.... GCSE Options

GCSE Options Advice


    During Year 9 (ages 13-14) you will choose which subjects to study at Key Stage 4/GCSE (Years 10 to 11, ages 14-16). Your school will give you information about GCSE choices. It is important to choose subjects that you find enjoyable, but also to keep a good balance.

    Core subjects that are compulsory at GCSE are
  • English
  • Maths
  • Science (double or triple depending on school and/or pupil's ability

  • There are four groups of optional subjects, these vary between schools and are called 'entitlement areas'.

    These are:
  • Arts (including art and design, music, dance, drama and media arts
  • Humanities (history and geography)
  • Modern Foreign Languages
  • Design and Technology

  • It's not essential for you to choose one subject from each area, but studying a range of subjects at this stage is useful so that pupils have a wider base of options for later study and career choices.


    • Think for yourself. Focus on what you want to do - not what your friends are doing

    • Reflect on your learning experiences so far, focus on the courses and avoid thinking about the personalities

    • Think long term. Find out about what you need to help you achieve your goals beyond GCSE

    • Don't choose a subject just because your favourite teacher teaches it or because your subject teacher expects you to take it and you feel you should to please them.

    • Do not choose subjects just because your friends are doing them. Most of the time you will find there is at least one person you will be able to talk to and get along with, and you will be able to concentrate and do well in lessons without the disruption of your friends.

    • It is important to choose subjects that you enjoy, you will then approach them confidently and do well in them

    • Play to your strengths

    • Discuss your option choices with teachers and your parents - listen to their advice

    • Take into account workload. How much coursework is involved? How many exams are there? Are there practical assessments?

    • For new subjects only available at GCSE, download the syllabus to get an understanding about what it involves. Try to talk to students who are already on the course, and the teacher that runs it.