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What are GCSEs?

  • GCSEs mainly involve studying the theory of a subject combined with some investigative work.
  • They are usually studied full-time at school or college, taking two years to complete. Short courses are also available.
  • GCSEs are subject-specific qualifications and are available in over 40 subjects ranging from Applied Business to Urdu.
  • GCSEs are graded A* to G, although some papers are tiered according to ability and so don’t target the full grade range
  • Many courses at university or college will require you to take GCSEs in certain subjects. If you have a particular aim in mind you should check the requirements for that course and take the appropriate subjects. If you are unsure what subjects you need, a Youth Support Worker can help you decide
  • Getting GCSEs can provide you with a variety of options, for example, work, further study or an apprenticeship
    • If you get five GCSEs at grades A* to C you can choose from a range of options for further study. For example, you could choose a level 3 qualification such as an AS/A level, Applied GCE, BTEC National, NVQ, a BTEC Apprenticeship or a mixture of these qualifications.
    • If you get fewer than five GCSEs at grades A* to C you would be likely to choose to study a level 1 or 2 qualification, such as BTEC First, NVQ, BTEC Apprenticeship, or a mixture of these

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BBC Bitesize - great revision resources for revising for your GCSEs

The Student Room - Information and articles on study, careers and exams