The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Your GCSE Subjects
One of the most challenging decisions a young person will make is choosing which GCSE subjects to study. There are so many things to consider, including your future career, your interests, and the topics your school offers.
In this guide, we will walk you through the process of making the right decision for you. We’ll provide information on how to research different courses, understand the exam structure, and make sure you pick the right subjects for your future.
Step One: Research
The first step in choosing your GCSE subjects is to do some research into which qualifications your school offers. The mandatory subjects include Math’s, English and Science, but you’ll have a choice about the other topics you study.
Most students study nine GCSE subjects, but some schools offer 10 or 11 to advanced learners. If a student has learning difficulties or struggles with academics, the school might suggest that they take 5 GCSE’s or combine academic subjects with a mixture of vocational topics.
The common subjects schools offer for GCSE study include languages, humanities, the arts and Technology. Let’s take a look at each in more detail.
Spanish, French and German are most common, and studying one of which is often compulsory from years 7 -9, but once you reach year 10, you can choose whether you want to continue with your modern foreign language studies.
History, Geography and Religious Studies are the most common humanities subjects, but schools often offer other options such as Psychology or Sociology.
The creative arts include various options like Art & Design, Music and Drama.
Biology, Chemistry and Physics are the three most popular sciences GCSE’s studied in the UK. While Science is a mandatory subject, some students choose to study advanced GCSE’s which means extra lessons.
A relatively new subject option for GCSE students is Technology which includes topics like Food Technology, Graphics and Product Design.
ICT or Information and Communications Technology is a subject that has been offered in some schools for many years. The course includes learning about computers, the internet and digital media.
All schools have mandatory PE lessons to encourage students to remain active, but if you’re interested in learning about the practical applications of physical education, you can choose to diversify your knowledge by studying it at the GCSE level.
Step Two: Practical Considerations
Once you know what subjects your school offers, it’s time to start thinking about what you want to study. This step can be difficult because there are so many things to consider.
Gaining GCSE qualifications is essential if you want to study for your A-Levels or do an apprenticeship. Most courses require grades of C or above (especially for A Level study).
While it’s essential to think about subjects you’ll enjoy, it’s also vital to consider which subjects you perform well in.
Nobody can be good at everything, and if you struggle with subjects like Geography, then it’s probably best to choose something you naturally excel in.
How Do You Handle Exams?
Education boards have changed the GCSE structure in the last few years after complaints that the subjects were becoming too easy to pass. Instead of focusing on coursework and modular exams, students now have to demonstrate their knowledge through exams at the end of year 11.
Step Three: Goals and Aspirations
Now it’s time to start thinking about your future goals and aspirations. What do you want to do after school? Do you want to go to university, or maybe take an apprenticeship?
Once you know what route you’d like to take, it’s easier to pick suitable GCSE subjects. For example, if you’re interested in studying law at university, English Literature and Maths are essential subjects. But you could choose Business Studies and History to demonstrate you excel at academics.
Similarly, if you want to get into a creative career, studying art, drama and music can help you secure a place at the college of your choice.
Should I Always Choose Subjects I’m Good At?
While we’d always recommend you choose a subject you excel in, many students struggle with the core subjects. English, Math’s and Science are the most important qualifications you’ll take, and it can be difficult for students to excel at all three.
If you’re worried about passing your core subjects, it’s beneficial to consider private tutoring. At Fleet Tutors, we have Math’s Science and GCSE English tutors, who can help to improve your understanding of a subject and give you the confidence to pass your exams.
Step Three: Ask Around
Once you’ve narrowed down your options, it’s time to ask around for advice. Friends and family can be a great source of information, but don’t forget to speak to your teachers too. They’ll have a lot of experience helping students choose their GCSE subjects, and they’ll know which courses are popular with universities.
It’s also worth checking out online forums or websites like The Student Room, which have hundreds of discussions about choosing the right GCSE subjects.
Most schools also have opening evenings for students and parents to speak to subject leaders and discuss the syllabus, including whether the course will suit your future goals.
Things to Consider
Choosing your GCSE subjects shouldn’t be an impulsive decision because these qualifications are significant in defining your future opportunities.
For example, if you wanted to begin an apprenticeship to become a laboratory technician, good results in Science are essential – and it’s the same with creative roles.
Choosing the right GCSE subjects enables you to plan for your future, but if you’re not sure about what you want to do, why not select a diverse range of subjects? That way, you won’t need to worry about changing your mind because you’ll have a degree of flexibility.
If you’d like to discuss your options with Fleet Tutors, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We understand that studying for your GCSE’s can be a challenging time, but our tuition services enable you to gain the skills and confidence you need to pass your exams and look forward to a better future.