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Advice for former IGCSE student in US

SabrinaAyatiinSabrinaAyatiin 3 replies1 threads New Member
I am an American student that lived abroad for 5 years and completed my IGCSEs in Year 11 (2018-2019). I did 2 months of A-levels then decided that finishing 12th grade back home in the US would be better for my future. I currently haven’t started 12th grade yet because my mother has to be present to enroll me into school so I’ll probably start school mid- November.

Considering that almost 3 months of school has passed and the semester is almost over, I’ve been thinking about repeating 11th grade because I don’t want to threaten my college prospects because I didn’t have enough time. I honestly don’t really understand how the American high school system works and how I would convert my IGCSE results into whatever grading system is used here. Any advice?
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Replies to: Advice for former IGCSE student in US

  • SybyllaSybylla 3969 replies50 threads Senior Member
    How old are you? Is this even an option? What state are you in? Why is this time wasting happening? Who is caring for you?
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  • SabrinaAyatiinSabrinaAyatiin 3 replies1 threads New Member
    I am 17 living in Ohio with my aunt. I started A-levels in the foreign country in August, but by October I decided it wasn’t the path for me. I returned to the States mid- October and I’m currently waiting for my mother to return to the States to enroll me into school, because my aunt isn’t my legal guardian. It’s an option available. Any advice?
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 42143 replies453 threads Senior Member
    edited November 9
    Year 11= 10th grade.

    What exact IGCSEs?
    (With scores)

    You need to do two years after IGCSE's in order to qualify for university in the US - you should enroll in virtual school to complete first semester online before joining a "face to face" school in January. Or your mother could declare you homeschooled and you houle work on your own, joining the school at the beginning of the second semester. Otherwise you'll have a humongous amount of work to catch up upon.

    You should get into AP classes (if there's still space) for classes where you got 7-9 at IGCSE. 5-6= honors. 1-4= regular.
    edited November 9
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  • SabrinaAyatiinSabrinaAyatiin 3 replies1 threads New Member
    Wouldn’t Year 11 be 11th grade? The subjects I took and my results are:
    Biology-8 or an A
    Chemistry- 8
    Physics- 8
    Maths- 8
    Geography- 8
    Business Studies-6 or a B
    English A-6
    History-4 which is a C sadly...
    I was planning to join this semester, this month. I don’t think online schooling is a feasible option because it’s costly.
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 42143 replies453 threads Senior Member
    No, Year 1= K, Year 13= 12th grade.
    In any case, outside of American universities that will allow you to apply with IGCSE'S only (these universities wouldn't offer financial aid though) all other universities will require two years of schooling after IGCSE'S.
    Strictly speaking a 6 is equivalent to an American B+. A 5 is a B/B-. A 4 is a C.
    IGCSE scores of 6 and higher (or even 5 and higher) are sufficient for honors/AP (or, A levels or IB).
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  • SabrinaAyatiinSabrinaAyatiin 3 replies1 threads New Member
    What are credits all about?
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 42143 replies453 threads Senior Member
    edited November 10
    You need to complete a certain number of credits, or full year units, in several subjects. Because in the US there is no national curriculum with an external exam except in AP and IB, each high school decides the minimum required to graduate - which is different from what you need to go to college.
    Typically, a HS requires 20-22 academic units, with 4 units in English and at least 1 in US history, plus 3 in math, 1-2 in social science, 0-2 in foreign language, 2 in science. Sometimes, you can take a semester-long class for 0.5 credit, such as Photography in the Fall and Sociology in the Spring, then the following year Drawing 1 in the Fall and Current Events in the Spring, each for 0.5. Drawing+PHotography =1 full credit, Sociology+Current events=1 full credit.
    WHAT they are exactly is up to you, but if you wish to go to a selective 4-year college you better have a mix of Honors and (in sophomore year if allowed, definitely in junior&senior year) APs, including 4 units in English including AP English Language, 4 units in math including precalculus or calculus, Foreign Language through level 3 or 4, Biology+chemistry+physics+1AP science, 4 years of social science including 2 history classes and 2 others (history, geography, economics, political science/government, or psychology), one in art, and whatever else interests you from choir to robotics to graphic design.

    What sort of maths (Pure, Higher, Foundation?)
    At least you're qualified for AP Bio, AP Chem, AP Physics 2 [you could take ONE junior year and ONE senior year]; depending on the math IGCSE qualification, you should be ready for AP Calculus A or Precalculus Honors; APES and AP Human Geography would both be a breeze; AP English Language; for history, in 11th grade you'd take US history honors (a US history course is required for graduation); you need to take a foreign language, didn't you study another language for IGCSE's?
    edited November 10
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 29801 replies177 threads Senior Member
    @MYOS1634 - Not to hijack, but how do ICGSE qualifications relate to O levels? The community college where I teach will admit students with O levels.

    @SabrinaAyatiin - Your situation looks like something that might need to be taken to the school district superintendent or the school board itself. It makes no sense that your mother must be physically present in order for you to be enrolled in school. Somewhere there is a loophole. Perhaps you can be enrolled under the school district's policy for "homeless" students. While you are at it, find out about getting health insurance coverage. You also should be reading up now on the steps necessary to set up the formal guardianship if you will continue to live with your aunt for the rest of your secondary school education.
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  • skieuropeskieurope 39743 replies7238 threads Super Moderator
    Not to hijack, but how do ICGSE qualifications relate to O levels?
    Comparable/similar. In the UK, O-levels were the predecessor to GCSE. In any case, they are the qualifying exams taken as a pathway to Years 12 & 13 and for A-Levels or Pre-U exams.
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 42143 replies453 threads Senior Member
    edited November 13
    IGCSE's, GCSE's, and O'Levels are taken ~age 16 and can be used for freshman admission at some colleges (generally public community colleges and universities that don't provide financial aid to internationals). They cover a rigorous program equivalent to 9+10th grade. A-Levels are the next step and required by most universities, especially selective universities and colleges that offer financial aid to internationals. Typically students will take ~8 exams (they must pass a minimum of 5 and can take a maximum of 11 if they take English and Maths in Year 10). Then they choose three subjects (4 if double maths) that are pre-reqs for university study in one field (for instance, someone who wants to "read" Physics will take Maths, Further Maths, Physics, and one more. Someone who wants to "read" French Literature&Culture will take French, another Humanities subject, plus one more.) GCSE results of 6+ are generally required to move to the A-Level stage (5 in some schools).
    Together they form one half of general education and one half of specialized knowledge.
    Both are taken into account for university admission although GCSEs are only looked at in terms of 1° subject and 2° C or higher, or B or higher whereas subjects and scores are strictly reviewed and can make or break the admission.
    edited November 13
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