来源：Step by Step 3000 1
Well, in Britain, from the ages of five to about eleven you start off at a primary school, and then from eleven to sixteen you go on to a secondary school or a comprehensive school and at sixteen you take GCSE examinations. After this, some children take vocational courses or even start work. Others stay on at school for another two years to take A levels. And at the age of eighteen, after A levels, they might finish their education or go on to a course of higher education at a college or university, and that’s usually for three years.
Well, it depends on what state you’re in but most kids in the United States start school at about six when they go to elementary school and that goes from the first grade up to the sixth grade. Some kids go to a kindergarten the year before that. Then they go on to junior high school, that’s about eleven, and that’s the seventh, eighth and ninth grades. And then they go on to senior high school around age fourteen starting in the tenth grade and finishing in the twelfth grade usually. Some students will leave school at sixteen and they’ll start work, but most of them stay on to graduate from high school at age eighteen. In the first year at high school or college students are called “freshmen”, in the second they’re called “sophomores”, in the third year we call them “juniors” and in the fourth year they’re called “seniors”. Now a lot of high school graduates then go to college or university and they do a four-year first degree course. Some of them might go to junior college which is a two-year course.
Well, in Australia, well most states anyway, children start their primary education at five after perhaps a brief time in kindergarten. They will stay at primary school until they’re about eleven, then they’ll either stay there or go to an intermediate school for a couple of years. Then they start high school usually twelve or thirteen, which you start in the third form. Now, after three years at high school you sit a general exam, some states call it School Certificate and that is a sort of general qualification and that if a sort of general qualification. After that you can leave school at sixteen or you can go on and sit your University Entrance Examination, which then gives you entrée into a university or it’s another useful qualification, and from then on you go to various sorts of higher education.
Education in Canada is a provincial responsibility, but schools are administered by local school boards.
Kindergarten is for children who are four or five years old. Children begin formal full-day schooling in Grade 1, when they are about six years old. They must stay in school at least until they are sixteen. However, most students continue to finish high school. Some go to college or university. Each year of schooling represents one grade. (The school year extends from the beginning of September to the end of June.) Elementary school includes kindergarten to about Grade 8. Secondary school (or high school) may start in Grade 8, 9, or 10 and it usually continues until Grade 12.
In Canada, students may go to university or to a community college. If they want to learn skills for specific job, they attend college for one or four years to get a diploma or certificate. For example, lab technicians, child-care workers, and hotel managers go to college. Universities offer degree programs as well as training professions, such as law, medicine, and teaching.
Universities offer three main levels of degrees. Students earn a bachelor’s degree after three or four years of study. A master’s degree can take another year or two. A doctorate may take a further three to seven years to complete.
Today I’d like to give you some idea about how life at an American university or college might be different from the way it is in your country. To be sure, the student body on a U. S. campus is a pretty diverse group of people. First of all, you will find students of all ages. Although most students start college at around the age of 18, you will see students in their 30s and 40s and even occasionally in their 60s and 70s. Students on a U.S. campus come from a wide variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. Many students work at least part-time, some of them work full-time. Many students live in dormitories on campus, some have their own apartments usually with other students, and others live at home. Some colleges and universities have a very diverse student population with many racial and ethnic minorities. Some schools have a fairly large foreign student population. So you can see that one meets all kinds of people on a U.S. college or university campus. Now that you have some general idea of differences in the student population, I’d like to talk a few minutes about what I think an average student is and then discuss with you what a typical class might be like.
Let’s begin my talking about an average student entering his or her freshman year. Of course, such a person never really exists, but still it’s convenient to talk about an “average” student for our purposes. Foreign students are often surprised at how poorly prepared American students are when they enter a university. Actually, at very select schools the students are usually very well prepared, but at less selective schools, they may not be as well prepared as students in your country are. Schools in the States simply admit a lot more students than is usual in most other countries. Also, most young American university students have not traveled in other countries and are not very well-versed in international matters and do not know a lot about people from other countries. Foreign students usually find them friendly but not very well-informed about their countries or cultures.
What kind of academic experiences will this so-called “average” student have? The average undergraduate student takes five classes a semester and is in class for 15 hours a week. If her or she takes a class that has a laboratory, this will require tow or three more hours. Many introductory undergraduate classes are given in large lectures of 100 or more students. However, many of these classes will have small discussion groups of 15 to 20 students that meet once a week. In these smaller groups, a teaching assistant will lead a discussion to help classify points in the lectures. Other kinds of classes – for example, language classes – will be much smaller so that students can practice language. In general, American professors are informal and friendly with their students, and, as much as possible, they expect and invite participation in the form of discussion. A large amount of reading and other work is often assigned to be done outside class, and students are expected to take full responsibility for completing these assignments and asking questions in class about those areas they don’t understand. As a rule of thumb, students spend two to three hours preparing for each hour they spend in class. American professors often encourage their students to visit them during office hours, especially if the students are having problems in the class.