What GCSEs should my child choose?

by Anita Naik

Choosing GCSE options is never easy, especially as most students will do 8 - 10 GCSEs. This means your child will need to select a range of subjects, some of which will be compulsory, and others which can reflect their interests. Here's what you need to know.

How should my child choose their subjects?

Choosing the right subjects is a combination of what's compulsory, alongside, what your child's interests are, and also their possible future plans for University.

How many GCSEs should my child take?

Your child's school should be the guide here, but your child should expect to take around eight to ten subjects. Colleges, universities and most jobs expect at least 5 GCSEs with grades between 9 and 4.

Which GCSEs are compulsory?

Maths, English and Science are the core subjects everyone must take at GCSE in England. English Literature is also compulsory in most schools. Science will either be split into Biology, Chemistry and Physics or into two combined Science GCSEs. Other schools make a language and RE compulsory too. Your school should be able to give you clear guidelines on what's mandatory and what isn't.

Will these GCSE choices affect my child's A-level choices?

For specific A-Levels, you will need to have done a GCSE first, but some subjects only become available at A-Level for example; Psychology, so a wide range of GCSEs will be considered as an entry to these subjects. Speak to your school about the link between individual GCSEs and A-Levels.

Do universities care what GCSEs I choose?

All universities will want you to have good grades in the core subjects, especially maths and English. Other than that most don't mind what subjects you've studied at GCSE. Your A-level choices are more critical, so be sure of what you want to do at A-level is related to your GCSE choices.

4 top tips for students on choosing GCSE options

1. Don't pick a subject because you like a teacher or all your friends are in this class. Options need to be based on what subjects you genuinely like.

2. Try not to write off a subject you currently find hard or confusing as a tutor can help in this area and transform the subject for you.

3. Make sure you are knowledgeable about a subject you haven't yet studied. Talk to other students already on the GCSE course and look online to see what it involves.

4. Don't avoid a subject because it's currently boring in Year 8. The GCSE curriculum will be about areas you haven't yet learnt about, and a subject that seems dull may be transformed into something diverse and exciting.

Contact us for GCSE Tutors in all subject areas.