S.T.E.A.M. Day

An introduction to the HKDSE

The HKDSE or Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education is a full-time 3 year secondary curriculum. The HKDSE examination is a university entrance exam administered at the end of the 3 years with direct pipelines towards local undergraduate programs through a joint admissions program. 


What subjects do they offer?

There are 3 categories of subjects and 4 core subjects in category A (Chinese language, English language, Math, and Liberal Studies), which carry a majority weight in university admissions. Alongside these 4 subjects, students usually take 2 – 3 electives from Applied Learning Subjects in category B such as: creative studies, applied science, business etc. 


Scoring, scoring, scoring

One of the main criticisms of the HKDSE is related to the “3322 requirement”. Each subject is graded on a scale of 7 levels: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5*, 5** with 1 being the lowest and 5** being the highest. Students have to score at least a 3 in Chinese and English language and at least a 2 in math and liberal studies to fulfill basic university entrance requirements. Although high-scoring students can place into globally renowned universities, it has a fail rate of 42% (as of 2019). 


Is the HKDSE right for my child?

From our research and experience, the HKDSE best suits students who prefer less group work, passive learning and memorizing with a focus on the 4 core subjects, and are planning undergraduate study in Hong Kong. However, keep in mind that because of the “3322 requirement”, students have less opportunities to explore a range of subjects to explore their interests. 


When do I start preparing my child? 

If you ask us, preschool is far too young to be placing this kind of pressure on children. Tutor Time’s philosophy has always been to create an enjoyable learning environment where children want to learn. The way we teach follows a ‘learning-through-play’ mindset, where children pick up the academic and social skills that they need for the years ahead.