1-Year GCSE Course

The standard (I)GCSE programmes are usually two to three years long and are taken from Year 9-11 or Year 10-11 depending on the school.

The shorter 1-Year GCSE is an intensive version that is a more cost-effective way to gain the internationally recognised qualification within one year. It is suitable for Hong Kong students who have completed F.4. Students can then progress to their A-Level or International Baccalaureate (IB) studies and make applications to top universities in the world.

Students normally study 5 to 6 subjects on a 1-year programme. Some may take up to 8 GCSEs depending on their level of English and academic level. It is also possible to join a 4- to 5-term programme, instead of 3-term, (starting in April and January respectively) if they would like to take up more subjects to increase their chances of getting into a top sixth form school/ university.

Some traditional boarding schools allow students to join their existing Year 11 academic classes for better integration, whereas for 1-Year GCSE programmes run by international study centres would normally form a class of its own, and the pace of teaching will depend mainly on the academic performance of the class.

As for extracurricular activities, students will normally integrate with existing students. 


Course Length

Subject Choice

Start Date

2-Year Programmes (6 terms)

7-10 subjects


4-5 Terms

7-8 subjects

Starts in April and January respectively

1-Year Programmes (3 terms)

5-6 subjects



Key details:

       Admissions requirement: Hong Kong students who have completed F.4

       Number of subjects studied: usually around 5 to 8

       Skills taught: study skills, research skills, teamwork skills

       Small classes taught by specialist teachers

       With the GCSE qualifications, students can apply for further education, such as GCE A-levels, International Baccalaureate (IB) or a University Foundation Course.

       Core subjects offered by most schools:

o   Mathematics

o   Additional Mathematics

o   English (2nd language)

o   Physics

o   Chemistry

o   Biology


       Additional subjects: 

o   Business Studies

o   Chinese

o   Computer Science

o   Geography

o   History

o   Psychology



GCSE Reform

Starting from the academic year of 2015/16, the GCSEs were reformed in phases every year. By September 2018, all the Year 10 students have started using the new GCSE syllabus.


A new grading scale of 9 to 1 is introduced to replace the original A* to F grading system, in which a grade 9 is set at a more challenging level than the original A* to reflect the abilities of more capable students. In the new grading scale, there are two passing marks, where:

       Grade 4 represents a Standard Pass

       Grade 5 represents a Strong Pass



To find out more about Ampla Education’s test preparation courses and boarding school application services, contact us at info@ampla-edu.com


© Ampla Education  –  Unauthorised use of this material without permission is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full credit is given to Ampla Education.

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