From 16 to 18 years old, most students in British-speaking schools in the UAE will take either A level exams or the IB Diploma Programme. Both qualifications aim to develop students who have both excellent depth and breadth of knowledge. While it is exciting to choose a handful of subjects in which to specialise, study at this level is very demanding and students need to be able to manage their time effectively.
A levels are set by the AQA, EDEXCEL and OCR exam boards, and students will usually choose four or five subjects to study in the last two years of school. The IB Diploma Programme is made up of six subject groups and the DP core, comprising theory of knowledge (TOK), creativity, activity, service (CAS) and the extended essay. Both A level and IB qualifications demand much more independence and self-motivation than the qualifications taken in Years 10 and 11.