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Is doing physics in england worth wasting 3 years ?

  1. Aug 16, 2013 #1
    i am currently a highschool student in egypt , and due to the stupid difference between education systems , the high school certificate from egypt is only equivalent to the GCSEs in england , so if i do go to england , i will have to spend another 2 years of my life taking high school AGAIN but thats not only it , i will have to wait one more year to gain home student status which gives me the right to apply for a university student loan * note : i am a british/egyptian citizen * , so i will be doing undergraduate school at the age of 21 !!
    does starting university at 21 give younger students an advantage over me ?
    specially if i succeed and make it to the phds , i will probably finish my phd in my early thirties while there will be other students who finish it at the age of 27 !
    or should i study physics here in egypt , then move on to get an MSc in england ?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 16, 2013 #2
    Would another English-speaking country accept Egyptian highschool? Maybe Canada? Canada has no GSCEs or A levels. If you've done 12 grades in Egypt chances are you qualified for university in Canada.
  4. Aug 16, 2013 #3
    you are right canada does not have any requirements but a highschool certificate
    but in england i have to take the a levels again+ one year for getting the home student status
  5. Aug 16, 2013 #4

    George Jones

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    But, a physics Ph.D. takes about six years in Canada, which, I think (but you will have to check to make sure) is about two years longer than a Ph.D. takes in England.
  6. Aug 18, 2013 #5
    it's more than just about time,

    think about the cost of studying in the UK compared to another country such as Canada or the US.
    think about how well you would fit into the country, do you have family there? etc . . .
    because at the end of the day at the undergraduate level, Physics is Physics. what you want, is a decent school (although I know, it's only valid at the graduate level, I would say that a good school should be known for their excellence in one field at least) with professors relatively well known for their work. A school which provides internships to its students at least once during their Bsc degree. last but not the least, LOCATION, you don't want to be in a city thats dead beside its university life. You want to be in a town which is full of opportunities for students (life outside school, work opportunities, professional internships etc . . .)

    imo these are the things you need to consider when asking yourself, is studying physics in england worth the money compare to other countries.
  7. Aug 18, 2013 #6


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    Hopefully there will come here people involved in or conversant with the British system and situation, but they would need some more information to help fully. At least your present age and your ability in English. From what I've heard Universities are often not confident of the ability of a student from abroad in this and fairly indiscriminately require them to take a course in English, maybe a year, unless they pass a tough test before they start.

    Likewise I am sure non-British exam qualifications will not be accepted. You might be able to study for the British exams in Egypt if you can find a teacher. But you might have to take the exams in the UK.

    Anyway however you arrange it, apart from studies and exams, unless you are pretty well off financially you need 3 years residence to qualify for student loan, as you said and I have just verified on the NUS site. If arithmetic were all, that would suggest you should go to the UK and enrol in a suitable school as soon as possible. (And the School year starts in September!)

    But although you do not have the university fees before university, you have to live. Also I am just guessing you are about 16, that is usually considered too young to leave home especially to take such a big step. A lot would depend on whether you have any family relations or others prepared to lodge and take some care of you in the UK. I imagine you'd actually have to really frequent a school to get the residence qualification. (There have been a lot of fraudulent 'colleges of convenience' - including some actual real Universities - set up purely to give or get round residence requirements and the government has clamped down on them.)

    I think you need friends with your interests at heart and some understanding of the system in the UK and preferably knowledgeable helpers in Egypt too, commitment to the intended studies, and I don't think you can get through it as fast as an ordinary UK student starting in a good secondary school and everything going for them (who think they have problems!). Quite difficult to do what you say, and needing careful and informed planning, but it has been done.

    I hope in the next days you get advice from forum members with more contact with the system than I have.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013
  8. Aug 19, 2013 #7


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    Do you want to go to university in the UK ? or is that your parents' preference ?

    It is advisable to start doing the A-levels next year, and do something else in the UK/Europe this year, so that you can go to university directly after your A-levels, and also because the deadline of application to all the good colleges was at January (keep in mind that you can't go to schools, since you have to be 16 to enroll there, so colleges are your only resort)
    for the English language, the English you studied at Egypt will likely not count as a GCSE as your other subjects will, so you can use this year to take TOEFL or IELTS to compensate.

    Another thing you can do is to do a one year GCSE program in the UK before starting your two years A-levels, as this will help you get a better idea about the educational system differences and prepare you for the A-levels. You will notice that the GCSE and the A-levels are easier than what you have studied in Egypt.

    As to whether it is worth it or not, I suppose that largely depends on your motivation, if you can make it to Oxford or Imperial then there will be a big difference between that and the best Egypt can offer. But if you end up failing or dropping out, then you will not be in the best situation.

    To give others an idea: in the middle east, students who get to physics only go there because they failed to get into engineering or medicine, there are no research opportunities there since there is barely any research being done there (If at all). If you graduate with a Physics degree, the only thing you can do is being a high school teacher, and that isn't the most respected profession there.
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