The process of choosing GCSE subjects can be challenging, especially when you are a student in Years 8-9 and are unsure of what you plan on doing later in life. For this reason, it’s completely normal that we all need some guidance at times. On top of this, for students who are educated outside a school environment, including those of you who are home-schooled, this becomes increasingly difficult.
One of the ways students tend to learn outside the classroom is through online courses. These are a valid option for anyone looking to take GCSEs away from school. However, for the best possible grades, it’s essential that you find the highest quality online courses.
On a broader note, this article will provide a detailed guide on how to select your GCSE choices if you’re still undecided, online, or not.
If you need further assistance in choosing your GCSE subjects, it will greatly benefit you to read further for my opinion on the best subjects to take online and why I would recommend each.
10. Business Studies
GCSE business studies is a course that allows students to learn about starting up, running, and growing a business. Within the course, you will learn about the key business terms and principles, as well as essential skills such as strategies for promotion and money management.
Why Should You Consider Business Studies?
If you are considering starting a business in the future, taking GCSE business studies can be a great way to get started. Although GCSE business isn’t a requirement when starting your own firm, it can give you a brief overview of what’s needed to start a business. As well as this, it provides a general introduction to the business world.
Taking GCSE business studies can still be great for you even if you don’t want to start your own business. It can teach you about all the elements contributing to the success. Although this is very brief, it can allow you to find other jobs in the business world.
Business Studies is a great option for online students because it requires no practical involvement or group work. All of the lessons can be self-taught online and it’s incredibly easy to find additional resources if you get stuck, due to the popularity of the subject. There are tons of tutors, fellow students, websites and more who are very willing to answer your business-related questions.
This Oxbridge website can guide you to one of the best online GCSE business studies courses.
Citizenship and PSHE (which is closely linked to citizenship) are subjects where you learn about many different things that relate to society, personal wellbeing, and life in general.
GCSE Citizenship is a course where you study society, its issues and how to live within the community, which you can read more about in the official DfE documentation. In addition, it will also teach you about the workings of various societal structures such as the judicial system, democracy and the government.
Why Should You Consider Citizenship?
Taking GCSE Citizenship can teach you the basics of how to function in society with processes such as voting and inclusivity, as well as essential life skills. The course will be helpful to any career due to the transferrable skills and competencies earned, such diversity which can be implemented into all workplaces.
Whilst citizenship makes a great online course, it is based around people and human behaviour. Due its nature, some parts of the course rely on interactivity and group work. However, this said, exam boards offering citizenship online have modified the courses to accommodate virtual students, hence why citizenship works so well as an online course.
ICT stands for information, computing and technology and is often taught in primary and secondary school as a compulsory subject, like with citizenship. GCSE ICT is a course where students may learn about ICT systems, networks, communications and the parts of computers and their systems, such as hardware and software.
Why Should You Consider ICT?
In today’s modern society, knowing your way around technology certainly has its benefits. Taking GCSE ICT can help build on your previous computing skills and teach you brand new ones as well. This can be a great advantage as most jobs involve some form of technology.
Whilst computer science is generally more popular for students looking for a career in computing, ICT can also be very useful. These could include but are not limited to web development, software development and data analytics.
Whilst ICT isn’t a particularly popular qualification, it’s one of the easiest to take online as the main purpose is obviously to teach computing skills. As someone taking the course using a computer, this means, in theory, you should have a good grasp of the basics to the subject. There are plenty of courses available from providers online such as the UK Open College, linked here. They offer a variety of subjects, including many of the others listed in this article.
Geography is the study of Earth, the places within it and the people that live in these places, as explained further by the National Geographic in this article. It is considered to be a science because it contains both observation and experimentation at times in the course.
There are two sides to Geography, physical and human, and each of these contains a few themes on the GCSE course. In physical geography, you will learn about Earth’s environment, landscapes, the climate and ecosystems.
