go well on the day due to exam stress of the sitting can be partially made up for in coursework. Anyone doing GCSE's doesn't have that luxury if they just always crumble in an exam situation
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AzureCeleste
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(Original post by StudentForSQA)
The assignments are worth only 25% of the whole exam which is 100%. It’s not luxury really cause I’d rather we had a gap in between paper 1 and paper 2 not just a gap of a couple of minutes or something just straight on into paper 2. You could get tired which is a huge disadvantage.
True, but personally I found 20 minutes sufficient enough time to recuperate.
With GCSE's, yes you have the second paper but if you do badly on paper 1 you will feel much more pressure to do well on paper 2. By having the short gap there isn't much time to think about the exam as you are already thinking about the next paper and then go straight into that.

Also, overall national 5 exams are shorter in length than GCSE's which seems advantageous to me
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goldilocks12
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I think people believe that N5 is more difficult than GCSE partly because N5s are a mixture of old standard grade and old Higher, meaning they contain some content that could be considered AS level standard. Personally I think it’s pretty hard to judge given that none of us have sat both :dontknow:
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123543
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Was going to say this - nobody has sat both with the same level of knowledge to start with so it is unlikely there is a definitive answer.
(Original post by goldilocks12)
I think people believe that N5 is more difficult than GCSE partly because N5s are a mixture of old standard grade and old Higher, meaning they contain some content that could be considered AS level standard. Personally I think it’s pretty hard to judge given that none of us have sat both :dontknow:
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StudentForSQA
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That is true.
(Original post by goldilocks12)
I think people believe that N5 is more difficult than GCSE partly because N5s are a mixture of old standard grade and old Higher, meaning they contain some content that could be considered AS level standard. Personally I think it’s pretty hard to judge given that none of us have sat both :dontknow:
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StudentForSQA
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Yes you might find it stressful to focus on paper 2 if you haven’t done well in paper 1. But surely all that time shouldn’t give you stress as you said you would find 20 minutes (not 20 days but 20 minutes) enough time to recuperate. I’m pretty sure you would do much worse in an exam if you had done bad in paper 1 then went in for paper 2 15 to 20 minutes later than waiting another month. That month should give you enough time to recuperate if 20 minutes is enough for you. Someone also made a good point that Nat fives also contain some of the old higher works.
(Original post by AzureCeleste)
True, but personally I found 20 minutes sufficient enough time to recuperate.
With GCSE's, yes you have the second paper but if you do badly on paper 1 you will feel much more pressure to do well on paper 2. By having the short gap there isn't much time to think about the exam as you are already thinking about the next paper and then go straight into that.

Also, overall national 5 exams are shorter in length than GCSE's which seems advantageous to me
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StudentForSQA
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Our Nat five English essays are worth 20 marks. No problem though .
(Original post by Kubsyy)
Thank you for the explanation . However, I strongly disagree on nat 5s being hard more than gcses’. From looking qt the past papers from English language/literature are way harder since there are 40 markers, 20 markers which in comparison it is harder than nat 5s’ and the fact that other subjects have extraordinary marks (20, 30 markers etc) which puts AQA students on more pressure than ever and don’t get me started on A-levels lol.
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AzureCeleste
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(Original post by StudentForSQA)
Yes you might find it stressful to focus on paper 2 if you haven’t done well in paper 1. But surely all that time shouldn’t give you stress as you said you would find 20 minutes (not 20 days but 20 minutes) enough time to recuperate. I’m pretty sure you would do much worse in an exam if you had done bad in paper 1 then went in for paper 2 15 to 20 minutes later than waiting another month. That month should give you enough time to recuperate if 20 minutes is enough for you. Someone also made a good point that Nat fives also contain some of the old higher works.
20mins is more to refresh. It doesn't give you the time to think about and dwell over the exam wherelse the 20 days time does give you that time. I get to the point where I reckon I've failed the whole paper and got everything wrong, I don't think about that in the 20 minutes.
The old higher content wasn't necessarily hard, could've been easy which is why it is now part of the nat 5 course, doesn't really prove a lot that statement
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StudentForSQA
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When it’s time for the 20 minutes break, we actually ask each other about the questions we want to find out how we done in paper 1 as soon as we walk out for the break, plus I’m only talking about English and Maths here where we do get a break, cause we don’t in sciences or in any other subjects meaning it’s hard not to get tired. You have to give an 80 mark maths exam paper for GCSE, we have to give a 25 mark for paper 1 and then 110 marks for paper 2 in physics which adds up to 135 marks, meaning 55 marks more than the maths exam (over half of 80). We have 110 marks in our maths exam in total, with a 15 to 20 minute break. Your physics exam is 35 marks less than ours, in 1 sitting.
(Original post by AzureCeleste)
20mins is more to refresh. It doesn't give you the time to think about and dwell over the exam wherelse the 20 days time does give you that time. I get to the point where I reckon I've failed the whole paper and got everything wrong, I don't think about that in the 20 minutes.
The old higher content wasn't necessarily hard, could've been easy which is why it is now part of the nat 5 course, doesn't really prove a lot that statement
Last edited by StudentForSQA; 4 days ago
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AzureCeleste
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(Original post by StudentForSQA)
When it’s time for the 20 minutes break, we actually ask each other about the questions we want to find out how we done in paper 1 as soon as we walk out for the break, plus I’m only talking about English and Maths here where we do get a break, cause we don’t in sciences or in any other subjects meaning it’s hard not to get tired. You have to give an 80 mark maths exam paper for GCSE, we have to give a 25 mark for paper 1 and then 110 marks for paper 2 in physics which adds up to 135 marks, meaning 55 marks more than the maths exam (over half of 80). We have 110 marks in our maths exam in total, with a 15 to 20 minute break. Your physics exam is 35 marks less than ours, in 1 sitting.
I mean me and my friends didn't ask about the exam, maybe 1 or 2 comments and then we just cleared our minds.
I'm scottish as well btw and think our system is better than the english
Their exam may be less marks but they may have to do more work for the maths. Plus as I mentioned, their papers are longer in length timewise which means they are more likely to get tired out than us.
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StudentForSQA
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Yes but for an example the physics exams, there 1 multiple choice questions with huge writing takes up a whole page, we have 2 to 3 questions on a page for multiple choice. Same goes for the questions which are not multiple choice as well. The writing is huge whereas our exam papers writing is not huge. This makes their page number more which we would’ve had more pages if we increased our writing size.
(Original post by AzureCeleste)
I mean me and my friends didn't ask about the exam, maybe 1 or 2 comments and then we just cleared our minds.
I'm scottish as well btw and think our system is better than the english
Their exam may be less marks but they may have to do more work for the maths. Plus as I mentioned, their papers are longer in length timewise which means they are more likely to get tired out than us.
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AzureCeleste
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(Original post by StudentForSQA)
Yes but for an example the physics exams, there 1 multiple choice questions with huge writing takes up a whole page, we have 2 to 3 questions on a page for multiple choice. Same goes for the questions which are not multiple choice as well. The writing is huge whereas our exam papers writing is not huge. This makes their page number more which we would’ve had more pages if we increased our writing size.
This isn't a valid point at all?
You've just said the english use more paper in an exam than the scottish...wow

I said that they have to spend more physical time sitting their exam on one paper than we have to do with ours
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