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The New Academic Structure (NAS) has been implemented since September 2009. The NAS provides every student with the opportunity to take part in a six-year secondary course. With the implementation of the NAS, the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (HKEAA) administered the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) in 2012 to replace the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE) and the Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination (HKALE).

To secure multiple pathways on both further studies and employment for candidates, the HKEAA has been working closely with university admission offices, higher education institutions, employers and professional bodies around the world to promote recognition of HKEAA qualifications.

Although HKEAA examinations have been widely accepted, some universities have set particular criteria for admission of overseas students. In cases where candidates wish to further their studies abroad, they may be required to take certain unified examinations conducted by the examination authorities of that particular country as one of the basic requirements. These include, for example, the SAT for the United States.