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My cousin and I are still in school, but something funky is going on with our graduation.

My cousin is two years older than me, just one grade above me, yet we both just finished middle school and are going into high school at the same time.

My cousin is a great student, and has never been held back, and neither have I.

How could it be that my cousin and I are going into high school at the same time? How am I two years younger than him but just one grade below him?

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    $\begingroup$ I suspect this has something to do with different countries, where some countries may finish middle school at grade 6 and others at 7, but if that's the case I don't have the specific knowledge $\endgroup$ – Tas Nov 20 '17 at 1:31
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    $\begingroup$ @Tas also, some school systems may have reformed their grade structures, so it's possible that students older than a certain point officially attend middle school for grade 9 but that students entering later are transferred to high school to complete 9th grade. This could happen, for example, as part of a budget cut to middle schools. $\endgroup$ – Robert Columbia Nov 20 '17 at 4:32
  • $\begingroup$ Could also be some time zone shifiting. Like if they were born at the same time but in different places over the date line on the new year then they could have different birth years. $\endgroup$ – Jay Nov 20 '17 at 6:46
  • $\begingroup$ The year difference is easy to explain. Where I come from years are two sets of years - so for instance year (grade) 7 is years 11/12 and year 8 then 12/13. So you could for example be 11 in year 7 and your cousin is 13 in year 8 $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Nov 20 '17 at 7:44
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    $\begingroup$ Or it could be something like on which day of the year they were born(like 31st December, to be specific) - one on 31st December and the other on 1st January, for example. Like as in quora.com/… $\endgroup$ – Mea Culpa Nay Nov 20 '17 at 10:46
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The easy bit: How are you two years younger, but only one grade lower:

The school year runs from early Autumn to mid Summer (specific months fairly variable) - you were born in August, and are thus one of the youngest in your school year, your cousin was born in September two years earlier, and is thus one of the oldest in their year. There's almost exactly two years between you.

The harder bit: How are you going into high school at the same time:

We're told that neither of you were held back a grade. We're not told that neither of you managed to skip forward. Your cousin's a great student, but you're really exceptional, and have in fact skipped a grade - the last one of middle school, it appears.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is one great approach, although there are many other ways too, and not the one I had in mind ;) $\endgroup$ – Assafi Cohen-Arazi Nov 20 '17 at 23:56
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I won't repeat the easy bit that logician already explained well.

A more plausible part for the hard bit of both entering high school, no insult to any ones academic abilities ;) would be:

Your in different school districts which start high school at a different grade. One may start high school at 8th and another 7th or 9th for example. Thus your still one grade year apart but still entering high school at the same time.

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  • $\begingroup$ Which district starts high school at 7th grade?! $\endgroup$ – Assafi Cohen-Arazi Nov 21 '17 at 22:21
  • $\begingroup$ That's a bit of a stretch, but in my home town, depending on where a student lived, they could attend 9th grade at either a middle (junior high) school, or at a (senior) high school, within the same district. $\endgroup$ – Herb Wolfe Nov 21 '17 at 23:03

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