Requested by @evak
Thanks for this request @evak - hopefully it's helpful! 😘 I went to school in England so experiences will be different in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Also, I went to a comprehensive so it will again be different in grammar schools and public schools!
  1. We start primary school at age 4 and stay there until 11
    Some schools are divided into two - so attending a separate infant and junior school isn't uncommon.
  2. The only tests I remember doing as a primary school kid are SATs which we did aged 6/7 and 10/11
    SATs in your final year of primary (year 6) determined what classes you would be put into at high school. Other than that, they weren't hugely important.
  3. Age 11, you go to high school
  4. Most kids go to a comprehensive - this is the standard high school. Some go to grammar schools which require you to pass a test to get in. A few go to public schools which you have to pay for. (Nowadays we also have academies but these are new and confusing so we'll forget about them)
  5. Age 11-14 you do lessons in about 11/12 subjects. Everybody does the same subjects in the school; the core subjects of Maths, English and Science, humanities, languages, sport and arts. These will be pretty much the same in any comprehensive.
  6. Age 13/14 (in year 9) you choose your GCSE options. These are the 4 subjects you will do exams in at the end of high school, additional to the core subjects which you also have to take exams in.
    For example, I chose history, French, geography and graphic design but I also had to do exams in Maths, English, each of the sciences, IT and RS.
  7. In your final year of high school you take GCSE exams in each of these subjects (for me it was 20 or so exams in a period of about a month).
    This has changed many times over the years, however. Some years split exams between the final two years of high school.
  8. In the summer of your final year you get results from your GCSEs. A pass is anything marked A*-C
  9. GCSEs help you get into colleges or apprenticeships
  10. Colleges (separate institutions) and sixth forms (attached to high schools) prepare students for A Levels, the next big set of exams
    A levels aren't compulsory, unlike GCSEs. Up until last year, you could leave school at 16 and go into employment. Now you must stay in education (A Levels or other similar courses) or work based training (apprenticeships).
  11. You apply to your chosen college based on your GCSEs. Most simply require 5 passes. If it's your school sixth form it's unlikely they wouldn't accept you.
  12. You narrow down your subjects again to 4 A Levels
    I chose History, French, English Lit, Sociology
  13. You do exams at the end of your first year, drop one subject and continue on to do 3 subjects in your final year, which will hopefully get you into uni. Universities will offer you a conditional place, subject to you getting specified grades in your exams. So they could ask for AAA or BCC etc.
  14. And that's where I'm at now!
  15. This makes it seem like pure exams but honestly I loved, and still love, my time in education. I think it's a good balance between exams and learning purely for knowledge, although it can be stressful at times like any school system
  16. England and Wales, I believe, have a similar system. Scotland takes different exams and has a different university system, too. Northern Ireland has a higher rate of grammar schools.
    If you went to school in a different part of the UK, let me know!!
  17. Ok this list was long. If you made it to the end, thank you 👏