In human geography, you are taught about people and how they affect the Earth, studying topics such as global development and resources. You will also be taught geographical skills such as mapping and collecting data.
Why Should You Consider Geography?
Studying GCSE Geography teaches you about the world we live in. The topics you study are incredibly relevant as they focus on the modern day and can easily be applied to real world situations. Learning about handling data is a useful skill that you can apply to other areas of your life, such as other subjects that you study, like business or science.
Geography is another very information-based GCSE, and most of the material itself is pretty self-explanatory. The skill for this qualification comes in applying the facts to exam questions. This means that online platforms can very easily supply good-quality geography courses that are easy to study.
History is the study of the past. By extension, it is also the study of the people, their actions, behaviour, views and decisions, and how that has led to now. The History GCSE course is explained further here. When studying history, evidence and reliable information are crucial as we have no other way of discovering what life was once like.
In GCSE History, you will study specific time periods and the key events that happened within them. You may also have to compare the different causes of certain events or evaluate the importance of key historical figures’ actions in notable events that they were involved in.
Why Should You Consider History?
GCSE History is heavily an essay-based subject. The GCSE History course is explained further in this article. Studying this course can be incredibly useful to develop your essay writing skills as they may come in handy at some other points in the future.
The subject forces you to evaluate information and rank how important certain factors are compared to others. This can help you to develop your critical thinking skills, another useful skill that you can apply to your daily life.
History is also part of the English Baccalaureate (as are English Language, English Literature, Maths, Languages, and Geography). These are subjects that a recommended for you to take at GCSE level as they will help to keep your options open for the future. History is considered in this system as it can make students more knowledgeable of the world around them and provides them with useful skills.
One great thing about taking GCSE History as an online course is that it is accessible. This is because you can easily be taught in videos, packs of information or with an online tutor, depending on what course provider you choose.
Each of these options can help you learn the information about your history course properly with an equally successful final result. In fact, there’s the possibility to achieve higher than students within a class as teaching will be personalised to you.
5. English Literature
GCSE English Literature is a course where you have to study and analyse various texts. These often include books, plays and poetry from a mixture of different time periods. For example, one of the set texts could be a play by Shakespeare and another may be a contemporary poem.
Why Should You Consider English Literature?
English Literature another subject considered in the English Baccalaureate (EBacc), which is explained in further detail here. These subjects can be especially good for you if you aren’t quite sure what you want to do when you finish your GCSEs.
Another part of the GCSE English Literature course is that you have to analyse. Analytical skills are a great thing to have and GCSE English Literature is a great way to develop this. Being able to analyse information is a skill that can be transferred to so many other areas of life, including other subjects. It is also a skill that is used in every single career, as you should analyse your own mistakes to improve.
This website provides more information about the best careers for analytical thinkers.
As part of the GCSE English Literature course, it is essential for you to read the texts given. For online students who have a reading habit, this means half the work is essentially done without the need for an in-person teacher.
A lot of the English Literature course involves independent study and developing essay skills. This is another reason why the subject is brilliant for online study because it allows students to spend most of their time away from a screen without reliance on a teacher.
4. Modern Foreign Languages
Modern Foreign Languages at GCSE teach you the basics of a language as well as certain topics such as family or holidays get a grasp of some intermediate words and sentences. Most commonly, the languages studied are French, German or Spanish, although many other languages are offered if they are still commonly spoken outside of the UK.
Languages such as Mandarin and Japanese count as modern foreign languages, whilst Ancient Greek and Latin do not. Normally, you are tested on your ability to speak, read, write, and listen to your chosen language.
Why Should You Consider Modern Foreign Languages?
As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, knowing how to speak another language is exceptionally beneficial and it would look great on your CV. It can also give you more opportunities (although you may have to study the language further to really reap the benefits).
Universities look favourably upon languages, as they are quite challenging, so you may even get a slight advantage. Some of the most prestigious universities even require you to have taken a language GCSE as part of their entry requirements.
