Exam Information


GCSE means General Certificate of Secondary Education, and is an academic qualification taken by students aged 14-16 in the UK.
Students may study between 7 and 10 subjects at GCSE Level, including;
  • Maths
  • English Literature
  • English Language
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Information Technology
  • Geography
  • History

The aim of GCSEs is to give a good grounding in a variety of subjects, to help prepare for further education or for a career.

GCSEs are highly regarded by universities, colleges and employers in the UK and internationally.

The new system of grading is 9-1 instead of A*-G, with 9 being the highest and set above the previous A* level. This system allows for better differentiation, particularly for higher achieving students.


A-Level means Advanced Level, and is the traditional qualifications offered by schools and colleges for students aged between 16 and 19. They follow GCSEs and are generally more focused on academic subjects, compared to vocational qualifications like BTECs or NVQs.

There are more than 40 different A-Level subjects that you can take; either subjects previously studied at GCSE, or something new.

A-Levels are very highly valued by employers and universities, so they can open up lots of doors to further study and careers.

In order to meet the pass criteria for an A-Level you must obtain grade E or above, with the highest result being an A* Grade.

When thinking about higher education (university) the grades achieved at A-Level will be part of the requirements set by the university, along with language exams and potentially interviews.

International Baccalaureate

The International Baccalaureate (IB) assesses student work directly against the stated goals of the Diploma Programme courses. Assessment is both external (through exams and essays) and internal (by teacher). Advanced academic skills are measured including:
    • Analysing and presenting information
    • Evaluating and constructing arguments
    • Solving problems creatively
    • Retaining knowledge
    • Understanding key concepts
    • Applying standard methods
In addition to academic skills, assessment encourages an international outlook and intercultural skills. Students choose courses from within the following subject groups, at either Higher Level or Standard Level:
    • Studies in Language and Literature
    • Language Acquisition
    • Individuals and Societies
    • Sciences
    • Mathematics
    • The Arts
Students can choose if they wish to take an additional course in sciences, individuals and societies or language course instead of a course in the arts. At least 3 courses will be at Higher Level, with the rest at Standard Level.

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