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British A Levels or the International Baccalaureate Programme?

| 0 comments| by Sarah Frei Sarah Frei

Here at Brillantmont, we strive to give our students the very best education. Our courses are designed to build our students’ knowledge and skills - and also to prepare them for life after school. Whether students are heading to university, or into the workplace, we aim to equip them with everything they will need in the future.

Brillantmont A Levels Chemistry class in Switzerland


This means offering a strong Grade 11/12 programme that is suited to their needs. Brillantmont has the choice of the British A Levels, or the American High School Diploma. Unlike other educational establishments, which tend to offer the International Baccalaureate, we have chosen to run the A Level course as we believe it has many benefits for our students.

A Levels or International Baccalaureate Programme
The International Baccalaureate programme is run widely across European schools. It is a broad curriculum, usually covering six subjects: two languages, a humanities subject, one of the sciences, mathematics, and art. The course also includes a community service element, requires an extended essay to be submitted, and covers the ‘theory of knowledge’.

A Levels, on the other hand, focus on a smaller number of subjects (minimum three) in deeper detail. Much more emphasis is placed on coursework and the final exams. Students begin by studying AS Levels in the first year - usually in four or five subjects - before opting for their strongest few to continue at A Level.


Learning at Swiss boarding school

One of the big advantages of the A Level over the IB is the ability to drop subjects which the student finds difficult, or has little interest in, in favour of studying in the areas they enjoy the most and are most confident in. Not all students have a talent for art, or skill in mathematics, or an aptitude for literature; instead, they excel in other areas, which the A Level allows them to explore and expand upon.


Brillantmont International School A Levels art curriculum

Preparing for university
Both qualifications are designed to build on knowledge gained during high school, and help students prepare for university - and later, the workplace. However, A Levels are better suited for making that jump into higher education. At university, students will usually focus exclusively on their chosen specialist subject (or two subjects, if they take the major/minor route). By studying for the A Levels, the student is already consolidating their skills in the subjects they will take at undergraduate level.


Brillantmont Robotics and coding class for A Level students

A Levels are extremely desirable qualifications, accepted at universities all around the world. The finest colleges and universities welcome A Level students who pass with high grades, opening doors to incredible courses and rewarding career paths.

High School Diploma option
Students who don’t wish to take their A Levels, or who are planning to attend an American university or college, might prefer to consider our US High School Diploma programme. This still allows students to access universities worldwide, but they may often require a foundation year first. There are no external examinations apart from the all important SATs and SAT subject tests; instead, students are assessed internally and have to attain a certain number of credits to graduate.


Brillantmont International School graduates


Contact Brillantmont International School

Founded in 1882, Brillantmont International School is one of the oldest boarding schools in Switzerland and is still owned and run by the founding family. The school welcomes boarding students and day students, aged 13-18 (Grades 8-12) from over 30 nationalities. Brillantmont students follow stimulating courses leading to internationally recognised examinations (British Checkpoint, IGCSE, A Level ; American High School Diploma, PSAT 8, PSAT 9, PSAT 10, SAT test, SAT subject test, IELTS). 
Small class sizes ensure that every student has close teacher attention and is constantly challenged. 

Students also enjoy the many extra-curricular activities available, which include Habitat for Humanity, Model United Nations, cooking club, events planning club, vocal club, rock band and numerous sports clubs such as rugby, volleyball, football, yoga, trampoline and many more.

If you would like to know more about our course content, or if you have any questions for our staff, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Call +41 21 310 0400 or email admissions@brillantmont.ch us at Brillantmont to speak to a member of the admissions team, and we will be happy to answer your questions.



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