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Television [Saturday 19 Mar 2011 at 11:46 pm]
Owen
Watching Skins, I wonder. Do Brits usually leave secondary school at seventeen and attend a special A-levels "college" school for two years? Then do they apply to university for three or four years to pick up a bachelor degree? Is that the only way into university? And do they usually have to pay tuition to these two-year programs?

In The USA, most kids headed for higher education proceed at seventeen or eighteen to university right from free four year high school programs. Very few universities prefer or require achievement or aptitude tests like A-levels, though, and fewer yet take them seriously. The very idea of an important national test is very strange to me.

***

I watched the Korean production J.S.A. - Joint Security Area (공동경비구역 JSA). I thought it was going to be an action movie, but it wasn't. It was the ultimate bromance flick. Soldiers from the DPRK (North Korea) and RoK (South Korea) who man a closed border post (they're all closed border posts) hang out together smoking and drinking and playing games through long guard shifts out in the DMZ. Awkward political moments crop up pretty often as they must but the magical power of guys just hanging out together overcomes all troubles. Of course it's all purely hetero tough guy stuff with none of that 'subtext' I've heard about on eljay. Finally, as in real Korea life, politics asserts itself and you cry at the end.

***

Inscrutible foreign lands, Brittanica and Korea. I'd like to visit but it's too much trouble to pick up the languages. What's the difference between peckish, pissed, and knackered again?
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: curiouswombat
Sunday 20 Mar 2011 at 04:55 pm (UTC)
In The USA, most kids headed for higher education proceed at seventeen or eighteen to university right from free four year high school programs. Very few universities prefer or require achievement or aptitude tests like A-levels, though, and fewer yet take them seriously. The very idea of an important national test is very strange to me.


Which is quite possibly why, when one of my daughter's friends did a year at Columbia university as an exchange student, he was surprised to find it was easier than his previous year had been at his 'home' university of York. All the York History undergrads had covered the work he was being asked to do in year 2 at Columbia as 17-18 year olds at A level - and had had to get an A grade at A level to then get to York.

Then York had to convert his Columbia grades back into English so that they didn't inflate his final classification of his BA Hons, as the marking scheme is much more lenient. He thought it was quite interesting, though, having to do lectures in subjects unrelated to his actual degree subject, and enjoyed the year.

Those who come in the opposite direction as 2nd or 3rd years from Columbia join the York 1st years, mainly, for their lectures and tutorials.

This explains how an English university can award BA(Hons) and equivalent with only 3 years study.

The Scottish system is slightly different - in essence they transfer from school to university a year earlier so that the first year of a Scottish degree is similar to the second year of A levels; they can then get an 'ordinary' degree at the end of three years, but almost all do the fourth year to convert to Hons and so leave at 21 with Hons just as their English, Northern Irish & Welsh counterparts do.
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[User Picture]From: owenthurman
Tuesday 22 Mar 2011 at 12:07 am (UTC)
USA programs are much more liberal and free-form without such deep specialization as I see elsewhere. You can pretty much take anything you want with only small limited guides for completing a specific course of study.

Any time spent in another transfer program is likely to slow down completeing studies of course. No two systems are going to line up exactly. I'd say it's still worth it; going abroad is excellent and really opens the eyes of young people.
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