UK Study Centre

UK Education system

Nursery

Age: 2-4 years old

This is the point at which British children enter the education system. It is similar to nurseries or kindergartens in other countries around the world. →
Reception

Age: 4-5 years

Reception year is the first year of primary education in England. Children are first introduced to letters and numbers. By the end of reception children can read, write letters and numbers, adding and take away numbers up to 20 and know simple shapes. →
Pre-Prep

Age: 5-7 years

At this stage, children progress to more advanced work with numbers up to 100, they learn time tables, division, fractions, measures, time. In English children write sentences and short stories and do reading comprehension. They are expected to read independently every day. Some schools would also provide preparation for the 7+ exam. →
Prep School

Age: 7-11/13 years

Children start prep school at the age of 7. Selective schools choose their candidates based on the results of the 7+ exam (English and mathematics). Prep schools prepare their pupils for entrance exams to secondary schools via 11+ and 13+ exams. Children study at prep schools until the ages of 11 or 13, depending on which route into secondary education they are taking.  →
Secondary School

Age: 11/13-14 years

After their prep schools, students enter secondary schools. It can happen either at the age of 11 or 13, and students have to sit 11+ and 13+ exams to get into selective schools. Top private schools, such as Eton or Westminster, select their 13+ candidates two years in advance, at the age of 11 with registration closing before their 10th birthday.  →
GCSE

Age: 14-16 years

Pupils take their GCSEs between the ages of 14 and 16. Students normally cover around 10 subjects. Maths, English and Sciences are compulsory, and the student can choose further subjects from various subject areas, such as modern and classical languages, technology, humanities, social sciences or expressive arts. A fast-track one-year option is available in some schools. →
Sixth Form
Sixth Form generally represents the last two years of secondary education where students prepare for their final exams - usually A Levels, IB, BTEC or Pre-U.  →
Foundation

Age: 17-18 years

Foreign students who had not studied in the British education system can go through the Foundation route – these courses are set up by universities or education providers and are designed for high school graduates.  →
A-Levels

Age: 16-18 лет

A Levels are the last stage of British school education, and they can be taken at either traditional schools or Sixth Form Colleges. Students normally study 4 subjects in their first year and drop one of them in their second year. A whole array of subjects to choose from is available, and it is generally advised to take the subject one intends to study at university. →
International Baccalaureate

Age: 16-18 years

An increasing number of schools are offering International Baccalaureate instead of the more traditional A Levels. IB students have to take 6 subjects drawn from 6 subject groups, 3-4 of which must be taken at higher level. The subject groups include compulsory first language and literature, second language, sciences, humanities, Maths and arts. The IB program is recognised worldwide and offers more holistic and all around approach to education. →
PRE-U

Age: 16-18 years

The Cambridge Pre-U was launched in 2008 by Cambridge International Examinations. The qualification offers additional depth in subjects beyond the A Levels syllabus. A number of leading independent schools, including Westminster, Winchester, Eton, Charterhouse and Rugby have replaced A Levels with Pre-U in some subjects.  →
BTEC

Age: 16-18 years

Some students chose to pursue a vocational qualification called BTEC at this stage of their education. BTECs are assessed through coursework rather than exams. They can be taken either as a separate qualification or in combination with others, such as A Levels. A number of British universities accept BTECs.  →
Undergraduate University Study

Age: 18+ years

Undergraduate study at a UK university is the first step of higher education. It normally includes 3 or 4 years of tuition and culminates in the award of a Bachelor’s degree. In most cases, Bachelor’s degrees are enough to enter the workforce.  →
Postgraduate Taught Study, Vocational Degrees
Postgraduate taught qualifications, which normally take about 1 or 2 years to complete, include a variety of Master’s degrees and vocational degrees, such as GDL, LPC or BPTC for lawyers or clinical medicine school for future doctors.  →
Postgraduate Research Study
In the vast majority of cases postgraduate research study means studying at Doctoral level, although in some cases purely research-based M.Phils can be offered as a stand-alone qualification. Doctorate level qualifications, which normally take between 3 and 4 years of independent research, can lead to a variety of careers in the industries or academia.  →
Success stories Our tutors FAQ