What are GCSEs?
These are the general qualifications you will do usually in Y10 and Y11.
You will choose your GCSE subjects in Year 9 and then study these subjects until Year 11.
You are likely to study between 7 and 9 GCSE subjects. GCSEs are assessed by exams taken at the end of the two year course.
GCSEs include subjects:
- You have to do – such as English, Maths and Science.
- You can choose to continue with or not – such as Art, History or PE
You might also be able to choose courses which are new to you, which might be work related qualifications – such as sociology, business studies etc…
Most GCSEs will be good general preparation for further learning and work so it’s not crucial to choose specific subjects to fit with a specific career at this stage.
Tips for how to choose and how not to choose your GCSEs
Choosing a subject because:
- You’ve heard it’s easy
- Your parents want you to do it
- You like the teacher [you may not be in their class]
- Your friend says they’re doing it! [you might not be in the same class]
How to Choose
- Attend year 9 options event at school [bring your parents too]. Make sure you ask questions about what’s involved in the subjects and what you’ll be learning about. It might be very different to what you have studied so far. Does it sound interesting? Do you think you will enjoy it?
- Ask your parents and teachers for advice as they know you best, and if you have any friends or brothers and sisters who have done the course already – ask them about it.
- Find out how the course is assessed? Are you someone who does better in coursework than in exams? If so, some of the vocational [work related] courses might be worth considering.
- Log into Unifrog using your school email address and use the careers library to find out more information about specific careers.
Think about your plans for the future
No idea what you want to do after your GCSEs? Don’t worry, choose a mix of GCSE subjects to give yourself as many different options as possible.
If you like one of your GCSE subjects and are looking for ideas of what careers or courses it could lead onto go to the following websites:
Know what you want to do in the future?
Some careers such as architecture, vet, working with languages etc. may require specific degree courses.
In this case work backwards – to get into these degree courses you may need specific A levels/Level 3 qualifications, and to do these you may need certain GCSE subjects and grades.
Check out what GCSE/A level subjects and grades you need for particular degree courses on informed choices and UCAS.