The School curriculum is separated from 1-3 year (GCSE years) and 4-5 year (A-level years)
Predominantly, pupils take the widest breadth of subjects in first year before starting their two year GCSE courses. Pupils are encouraged to explore a lot of subjects in order to decide which subjects to carry on with. They may expect to take around 12 subjects, including creative ones such as DT, Art or Music. Before 2nd year, pupils choose approximately 9 subjects to continue with. The average number of GCSEs to take is 7 across the UK but those in boarding schools tend to take more. Note that there are two English GCSEs and further maths, meaning that 9 subjects may correspond to 11 GCSEs. Those fluent in a language have the choice to take the GCSE in their respective language a year early. The Chinese GCSE requires no extra study and simply serves to supplement a pupil's academic record.
Universities only require pupils to take 3 A-levels. Furthermore, universities will not differentiate between 3 and 4 A stars: meeting the entry requirements is seen as completely satisfactory. That being said, should a pupil want to apply to an English university for a stem subject, it is advised they choose Further Maths as a fourth A-level. Moreover, it is critical to pick a coherent set of subjects. For example, choosing Spanish, Music and Maths would place a student in great difficulty should they want to study stem. In contrast, should a pupil want to apply to the US after secondary school, it would benefit them to have an equal split of stem to humanity subjects to showcase their diverse abilities.
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