11th & 12th Grades: A Levels or High School Diploma?
At Brillantmont, our students can choose between a British A Level programme or a High School Diploma programme from 11th Grade onwards
Our long tradition and experience of teaching A Levels
Brillantmont is 140 years old and for nearly 80 of those, we have taught A Levels. We are one of the only schools in the Lake Geneva area which teaches British A Levels and we have years of experience. Many schools offer the IB (International Baccalauréat), however we feel strongly that IB is not the best programme for everyone. We feel that A Levels are a great choice because:
A Levels offer students flexibility and choice.
In the IB, the programme is fixed and students have to study a range of subjects, including those which they may not enjoy. With A Levels, students get to choose three, four or even five subjects, which they can study in depth. They can focus on subjects they like and enjoy and not be pulled down by having to study subjects they don't want to study.
A Levels prepare students for university
A Levels are recognised all over the world. Universities will specify the grades and the subjects required to enrol in their degree programmes. A Levels are so highly regarded that in the USA, good A Level grades will mean students get credit and can directly enter the 2nd year of study. The depth of study and the autonomy that students take for their learning, prepare them for university study.
Which A Levels does Brillantmont offer?
Maths, Chemistry, Physics, Biology
English Language, English Literature, French, Spanish, German
Geography, History, Economics, Art and Design
How do A Levels work?
An A Level is comprised of two parts - AS and A2. AS + A2 = A Level.
Students usually take the AS exams at the end of Grade 11 and continue to take the A2 exams at the end of Grade 12, though sometimes, a student may take their AS and A2 exams in the same session.
What about Service Learning?
Many people like the IB because of the Service Learning it offers. However, at Brillantmont, students can get fully involved in Service Learning and it is a choice, not something imposed upon them. They can choose to join Habitat for Humanity, which involves building a house for a family in need, or they can participate in the weekly Soup Kitchen in Lausanne, where our students volunteer and get involved with fundraising events throughout the school. We are also involved in a project teaching refugees in Lausanne.
Are A Levels recognised everywhere?
Yes, A Levels are recognised in universities worldwide. Universities like A Levels because the depth of study and the autonomy required means that they are well-prepared for university.
Our experience is that Cambridge Advanced qualifications such as Cambridge International AS
& A Levels are consistently robust and reliable, and prepare students very well for higher education.” (Admissions Officer, University of Newcastle, UK).
Each university will specify the required grades and criteria to enter its courses. In the USA, good A Level grades give students credit, allowing them to directly enter the 2nd year of study.
Can students enter Swiss universities with A Levels?
Yes, because A Levels are recognised worldwide and highly regarded. In Switzerland, specific subjects are required and French or German are needed depending on the location, so careful planning is crucial to ensure students make the right subject choices.
Find out more about A Levels here:
A video explaining the value of A Levels
A video explaining how universities consider Cambridge International A Levels
High School Diploma Programme
Brillantmont also offers the High School Diploma - how does this work?
The High School Diploma works on continual assessment for the High School Years, Grades 9-12. Students must work hard all year to pass their year and earn a credit. A credit is given for a class which is successfully completed over the school year. Brillantmont requires a certain number of credits to be able to graduate, in addition to other tests.
PSAT and SAT are US based examinations. They are required in order to graduate from High School and at Brillantmont, students are prepared for these tests, which are taken in school, because we are a test centre.
Does Brillantmont offer Advanced Placement (AP)?
Brillantmont does not specifically prepare AP, however in some subjects, there is a degree of crossover with the content of AP and A Levels and with additional work undertaken by the student, it may be possible to take APs in certain subjects.
Which is best for my child - A Levels or the High School Diploma?
This question is discussed at the Admissions stage and depends partly on the student's academic profile to date but also their objectives with regard to future choice of study. Some students at Brillantmont take a combination of British A Level classes and SATs, graduating in both programmes.
High School Graduation
100% of Brillantmont students continue to Higher Education. At the end of 12th Grade, if they successfully meet the academic requirements, our students graduate with either the High School Graduation Diploma or British A Level examinations.
Our students continue
their studies and enter universities around the world, including in
England, Switzerland, Canada and the USA, studying courses as varied as Medicine, International Relations, Fine Art and Business.