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Course Selections & Additional Qualifications for Grades 9–12

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Paths to University Meetings

Upper secondary school is the time to start focusing on your individualized Path to University. Each year on your Path to University you choose courses of interest that will be necessary for graduation and your specific university and career direction.

Our Paths to University meetings for grades 8–12 take place each year with students, parents and teachers. We introduce you to your course choices and guide you on the important decisions to be made at each grade level. In addition, you will learn about the optional additional qualifications, such as preparatory exams, certificates and diplomas, students may need when applying to universities worldwide.

These meetings are announced one year ahead in our ISR school event calendar, as well as in our weekly update newsletter online.

Course Selection: Grade 9

Students in grade 9 continue to study these same subjects:

  • English, mathematics, German, for which there are different levels
  • Science, which in grade 9 consists of one term of biology, one term of chemistry, one term of physics
  • Social studies, which covers history and geography
  • French or Spanish
  • The English reading programs, including the SABIS® and “Accelerated Reader” programs
  • IT – Information Technology
  • PE – Physical Education

Students must choose either

  • Music or art

Course Selection: Grade 10

At the end of grade 9, students make their course selections for grade 10. In grade 10 you have a wealth of courses to choose from including chemistry, physics and biology, economics, history and geography, French or Spanish, music or art, IT or PE and core courses Mathematics, English and German at different levels.

It is important to note that the courses you choose in grade 10 are prerequisites for the 6 courses you will take in the IB Diploma Program in grades 11 and 12

Students can choose a minimum of 7 and a maximum of 9 subjects out of different subject groups:

All grade 10 students must take at least one subject from the following groups

  • General Science
  • Social Science
  • Mathematics
  • Language

In grade 10 students have the option to study

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • History
  • Economics
  • Geography

IGCSE Certificate (optional)

In grade 10, students may take International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) courses, for which they have prepared in grades 9 and 10.

  • A UK based middle school curriculum
  • IGCSE courses and exams in grade 10
  • British universities look carefully at the results in these examinations
  • American and universities worldwide are also interested in the results of these middle school examinations

To receive the German “Sekundarabschluss I” (Mittlere Reife) through IGCSE examinations, please call the “Bezirksregierung Köln”, Tel: 0221 147-2048.

PSAT (optional)

A practice version of SAT as a diagnostic

  • Providing skills feedback in English and mathematics
  • Each year at ISR in October for students in grades 10 and 11

DELF / DELE (optional)

French and Spanish Language Diplomas, which offer students additional qualifications for their university applications.

  • DELF:
    • Standardized, state-approved French Language Diploma, recognized worldwide
    • Since 2005, offered in three levels, each consisting of four exams
    • Depending on student interest, ISR may offer DELF courses from level A2 to B1 in grades 9 and 10
  • DELE:
    • Standardized, state approved Spanish Language Diploma, recognized  worldwide
    • Offered in three levels, each consisting of five exams
    • Depending on student interest, ISR may offer DELE courses from level A2 to B1 in grades 9 and 10

Course Selection: Grades 11–12/ International Baccalaureate (IB) Program

In grade 11, most ISR students begin the two-year International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program studied in grades 11 and 12.

Alternatively, students may opt to continue with the IGCSE and go on to follow the Advanced Placement (AP) Program® in grade 12, an American first year university curriculum based on a one year, academically very challenging course of study

In term 2 of grade 10, students who decide to take the IB route choose their six IB Subjects in different levels from different subject groups.

The students have to choose three subjects in a high level (HL) and three in a standard level (SL).

  • Students may change their course selections during the two years program if they are not applying to universities in Germany.
  • There is no change of course selections allowed during the two years program if students intend to apply to German universities.

Optional Preparatory Exams in Grades 11 & 12

SAT or ACT exams are required at most U.S. universities.

PSAT (optional in Grade 11)

A practice version of SAT as a diagnostic

  • Providing skills feedback in English and mathematics
  • Each year at ISR in October for students in grades 10 and 11
SAT - Scholastic Aptitude Test
  1. SAT -  Scholastic Aptitude Test /General Test
    • To be taken in the spring of grade 11 and fall of grade 12
    • Test of developed language skills and mathematical reasoning abilities
    • Given at a test centre in Düsseldorf on specified dates throughout the year
    • SAT or ACT exams are required at most U.S. universities
  2. SAT 2 - Scholastic Aptitude Test/Subjects
    • Subject specific test to be taken in the fall of grade 12
    • Tests in specific subjects, given at a test centre in Düsseldorf on specified dates throughout the year
ACT - American College Testing
  • A four hour exam testing English, mathematics, reading and science reasoning
  • In general, strong science students tend to do better on this exam than on the SAT
  • To be taken in the spring of grade 11 and fall of grade 12
  • Given at a Düsseldorf test centre throughout the year

School Leaving Certificates

ISR Accredited High School Diploma/ SABIS® High School Diploma

The SABIS® periodic and final exams are required for the HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA, a leaving certification for ISR students which every student receives after successfully finishing grades 9–12.

To become a graduate of ISR, a student must acquire 26 successfully-completed credits in grades 9–12 to obtain a SABIS® High School Diploma.

IB Diploma – International Baccalaureate

  • Is designed as an academically challenging and balanced program of education with final examinations that prepare students for success at university and life beyond
  • Two year upper secondary program in grades 11 and 12
  • Offers a bilingual diploma
  • Internal Assessments
  • External Assessments and Examinations
  • Worldwide acceptance including Germany, credit at universities for courses with high scores
  • Facilitates a smooth access to German universities as German students may study Language and Literature in their mother tongue
  • All IB exams taken in May of IB Year 2

AP – Advanced Placement

  • American first year university curriculum based on a one year, academically very challenging course of study
  • External exam at the end of grade 12 at ISR
  • Worldwide acceptance
  • Acceptance at German universities depends on a specific selection of courses and score achievement

Our students at ISR qualify to study at universities worldwide, by combining the ISR High School Diploma with the IB, the SATs, the ACTS, and the IGCSEs or offer the APs in a similar combination depending on the requirements of the countries to which students wish to apply. Students and parents receive extensive counseling on their school leaving certificates choices.

In addition to your course selections and additional qualifications, further aspects will be important to consider during your upper secondary school years and Path to University:

Career and University Counseling

You may say, “But I don’t know yet what career I am considering or which university courses I wish to study!”  We offer career and university counseling to you in our University and Career Counseling Office beginning in grade 8. We talk with you about your career dreams and your own strengths in making a career selection, as well as offer personality and career assessments.

Grades Count for University Applications

In grades 9–12 your grades at the end of each year are recorded on your ISR school transcript for use in your university applications. These grades show your academic strengths to universities so that they may evaluate your suitability for courses for which you are applying

Involvement and Leadership

Getting involved in school activities and projects, Prefect work, sports, charity work, school events, internships and CAS (creativity, activity, service) projects in the IB years, will also help you develop your non-academic interests and leadership potential. It is important to your future to further develop your skills, strengths and passions in upper secondary school.