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It was initially available to pupils (generally in S5) who achieved a grade 3 or 4 Standard Grade but, with some schools choosing to use Intermediates over Standard Grade, it is now more available to S3/S4 pupils (dependent upon the school or individual departments within schools choice). It is believed that in certain subjects Intermediates are more useful to the students than Standard Grades because the work required for completion is more demanding, and better prepares the pupils for Higher, with a similar format to the reformed higher exams. Furthermore, the pupils are introduced to Higher work before they have sat their Intermediate 2 exam which also makes the transition easier (again this is very much dependent upon the subject).
The Intermediate 2 courses are generally made up of 3 national units, the main exceptions are English, Physics, and French, with mandatory internal assessments in each. The courses all consist of 40 hours. Mandatory passes are needed in the internal assessments or NAB's National Assessment Bank to gain the overall Course Award. However internal assessments are minimum competence, and so many schools have introduced end-of-unit assessments to help stop complacency.
As with other exams in the Higher Still curriculum, the grades pupils can receive in the final exam are A (usually about 70%+), B (usually about 60%+), a C (usually about 50%+), a D (usually 45%-49%) or a Fail (below 45%).
Pupils also sit for preparatory examinations (more commonly referred to as "Prelims" or, in some schools, "Mocks") before the final examinations usually administered in December or January. These examinations are conducted under final examination conditions, containing more challenging content than the final examination and help prepare students. The next level of education provided in Scotland are the "Highers"
Up until the summer of 2015, Intermediate 2 was a level of qualification certificated by the Scottish Qualifications Authority. It is no longer available and has been replaced by a new qualification level called "National 5".
Subjects Offered at Intermediate 2