Are my grades good enough for GCSE?

School leaving certificates: The English degrees


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If you graduate from school in England but want to study in Germany, you have to familiarize yourself more closely with the English qualifications and the regulations for the »university entrance qualification« with us. Then you can confidently embark on this educational path.

The Abitur as a »general higher education entrance qualification« like in this country does not exist in England. Those who spend their upper school years at an English school (Lower and Upper Sixth Form) usually graduate with the so-called ALevel. A-Level is the abbreviation for General Certificate of Education (GCE) Advanced Level.

Most students do the A-Level in three, many also in four or more subjects. The subjects are tested on two levels: after the first year there is the Advanced Subsidiary (AS) degree, with the follow-up courses in the second year it reaches the A2 level. AS and A2 together form the A-Level qualification. The choice of subjects is up to the students and results from their experiences in the middle school as well as from their wishes for the study. Those who want to study medicine will choose biology, chemistry, biochemistry, and physics as subjects for the last two years of school, those who are interested in classical languages ​​and philosophy will choose Latin and Greek, probably also English and history as subjects.

The general education in England is given by the GCSEs (to which an O-Level was previously attached, O for ordinary or general) checked. The exam, roughly equivalent to the middle school leaving certificate, is taken in five to twelve subjects, depending on the requirements of the school. The A-Levels are comparable to advanced courses. The goal is depth and preparation for the requirements of the university. Those who do not have A-Levels in mathematics will not be able to apply to study mathematics or economics. The fact that university drop-out rates are lower at English universities could be due to this fact.

German universities, however, insist on meeting other criteria for admission. This includes, for example, proof of mathematics at the basic level of the upper level, especially for those who want to study natural sciences, but also economics. The rules for the recognition of foreign educational qualifications vary from state to state. Hence, it is best to do so before committing to the A-Level - Subjects to research what the requirements for admission to the degree are. Information is provided by good boarding school counseling and the certificate recognition offices of the federal states. Catching up exams is just as tedious as it is time-consuming.

The International Baccalaureate offers breadth and depth

Now there are a number of schools in England and further abroad - including all United World Colleges and all International Schools - which do not aim for A-Levels, but rather the IB as a qualification, the International Baccalaureate. Some schools in Germany also offer the IB. It was invented to free the students of international schools from the burden of constantly changing national curricula and exams. Students whose parents move from Tokyo to Lagos or Munich can confidently continue in the same system. The IB is an examination that combines the criteria of different school leaving examinations. It is the best mix of the old German Abitur and British ALevel depth. It is being developed by the Geneva-based International Baccalaureate Organization, a non-profit educational foundation whose programs are used by almost 1,500 schools worldwide.