How the UK Education system works


The United Kingdom (UK) consists of four countries, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. All follow a system which educates children from age 5 until they go onto University at age 18 or 19.
There are some minor differences in Scotland and Northern Ireland, but the same broad outlines apply :

In approximately the 14 – 16 age range most British schools still use the I/GCSE examination ( International / General Certificate of Secondary Education ) which students take in 8-10 subjects, with a wide choice of subjects available. Students are not required to commit themselves to a science or arts stream at this stage. After GCSE’s, in the 16 – 18 age range, the majority of schools still use the A-level examination. The International Baccalaureate (IB) is offered by some British schools too, and gains wider international recognition because a broader range of subjects are studied.




GCSE is the name given to the examinations and the final years of high school after 11 years (5-16 years) of compulsory education. The student must take the GCSE exam on completing the education required by the state. Students who wish to continue their higher education must also take this GCSE exam.




After the GCSE examination, the A Level program is an important preparation step for university entrance. It serves as a bridge between high school and university. A Level courses include Business, Politics, Media Studies, Economics, Computing, Psychology, Mathematics, Graphic Design, Health and Social Care, Law and many more. The A Level program accepts students aged 15.5 and over. Students are required to have a GCSE or equivalent educational background. A Levels are a two-year program. 4 courses are chosen by the students for the field they would like to pursue a career in (students who want to improve themselves can choose more courses, but for universities, 3 courses are sufficient). In the first year (Lower Sixth) of A Level, these 4 courses are taken and these courses are handled intensively. At the beginning of the second year (Upper Sixth), the number of these courses is reduced to 3 and the student now has an idea of the area he / she will choose at university. More analysis and synthesis methods are used throughout the year. At the end of the 2nd year, the student takes the exam in these 3 courses. The exam results vary from A+ ( the highest ) to E ( which is the lowest )



IB (International Baccalaureate)

The IB program is a pre-university qualification that provides international recognition. Students who wish to have their diplomas recognized by top international universities in different countries as for
example the USA or Canada, can benefit from the IB Program. A student enrolled in the International Baccalaureate program selects 6 courses. Three of these are selected as Standard Level and the other 3 as Higher Level. The courses chosen as Higher Level are given more intensively.


The courses to be taken are selected from 6 main topics:
• Language and Literature courses
• Language acquisition ( second language )
• Individuals and Societies: History, Business, Economics , Philosophy, Geography, etc.
• Sciences: Biology, Physics, Chemistry
• Mathematics: Mathematics, Mathematical Studies, Advanced Mathematics
• The Arts and Specialisation: Cinema, Music, Theater and visual arts •


Apart from these, there are also courses that students from the International Baccalaureate program have to take :


Creation, Action, Service (CAS)

Compulsory course of the IB program in which students complete a project related to three concepts. Students cannot get IB diploma in 2 years without fulfilling this 150 hour period. It requires students to have various creative activities, physical activities and social services other than course. The three concepts are :
– Creativity: Artistic activities such as theater and painting
– Action: Sports, basketball, volleyball, sporting activities
– Service: Assistance to elderly people and orphans, a number of social activities such as planting trees


Theory of Knowledge (TOK)

A compulsory course of the IB program in which students reflect on the nature of knowledge and on how we know what we claim to know. In this course, students are required to write an article and prepare a presentation. Successful completion of this course gives the student 3 points. IB cannot be taken if there is no writing and no presentation. The first stage of the course, one of the topics determined by the teacher by selecting one of the article on this subject is to write 1,200 -1,600 words. Generally, subjects are selected in such a way that the knowledge in the lessons learned will be used and blended. In the other stage of the course, the student is expected to give a 10-minute presentation. As the subject of the presentation is left to the student, it is generally expected to be the subject of daily life situations. The format of the presentation is left to the student, whether in the form of discussion or in play.


Extended Essay

An independent, self-directed piece of research, finishing with a 4,000-word paper.