What GCSE options are there?

If you are in Year 8 or 9, you will soon have to make a decision on what GCSE options to take.  There will be some subjects which you have to do, and some which you will be able to choose from. 

Some schools might have additional subjects which you have to take, but you will be given this information in plenty of time.

It's important that you think carefully about which subjects to take, as this will affect the choices you have later on, for further education, jobs and other training.If you are struggling to decide which are the best options for you, talk to parents/carers, teachers or a careers adviser in school who will be able to help you.  

Compulsory Subjects

The three main subjects which you have to take are:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Science

These subjects are really important for you, as they make a solid foundation to move on from.

Some schools might also require you to take certain subjects, such as history or geography, a language or religious education.

Optional Subjects

There is a whole range of different GCSE subjects to choose from, and schools must offer at least one subject from each of these areas:

  • Arts
  • Design and technology
  • Humanities
  • Modern foreign languages
  • Media
  • Business
  • Performing arts
  • Computing/IT

The exact subjects offered will differ depending on which school you attend, so check the information given to you carefully before making any decisions.

GCSE Grades

GCSEs are now graded on a scale of 1-9.  Grade 9 is the highest grade and is awarded to the highest achievers.

It is generally accepted that a grade 4 is a pass, and is the minimum level that learners need to reach in English and maths.  If you don't get at least a 4, you will have to continue studying these two subjects past age 16.

Some 6th forms or colleges will require a level 5 or 6 to study specific A levels, so check this out.