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Different education systems

  1. Aug 31, 2005 #1


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    I have been reading these forums for a while now but i only signed up recently and I get very confused when reading certain threads because I know nothing about the American school system. When people talk about SATs, college, AP’s, K-12 , etc. I have no idea what people are talking about because all these things mean different things in England.

    Could someone please post a general guide to the american science and mathematics education system, including things like the age you take certain exams and progress to different schools and links to mathematics and physics course contents and maybe some past exam papers.

    This would be very helpful to me, I will post one about the English Science and mathematics education system later (it might be a bit of a long post so sorry in advance).
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 31, 2005 #2
    K-12 is pre-college education basically you go to elementary school where you learn to read and write and do simple math (K-5). Then in middle school (6-8) you further develop those skills. Finally, in high school you are supposed to polish off those skills with higher level math and science of social science courses. The SAT is a college level entrance exam, SAT II is a series of subject tests to assess knowledge in specific fields, and lastly, APs are advanced coursework for highschool students who wish to earn college credit.
  4. Aug 31, 2005 #3


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    thank you for your reply i understand it a bit better now
  5. Aug 31, 2005 #4


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    Here’s how the English science and mathematics education system works, I included some links to syllabuses and exam papers.

    Primary school, age 4-7

    Year 1
    Year 2 (Key Stage 1 SATS Exams taken this year)

    Only a little science is taught at this level along with Mathematics, English and creative lessons such as art.

    Students are assessed in year 2 by external examinations called Key Stage 1 SATS exams. These are taken in English and Mathematics.

    here is an examination report from a few years ago: Click (Pdf) (mathematics starts on page 43)


    Junior school, age 7 to 11

    Year 3
    Year 4
    Year 5
    Year 6 (Key stage 2 SATS exams taken this year)

    Science and mathematics are both now taught along with many other subjects.

    Students are assessed in year 6 by external examinations called Key stage 2 SATS exams. These are taken in English, Mathematics and Science.

    Here is an examination report from a few years ago:
    Click (Pdf) (mathematics starts on page 41, science on page 70)


    Secondary school, age 11 to 16 (or 18)

    Year 7
    Year 8
    Year 9 (Key stage 3 SATS exams taken this year)

    Students are assessed in year 9 by external examinations called Key Stage 3 SATS exams. These are taken in English, Mathematics and Science.

    Here are some examination reports in science and mathematics.
    Click (Pdf)
    Click (Pdf)


    Year 10
    Year 11 (GCSE exams taken this year)

    GCSE’s are the first important examinations taken by English students. Students are normally required to get a certain amount of A* to B/C grades to be able to continue on at school to A-levels or to go to a sixth form college to do their A-levels.

    Here is a mathematics specification:

    Here is an example mathematics exam paper:

    Here is a Physics specification:

    Here is an example Physics exam paper: [PLAIN]www.aqa.org.uk/qual/gcse/qp-ms/AQA-3451H-W-QP-Jun03.pdf[/URL]

    Students may now leave school after year 11 to get a full time job, an apprenticeship, or do a vocational course such as plumbing or hairdressing at a college (in England a college is not the same as university!).

    In some parts of the country schools do not offer A-level’s so students may go to a sixth form college to do them instead.

    Year 12 (GCE AS exams taken this year)* [optional]
    Year 13 (GCE A2 exams taken this year)* [optional]

    *A GCE AS and A2 together (in the same subject) make a GCE A level.

    A-levels are the normal requirement for entry to English university's. Most students do three subjects to full A-level (some do more). No subjects are compulsory, students choose the subjects they want to do providing they fit into their timetable.

    A-levels consist of six modules (3 at AS and 3 at A2).

    Here is a Physics specification:

    Here is an example exam paper: [PLAIN]www.aqa.org.uk/qual/gceasa/qp-ms/AQA-PHB5-W-QP-Jun04.pdf[/URL]

    there are also extension papers called AEA’s in physics (these are optional,and are designed for the top 10% of students).

    Here is an example exam paper:
    [url=www.rewardinglearning.com/development/qualifications/gce/docs/aea/specs/GCE%20Adv%20Ext%20Award%20Physics%20QP%20June02.pdf]Click (Pdf)[/url]

    Here is an example of a A-level mathematics specification: [PLAIN]www.aqa.org.uk/qual/pdf/AQA-5361-6361-W-SP-07.pdf[/URL]

    Here are some past exam papers:

    Core maths: [PLAIN]www.aqa.org.uk/qual/pdf/AQA-5361-6361-W-SP-07.pdf[/URL]

    Further pure maths:

    Statistics: [PLAIN]www.aqa.org.uk/qual/gceasa/qp-ms/AQA-MS1A-MS1B-MS2A-MS2B-MS03-MS04-W-SQP.pdf[/URL]

    Mechanics: [PLAIN]www.aqa.org.uk/qual/gceasa/qp-ms/AQA-MM1A-MM1B-MM2A-MM2B-MM03-MM04-MM05-SQP.pdf[/URL]

    There are also AEA extension papers in mathematics (again they are optional,and are designed for the top 10% of students), Here is an example exam:
    [url=www.edexcel.org.uk/VirtualContent/25978.pdf]Click (Pdf)[/url]

    People applying to cambridge and warwick for mathematics often take STEP mathematics papers. These contain very difficult questions, here’s an example:

    University, age 18+

    In science subjects undergraduate students can either take a 3 year BSc degree or a four year MSci degree.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2017
  6. Aug 31, 2005 #5

    matt grime

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    Sadly, it isn't as simple as that in the College v. University idea in the UK. Some Degree awarding bodies (ie universties) are called Colleges, seomtimes in reference to their previous status as polytechnics, or to indicate they are somehow part of a larger older network of insitutions). The distinction is rather between Futher and Higher Education. Further is used in reference to any post 16 (after GCSE) Qualification or Qualification offering institute that is not degree leve, and Higher means any degree awarding body.

    Queen's College is for instance a University. And as if that wasn't enough, if you went to King's College you could either mean the University in London, or the Cambridge college.

    I feel like Sir Humphrey here.

    King's College, Cambridge isn't a university, but you go there for a degree since it is part of the Univsity of Cambridge, ok? Confused? Well, you will be when I point out that King's College London is viewed as a separate university in its own right but it is also part of the wider University of London (which doesn't really exist, but is a loose conglomeration of universities based in and around London, incliding St Mary, Imperial etc)

    this was a fun post, don't read it and worry.
  7. Aug 31, 2005 #6
    AP: is college work? like first year? man i got jipped in canada...not only did i have to go through the grade 13 system...they repeated it in first year university for students coming outta province.
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