After completing the matric examinations, many students are faced with a difficult decision regarding their next step. The two major options for 11th class and 12th class in Pakistan are FSc and A Levels.
In order to make the best decision for your future, it is important to understand what these two educational systems are.
FSc is an abbreviation for the Faculty of Science. This is a science-based study program for intermediate students. This is the local education system in Pakistan, conducted by the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE).
In FSc, there are two subject groups, known as pre-medical and pre-engineering. In addition to the compulsory subjects of mathematics, English, Islamiat, and Pakistan studies, FSc students must appear for three elective subjects, based on their subject group. For pre-medical students, these subjects are physics, chemistry, and biology. For pre-engineering, the subjects are physics, chemistry, and mathematics.
FSc exams are conducted by local examination boards, according to the region the student is appearing from. For example, if a FSc student studies in Lahore, then they will appear for the FSc exams conducted by BISE Lahore Board. The examinations are different between educational boards.
Upon passing the FSc exams, intermediate students are awarded with the higher secondary school certificate (HSSC), which is the recognized high school education certificate in Pakistan. FSc students are then able to apply to Pakistani universities and medical colleges.
The local Intermediate education system is based largely on memorization and rote learning. In other words, the syllabus is not taught in a conceptual manner. Students are not expected to apply their knowledge in the exam, so the syllabus of FSc is largely textbook-based. Book notes and solved past papers are available for students to study for their FSc exams.
A Levels is a General Certificate of Education (GCE) study program conducted by Cambridge International Examinations (CIE). A Levels are considered to be equivalent to 11th and 12th class, where 11th class is known as As Level (Advanced Subsidiary), and 12th class is known as A Level (Advanced Level), or simply A2.
GCE A Levels is an internationally recognized qualification which offers a wide variety of subjects. Students of A Levels have the flexibility to choose any combination of subjects that they wish, which include physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, computer studies, law, economics, business studies, etc… In Pakistan, A Levels students generally appear for 3 subjects.
GCE A Levels is renowned for its high standard of education, which focuses heavily on conceptual learning and application. The A Levels syllabus is detailed, which teaches students about the subject in-depth. It also teaches critical thinking and analytical skills to students. Solved past papers, past years marking schemes, and other study resources are also available to prepare for the A Level examinations.
Pakistani students can easily apply for universities abroad after passing their A Levels. However, in Pakistan, universities will not accept students on their A Levels grades alone. Their A Levels grades must be equivalated to the Pakistani education standard by the Inter Board Committee of Chairmen (IBCC), Pakistan, in order to apply to local universities.
Moreover, it is believed that marks are deducted when equivalating the A Levels grades, which makes is especially difficult for A Levels students to apply to medical colleges in Pakistan. Furthermore, A Levels is not offered by government schools in Pakistan, so students must attend private schools, or enroll as a private candidate, in order to study GCE A Levels. It is also considerably more expensive than the local education system.
Based upon the information above, you should determine which education system will be more suitable for you. If you are interested in studying abroad for university, or would prefer to have an internationally recognized high school qualification, then A Levels is an ideal option. A Levels is also suitable if you are interested in studying business, accounting, engineering, or other diverse subjects.
On the other hand, if you intend to study science-related degree programs in Pakistan after high school, then FSc will may be a better option for you. In particular, if you are interested in studying medical in Pakistan, then you should opt for pre-medical in FSc. Intermediate is also a better option if you do not want to pay the heavy fees of private schools.
At the end of the day, there are advantages and disadvantages of studying both education systems for 11th class and 12th class in Pakistan. You must determine which system will provide you the best opportunities for your future.