Which GCSE options should I choose?

The world of work may seem a long time in the future, but what you pick to study now could have a real difference in what you do when you’re older. In Year 9 (or Year 8 in some schools), you get to choose some of the subjects that you study in Year 10 and 11. Everyone has to do English, Maths and Science, because these are the subjects that employers, colleges and universities will look for. The other subjects that you take depend on your school: some may expect you to do a modern language or Religious studies, for example. You may also be offered more specialist subjects that are new to you, like sociology or geology.

If you have a specific career in mind, it is worth having a look to make sure you have chosen the best GCSE options to help you develop your skills in that area. Whether you are hoping to go on to university or if you just want some more information about which subjects will help you get your dream job, check out Which University. Their website offers lots of advice on the qualities and skills needed for certain careers and helps you decide which courses will help you achieve your goals.

If you’re unsure what to pick, it’s important to:

  • Find out as much as you can from teachers about what it will be like to study that subject at GCSE
  • Think about what you enjoy and find easy, but also what you are interested in and what skills you want to learn
  • Look at the way the subject is marked: if you don’t like exams, coursework based subjects will put less pressure on you at the end of Year 11.
  • Have a think about the balance of subjects: does what you’re picking fit in well, or provide a welcome break from other subjects?
  • Talk to friends, parents, tutors, careers advisers etc. about what they think you might enjoy or be good at.
  • Work backwards: if you’ve got a clear idea of what career you’d like to have, check to see if you need to have studied a certain subject to get there.

If you aren’t sure which career you want to pursue, it is still very important to choose the GCSE options that are right for you. Take a bit of time to research the different courses available to you and seek some careers advice to get a better idea of which subjects you should pick.

If you need more help choosing a career path, play Plotr’s online game to help you narrow down your options and explore different jobs that you might want to pursue. You will then be able to check what courses are needed for certain careers to help you choose your GCSE options. By taking part in this game, you will be able to pinpoint the career you are most suited to so that you can choose the best options for your future career. The website also has lots of useful articles and information for students, teachers and parents.



How are GCSEs changing?

GCSEs are changing and it can be confusing for young people and their parents/carers. The guide below gives details of some of the main changes and when they will happen.

From September 2017, the vast majority of GCSE subjects will be examined in a new style. There will be less coursework and more importance placed on the final exam. The new style GCSEs will be graded from 1 to 9, where 9 is the best grade you can achieve. There is no direct match to the old GCSEs, but 4 will be a pass mark, and 5 considered a strong pass.

Students sitting exams in the summer of 2017 will have their English and Maths papers graded in the new way, but all other subjects graded from A* to G. Students sitting their exams in 2018 will have almost all of their results in number grades, but some more specialist subjects (such as geology, economics and sociology) will be letter grades. You can see the full list of when each subject will change here.

Moving onto post-16 education

In the same way as publish A-C entry requirements schools and colleges will include entry requirements for the new GCSE grading (1-9)

When young people progress to college or school 6th form in September 2017 they will have to re-take their English and or maths if they have not achieved a grade 4 in these subjects.


Secondary Academic Support: would you like to have somewhere to go after school to get your homework done in a quiet supportive environment? visit  to find out about the Redbridge Homework club.

Weston Homework Club

Southampton University have recently set up a homework club that takes place at Weston Library. The sessions are for secondary school age pupils and run every Wednesday at YMCA Weston Community Library, 68 Weston Lane, Southampton, SO19 9GH . The sessions are on a drop in basis, so there is no need to book in advance.