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Which Curriculum Should I Choose? Any Tips?

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By Hubert Ho | Head of Admissions Consulting Services, Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions

Recently, I have received several inquiries from freshmen or sophomore students (i.e. Form 3 and 4 or Year 10 and 11) on picking their future curriculum among HKDSE, A-Level, IBDP as well as AP. There is no perfect answer! Let me use this opportunity to briefly introduce all of them to you.

HKDSE (Form 4 to 6)

HKDSE is a 3-year curriculum and consists of 4 core subjects and 4 electives. The focus of the curriculum is about the understanding of the knowledge or contents. Students are required to memorize a large volume of contents to handle the examinations. The public examinations will be taken place from March to June during the final year.

A-Level (Year 12 and 13)

A-Level is the UK curriculum, and it requires students to take 3 to 4 A-Level subjects as the core in addition of several AS-Level subjects. The contents covered by the AS-Level subjects are about 50% of the A-Level subject and the public examinations take place in May every year. For the A-Level subjects, public examinations take place in May during the final year. The curriculum focuses on the application of knowledge and the level of difficulty is about the university’s year 1 curriculum.

IBDP (Year 12 and 13)

IBDP is the most common curriculum in recent years, and it consists of 6 core groups in addition of 3 electives (including EE, CAS and TOK). For the core groups, it is necessary to pick 2 languages, 1 math, 1 science, 1 social science and 1 art (you can repeat the previous group as a replacement). Its public examinations will be taken place in May during the final year. The curriculum focuses on how students can apply the knowledge to the real problems surrounding them and requiring students to have a very strong writing skill.

AP (Grade 9 to 12)

AP curriculum is an US curriculum with a very high flexibility for students picking the number of AP subjects during the high school life. The level of an AP subject is equivalent to the university’s year 1 syllabus. Each AP subject will only take one year and public examination will be taken place in May every year.

Hope the above brief introduction can help you getting a sense on which curriculum can provide you with a competitive edge in academic area!

Need more information on how we can help you? Come and speak with our Admissions Counselor: https://bit.ly/3teynbI

Mr. Hubert Ho

Head of Admissions Consulting Services, Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions
Associate Member of IECA, Member of NACAC and AEE
MCom (Finance), UNSW
BCom (Management & Marketing), University of Wollongong

  • 10 years+ of experience in education industry
  • 100% of his students got admitted to Top 3 choices & Top 50 US National Colleges and G5 UK Universities
  • Proven track record helping students gain admission to US prestigious colleges including Yale University, Stanford University, Cornell University, UCLA, UC-Berkeley, New York University, Boston University

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