This is the last stage in formal secondary education when pupils enter the post-compulsory, pre-university cycle which prepares them for third level education. This is when they choose between science or social science modules.
While some subjects, such as English, Basque and Spanish, are common to all the pupils, others are clearly oriented toward a particular area of interest. The groups of specialist subjects, or modules, are geared towards different fields of further education: technical e.g. architecture, engineering...; healthcare e.g. medicine, psychology, nursing...; business and the economy; and the humanities.
It is a demanding academic environment which requires unequivocal maturity on the part of the pupils, but is rewarded every year with outstanding results in the university entrance exams, well exceeding the average grade of pupils in the Basque Country.
It is also the time to acquire other valuable language qualifications: a C1 or C2 level in English (the Cambridge University Advanced and Proficiency Exams), and a B2 or C1 in Basque. At this level, certain subjects are still taught in English - Scientific Culture, Entrepreneurship, IT, Universal Literature, and, in addition, a special elective is offered to pupils who wish to graduate with the highest qualifiction in the Basque language.
Guidance and mentoring take on a critical role when pupils have to make important, life-changing decisions about their future. The guidance counsellors, tutors and teachers are very aware that success depends on the pupil making the right choice for his or her ability, expectations and disposition. Throughout this cycle, the same low ratio of 15 pupils per tutor as in Secondary Education is maintained and helps to ensure the pupils reach their full potential
They also go on a class trip to see different parts of Spain, play sports, and expand their general knowledge. In year 2, they take an end-of-studies cultural trip to Italy. They can also participate in the exchange programme with the Blue Coat School in Liverpool.