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Pre-college experience in the U.K.

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

Carla is a 17 year old student from Hamburg, Germany. Although she has not yet decided wether she will spend her university years abroad, during her high school studies in London, she picked up some valuable information.

I applied to the school through an agency and since I decided to do it on a short notice, I only had to do an interview with the school. But I know of others who went through a longer process where they had to take several tests to test their English skills.

This is also expected when applying to a univeristy, so you should leave enough time for you to pick the correct English proficiency test and take into consideration that you won't get results right away.

The school system is really different to the German one. The school systems are pretty similar until year 10. In year 10 they do GCSE where the pupils get tested in several subjects. I think they must take 7 (I think) at the minimum. The after year 10 they start their A-levels. Meaning they can chose 3 subjects (or more but most of them do 3) which they then study in depth (very detailed). So the difference between those school systems starts from year 11. In Germany you keep studying aproximately 8 subjects but not as detailed as you do when you take the A-levels. Also, in Germany you have to take English, German and Maths, in England you don’t necessarily need to study those „main subjects“ for example you could chose the subjects: art, photography and design technology.
The advantage of the English school system is that you study the subjects you’re interested in in detail and can focus on what you can. Instead of being forced the study multiple subjects and subjects you aren’t good at. On the other hand, in the German school system you need to study more subjects leading to the fact that you at least have some knowledge about multiple areas and now just a few.

If you share Carla's opinion and see the efficiency of the English school system on the same level, maybe you can take some inspiration and think about experiencing the U.K. on your own. Going to an international school abroad can widen your knowledge and maybe ease the decision making process when thinking about choosing an university.

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