Kumasi High School Entrance Essay

Ms. Lucy Okinyo Ayodo – Principal

The ICS High School offers two University of Cambridge International Examination academic programmes: the Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) which is taken by students in Years 10 and 11 (Grades 9 & 10) and the Cambridge International AS/A level which is taken by students in Years 12 and 13 (Grades 11 & 12). The two academic programmes are carefully designed to engage students and give them solid foundations to achieve high levels of academic and personal attainment. The curriculum has been carefully designed to develop learners that are responsible, innovative, confident, and engaged.


The Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is one of the most recognized qualifications around the world. It is the world’s most popular international curriculum for 14-16-year-olds, leading to globally recognised and valued Cambridge IGCSE qualifications. The Cambridge IGCSE courses help learners to develop vital educational skills, including the ability to undertake individual projects, enquiry skills, recall of knowledge, oral skills, problem-solving, initiative, teamwork, and investigative skills. At ICS, we offer the May/June examination session only. The resulting qualification provides a foundation for higher level courses, such as Cambridge International A and AS level, the Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education, the North American Advanced Placement programme and the International Baccalaureate.

The IGCSE course requires students to take between eight to ten subjects including two from Group 1 and at least one from Groups 2-5. First Language English, Foreign Language French, Mathematics, Literature, ICT and at least one Science subject are compulsory for all IGCSE students in ICS. Students may select at least eight, and at the most ten subjects depending on their ability, interest, and career aspirations. The required learning hours per Cambridge IGCSE subject is 170 hours. This means that learners are expected to spend four hours per-week on each subject.


Assessments take place at the end of the two-year course and include written and oral tests, coursework, and practical assessments. Each learner’s performance is benchmarked using internationally recognized grades, A* to G. Cambridge IGCSE caters for different levels of ability with a choice between core and extended papers in many subjects. The core curriculum is based on an overview of the subject and is suitable for students expected to achieve C to G. The extended curriculum is more challenging and designed for students who are expected to achieve grades A* to C. Grades achieved through either route have the same value.

To maintain a highly rigorous academic experience, the school also offers the International Certificate of Education (ICE) option as part of the IGCSE programme. ICE candidates are required to reach certain standards in a group of subjects in order to obtain this certificate. The Cambridge ICE is awarded to learners who pass at least seven Cambridge IGCSE subjects, including two from Group 1 and one from Groups 2 to 5. The seventh subject may be chosen from any of the syllabus groups. Learners are awarded one of the three levels of the Cambridge ICE – Distinction, Merit or Pass – depending upon the grades earned in the seven examinations.


Students who successfully complete the Cambridge IGCSE continue with the Cambridge AS and A-Level programme for another two years. Over the course of the two-year Cambridge International AS and A-Level, students study three or four subjects chosen from the five subject groups of the Cambridge AS and A-Level curriculum.

The GCE Advanced A-Level is one of the most recognized qualifications around the world. For over 50 years, Cambridge A-Levels have been accepted as proof of academic ability for entry to universities and institutes of higher education. Cambridge International A-Level is a ‘gold standard’ qualification. It has exactly the same value in admitting students to universities as the UK equivalent and is accepted as an entry qualification to Ghanaian universities and universities worldwide. They are also important to employers who frequently demand A-Levels as a condition of job entry. Students study three or four subjects at A-Level with each course requiring 360 learning hours. This means that learners are expected to spend twelve hours – six hours in class and six hours on their own – per week to learn each subject. All non-language subjects are taught in English. ICS provides support for A-Level students with their studies and university applications by organizing regular training sessions on the university application process, essay writing techniques and SAT preparation for students starting year 12, and the first term of year 13. Most Thursday afternoons at ICS are used for essay consultations and discussions. Every student, whether IGCSE or A-Level, participates in a number of co-curricular activities. Co-curricular activities take place every Monday and Friday for all secondary students from 3:00pm to 5:00pm. By making enrichment programmes an integral part of our Secondary School Academic Programme, younger students have a meaningful opportunity to explore a range of experiences and opportunities.

To complete the Cambridge A-Level, students take the Cambridge AS and A-Level exam in three or four subjects at the end of year 13. Predicted results are provided to college admissions officers with final results sent when available. In each subject, students may score from A* to E, with A* being the top score.

Are you a high school junior? Your college application is probably your first experience writing a personal statement. From purpose to audience, here’s a quick run-down of how college essays are different than the essays you write for English class.

1. Purpose

A high school essay generally demonstrates to your teacher what you know. An application essay should demonstrate who you are. Colleges want to find out what you're passionate about, and what you would add to the campus community.

2. Audience

When your English teacher grades your essays, she puts them into the context of every interaction she’s ever had with you. Your personal statement is your one chance to speak directly to the admissions committee and demonstrate who you are beyond grades and test scores. Help colleges learn something about you that they cannot discover when reading the rest of your application. (Tip: Don’t treat your essay like a resume!)

3. Show, Don't Summarize

College essay topics are often open-ended. (“Recount a time when you experienced failure.“) But at heart, all college essays are asking you to demonstrate the same things: your ability to reflect and think critically. Summaries are fine for book reports, but when writing your college essay take the opportunity to really examine how an experience taught you something you didn't previously know about yourself, got you out of your comfort zone, or forced you to grow.

4. Authenticity

On a high school essay, it's generally not appropriate to use the first-person. Not only is it fine to make “I” statements in your application essays, but colleges expect your essays to sound like you, too!  Always be yourself in your application, not the candidate you think admissions committees want to see.

5. Originality Counts

When your teacher asks you to analyze the causes of the Civil War, he is going to receive a lot of essays that sound basically the same. But your college essay should be unique and individual to you. College admissions officers tell us that they see many essays about eye-opening travel experiences, the death of a loved one, or “The Big Game.” You can still write about these experiences, but the trick is in the details. No one sees the world quite the way you do, so let your personality shine through.

Read more tips on applying to college.

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