The course works well online for the most part. The only problem with taking a language as an online GCSE is the speaking element. For this you will need a teacher or assessor who can record you for the speaking exam and send it off to the exam board.
For this reason, you want to be careful while choosing where to take the course online, as different course providers may offer various levels of support.
3. The Sciences
Science is the study of the world and how things work by conducting observations and experiments to find out. To get a GCSE (or more than one) in science, there are a few options: Single Award Science, Double Award Science or Triple Award Science, as explained further in this article.
Single Award Science is where you study a very basic and condensed version of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. With this course, you only get one GCSE at the end.
Double Award Science, also known as Combined Science, is the most common GCSE Science programme as it is compulsory in most schools. In this course, you get a general understanding of the three sciences whilst getting two GCSEs at the end.
For Combined Science with some exam boards, you can study in one of two ways, but both end in two grades:
- Trilogy allow you to take three separate papers.
- Synergy compiles the three sciences into two papers.
Triple Award Science is where you study Biology, Chemistry and Physics in a lot more depth than with Double Award Science and then get three separate GCSEs at the end of the course.
Check out this article for more information about the differences between Combined Science and Triple Science.
Why Should You Consider Sciences?
Regardless of which Science option you choose, having a GCSE or multiple GCSEs in Science can be extremely useful. For one, it can teach you a lot more about the world that we live in.
If you are considering a career in any area of STEM (which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths), it is crucial that you have at least GCSE level knowledge of science. If you want to study science further after finishing your GCSEs, you may even want to consider taking Triple Science, but it is not essential.
GCSE Science is another subject that is part of the English Baccalaureate and so it is recommended by the government to take as a GCSE to keep your options open for later on in life.
The course is perfect for online students because it has a great mixture of fact-learning and analytical skills. Due to its popularity as a GCSE course, there are also plenty of online resources available.
Maths is the study of numbers and how they relate to each other and the real world. It is very closely related with science and at times is considered to be a science itself.
During any GCSE Mathematics course, you will study several topics within Maths, such as algebra, geometry, and statistics. The subject is a compulsory GCSE. For more information about Maths as a subject, click here.
Why Should You Consider Maths?
GCSE Mathematics also tends to be a requirement for you to progress passed GCSE level education. Gaining a GCSE in maths can open so many doors for you as it will allow you to go on to study a lot more than you would have been able to without it. You may want to think about prioritising it above most of your other subjects as it will save you the time of having to study it again to retake the exams if you do not pass.
Studying maths helps you to develop problem solving skills. These skills are sought after by employers and having these may help you get a job if that is what you want.
If you want to carry on studying maths there are lots of opportunities, especially as the subject links to science so closely. The careers that link to maths are quite varied, and you can click this link to find out more about math careers.
Not only are there a ton of GCSE Maths courses available on the internet, but there are also thousands of resources available to help you study and revise. This is what makes it a great subject to study from home.
1. English Language
In the GCSE English Language course, you will study writing. This is both the writing of others and how to produce your own on a specific theme, topic, or audience. GCSE English Language tends is a compulsory course.
It also tends to be a requirement for you to progress passed GCSEs, as colleges, sixth forms and even some jobs will need you to have at least a grade 4 or a C to either study further or to be able to do the job. If you do not pass GCSE English Language you will have to retake the exams later on. This article describes the process of resitting exams in greater detail.
Why Should You Consider English Language?
Learning how to write can be an exceptionally useful skill. This is because you can apply it to your real life, rather than just the articles or stories you may have to write while you study the course. Studying GCSE English Language can help you to write better emails, better notes and even a better CV if you want to find a job.
GCSE English Language is, again, part of the English Baccalaureate. As mentioned above, the EBacc is a group of subjects that are recommended for you to take at GCSE for you to keep your options open for future study.
As with English Literature, the course takes a lot of independent motivation to study, hence why it works so well remotely. There are also a massive number of English tutors available outside online courses to help you progress in your studies.