GCSE choices

GCSEs and other pre-16 qualifications support your future learning and get you ready for Post-16 learning
A group of school students posing for the camera

At 13 or 14 you need to choose what subjects to study at GCSE level. 

What are GCSEs?

GCSEs are qualifications usually taken in Years 10-11. GCSEs get you ready for your next stage in education, training, or employment.

Good results in GCSEs can get you more options. But there are Post-16 learning opportunities for all.  

Crucial: Explore all GCSE subjects on the BBC Bitesize website

GCSE Maths, English and other compulsory subjects 

Compulsory subjects at GCSE level need to be retaken if you do not get the required grades. This always includes English and Maths.  

Crucial: Getting a grade 4 or above in English and Maths is also a requirement for lots of jobs and apprenticeships

GCSEs – you choose!

Choosing what you’d like to study can feel hard, but your school will help you decide. 

Age 13 or 14 might feel too early to be thinking about a career, but choices you make now can help you in the future.

Talk to your teachers or school careers adviser about the subjects you'll need for different careers, or research them yourself on the National Careers Service website.

My opinion: Young people can decide what they want to pick by choosing the options they think will help their future. Do NOT choose your options because of your friends, which teacher or by how hard it is. In my opinion I would choose options that can help you with your future, because you can combine them together to actually do something you’ve wanted. - Murat, 15, Oxford

Where can I study GCSEs?

Most young people to do their GCSEs at their local secondary school. 

There are other options for studying GCSEs. These include Further Education Colleges which take some students at age 14 to study GCSEs and do vocational courses. There are limited places, so talk to the college as early as possible.

There are also places for students who are home educated to study for GCSEs at local FE Colleges, though this can also be done entirely at home and organised by your parents or carers.

Find out more


Posted by gcse
Posted ago
thank you this was helpful
Posted by Donna
Posted ago
Can school choose the subjects for the children without giving them a choice just because they are expected to get A's?

Hi Donna, I edited your comment to remove the personal information as this is a public website - but this is a very interesting question. Schools are strongly motivated to support students to achieve the best results, but these should be the best results for the child. They should be in line with that child's future aspirations, but because future plans change they should also keep as many options open as possible. This is a difficult balancing act. Schools also have to balance the needs of all their pupils, and scheduling constraints and timetables may also be a factor. It may help you to know that some schools offer the opportunity for more able students to add a subject as an extra exam - you may wish to explore this possibility with the school.   

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