General Certificate of Education

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(Redirected from O-level)

The General Certificate of Education or GCE was introduced in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 1951, replacing the older School Certificate (SC) and Higher School Certificate (HSC). It was intended to cater for the increased range of subjects available to pupils since the raising of the school leaving age from 14 to 15 in 1947. The examinations were graded into ordinary level (O-level) for 16-year-olds, and advanced level (A-level) for 18-year-olds. There was also an intermediate level alternative ordinary level (AO-level) and a higher special paper (S-level).

In 1986, O-level qualifications were replaced by a new system, the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE). However GCE is still used in many former British colonies, such as Singapore and Trinidad and Tobago and some parts of Britain continued to use O levels for some time after 1986.

The Cambridge International Examinations board still offers O-level examinations.

In 1989 an intermediate level, Advanced Supplementary (AS), was introduced for 18-year-olds who had studied a broader mix of subjects in less depth. The system was revised in 2000 so that all A-level students must now sit AS-levels first.

Increasingly in Singapore, students who perform well in school are given the option to bypass the O-levels, and take the A-levels instead at the age of 18, in a scheme dubbed the integrated programme (also known as the through-train programme).

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