- FAQs Long-track Gymnasium
- FAQs Short-track Gymnasium
- FAQs Basic and Review Courses
FAQs Probationary Period Secondary Level II 6-Year Track
Can I (re)take the entrance exam after the 1st year of the intermediary upper-level even if that means I will be held back a year?
No, since the revision of the regulations by the State Council in May 2008 this is no longer possible. Students can either take the entrance exam after the 6th grade of primary school or decide on the secondary level II 4-year track after the 2nd year of the intermediary upper-level. Taking the exam after the 1st year of the intermediary upper-level is not possible.
My child has passed the entrance exam, which I am very relieved about. But now we’re faced with the next challenge – Latin. Can my child attend one of your courses in this subject before the school year officially begins?
No – we generally do not offer courses in which material is taught before it was taught in school. We want the students to refresh and solidify their knowledge with us, but the courses are not meant to serve as a substitute for school.
However, we are aware that students are confronted with an extensive amount of new material during their probationary period. To learn all this new information under the pressure of the probationary period is not always easy. That’s why we offer French (Envol 5+6), Latin and math courses during the autumn holidays to support students during their probationary period.
My son will begin the secondary level II 6-year track after the summer holidays, and I'm afraid that he won’t be able to cope with the intense pressure. How can I best prepare him for the transition? How much support should I offer my son?
The difference in difficulty between primary school and the secondary level II is indeed quite big. Your son will not only have to get used to having different teachers for each subject, but also a completely new teaching and studying pace, which can initially be a shock for many students.
However, your son will only be able to cope in the long-term if he overcomes this initial shock by himself, adapts his learning behavior and learns how to productively deal with setbacks (usually grades decline compared to primary school). Disproportionate assistance, such as pre-writing essays at home or studying together daily, is usually counterproductive. Try to provide your son with a pleasant learning environment that also includes space and time for relaxation. Everything else is up to your son.
I have a general question regarding the probationary period: Is it really true that students are put under pressure on purpose and then punished with bad grades? My child just came home with a 3-4 in German – this has never happened before.
Neither the one nor the other is the case. The secondary level II is simply more challenging than primary school – something that is reflected in the fact that each subject at the secondary level II is taught by a specialized teacher!
The increased difficulty of subjects as well as the pace of learning compared to primary school is related to the chosen education path. The stated objective of the secondary level II is "higher education", that is, giving students the ability to independently assert themselves at the university level later on. This can only be achieved if students have acquired sufficient basic knowledge in all subjects and have learned how to work well under time and performance pressure.
The big difference between primary school and the secondary level II is the need or independent organization, which must precede all the requirements named above. In primary school, students were always told exactly what, how and when to study – not so at the secondary level II. Bad grades are usually due to this transition, which disciplined students can overcome relatively quickly.
How can I get in touch with a teacher? In which case is this acceptable? My child has received a poor grade, and I would like to personally discuss this with him.
Under no circumstances should you call the teacher on his private phone number! A teacher is a person like any other and has the right to a set work schedule like the rest of the working population. If you wish to contact the teacher, the parents-teacher meetings that schools organize each semester would be best. Otherwise (if it really is something urgent), it is also acceptable to request a meeting with the teacher via email.
The fact that grades tend to fall rather than rise compared to the upper-level or primary school is rarely due to the teacher and mostly due to the curriculum, i.e., the more difficult subject matter and learning pace at the secondary level II.
I’m very concerned about the fact that my child’s grades have become much worse since starting the secondary level II. What could be the reason for the grade slump?
There could be several reasons – and your child is in no way alone. For one, the learning pace is much faster compared to primary school/the upper-level, which certainly plays a significant role. Your child now has several tests per week and receives instruction from various subject teachers who all have their own specific requirements – this is a big transition!
In addition, students are no longer in their familiar environment. Their way to school, their classmates, the cafeteria – everything has changed from one day to the next, which takes getting used to.
The most important thing now is that your child responds flexibly to the new circumstances. This means adapting his or her learning behavior if necessary, making new friends and not feeling intimidated by the new curriculum but viewing it as a challenge that can be overcome. Children “grow” into the secondary level II, which also means they may stumble at times.
What makes the secondary level II different from the upper-level?
Aside from the three additional years, the main difference lies in the extent of the subject matter – especially in individual subjects like biology. In addition, the pace of teaching is much faster, which means students must learn faster, too.
FAQs Probationary Period Secondary Level II 4-Year Track
A few weeks ago, my child started the secondary level II 4-year track. Although he masters the school requirements well, he’s having problems adjusting to the new class. He’s unable to make friends even though he was very popular at the upper-level. Why m
There are two basic types of secondary level II schools - long-term and short-term. If there is an attached long-term school, the groups in which students eat lunch together, do homework, etc. have often already formed after the second year. Those who join later on often have a hard time becoming part of these groups. Integration tends to be easier at a short-term only school since all the students are more or less starting over.
Is it possible that the risk of dropping out of school, having a grade slump or constant poor grades is higher at the 4-year secondary level II track than the 6-year track? My daughter is in her 5th year at the 6-year track now and often talks about fello
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to obtain specific statistics about this from the Department of Education, but the danger of a "slump" seems to be more or less equally distributed for all students. However, it may appear to long-term students that short-term students drop out more – whether intentionally or not. This is in part because long-term students already undergo a rigorous selection process during their first year, and weaker students tend to go back to the upper-level. The exact same thing happens with short-term students, but from the perspective of established long-term students this can seem like dropping out.
FAQs Basic and Review Courses
I just saw that you offer so-called basic courses and wasn’t sure what to think of them. Do they actually make a difference?
From the perspective of the students, our basic courses are by far the most successful courses. In these courses, we have time to build a sound knowledge base that students can fall back on again and again during their continued academic career. These courses are a long-term investment because they provide students with a solid base that helps them feel secure, confident and enthusiastic about the material.
How many students are in each course? Is it even possible to successfully impart basic knowledge in a classroom, or would a private tutor be more suitable for this?
The number of students is between three to eight per group, and of course it is possible to impart basic skills in a class! We used to offer individual lessons as well, but experience has shown that the group learning environment is much more productive and offers students the opportunity to work together.
Our child has no upcoming exams. Does it still make sense to take a basic course?
In this case, we especially recommend basic courses in order for students to be able to study stress-free and without pressure – something that is very rare these days. The basic course helps improve grades in the long-term, triggering a positive feedback loop:
Good grades make students like school more, and those who like going to school have better grades.
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