Spanish students attend high school for six years, but only the first four years, known as E.S.O. (Compulsory Scondary Education), are mandatory. The two courses after “E.S.O.” are called “Bachillerato” and are attended by most of the students who want to go to university.
The academic year in Spain runs from mid September to end of June. Spanish school system is divided into three terms, which are followed by end-of-term test and short vacations: two weeks of Christmas holidays and one week at Easter. In June students have to take their final exams. The results obtained on those exams, together with other assessments, will determine whether the student passes or fails. This applies to all high school courses but 2º de bachillerato (12th grade), as senior students end their course earlier to prepare the university entrance exams taking place from mid to the end of June.
High School in Spain consists in 10-12 subjects, but not all of them are studied daily. Lessons usually start around 8:30am and finish around 2:30pm, with an 30 minutes break at noon.
Some schools (especially private ones) also have lessons in the afternoon, and students tend to have lunch there, while public high school students generally go home for lunch.
E.S.O students have very similar schedules, choosing only 2 optional subjects from a fairly limited range of electives. Bachillerato students have all 4-5 common subjects (English, Spanish, History, Philosophy, P.E.) and then they can choose 3-4 subjects from certain itineraries: Science, Technology, Humanities and Social Studies.