How Many GCSEs Can You Take?

How Many GCSEs Do You Take (In 2022)?

In GCSE by Think Student Editor4 Comments

The results of your GCSEs can be what determines which A-Levels or jobs you do later in life. You might want to take more GCSEs to boost your chances of success, but how many is too many? 

In this article I’ll be taking a look at how many GCSEs you can take, and how many you should take. Read on if you’re interested in GCSEs and what you can do with them. 

Firstly, if you’re here for the short answer here it is: The majority of students will take 9/10 GCSEs, and this amount is perfectly credible to colleges, universities and employers. However, a very small amount of students will take 11 GCSEs and an even fewer amount of students will take 12+ GCSEs.

As you do have to take your GCSEs during school hours, the maximum amount of GCSEs that you could do at once is most likely around 16.

How Many GCSEs Should You Take? 

How Many GCSEs Should You Take?
GCSEs are the final hurdle of secondary school life, and should be taken seriously. You need to take the right amount of them and work hard in all of them to ensure your success. 

The average student takes 10 GCSEs, give or take a few. Any more than this can take a toll on your sanity, as the workload becomes too much. 

And the more stress you put yourself under, the worse your eventual grades will be. You need to balance the amount of GCSEs you take with how much work you can do for them. 

Any less than that and you’ll start to find it harder to get a job, or get into college. If you don’t take enough GCSEs then no matter what grades you get, you’ll find it a lot harder to get into places. 

It can also depend on what GCSEs you take, too. Harder GCSEs will mean you’ll want to take less of them, whereas easier GCSEs means you can take more of them. 

What Is The Most Amount Of GCSEs That You Can Take At Once?

GCSE Work Piling Up
If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to take as many GCSEs as you can to succeed in your education. There’s one problem with this – you can overwork yourself to the point of exhaustion. 

The most amount of GCSEs I’ve seen a student take is 16. Even then, they seemed to struggle with how much revision was necessary for them to pass.  

16 GCSEs is hard for any student, even if they are in the top band. 16 GCSEs will majorly strain your brain, and you’re unlikely to succeed in any of your endeavours if you try this. 

If you really want to take 16 GCSEs, and you think you can handle it, then go for it. Only the top students will succeed at this, though, so be careful. 

I recommend going for around ten GCSEs, if you want the highest chance of success. You could push it up to 12, if you’re really confident in your abilities. 

How Many GCSEs Do Sixth Form Colleges Want You To Have?

A-Level Independent Study In Libary
Whether you are applying for BTEC’s or A-Levels, most sixth form colleges want you to have at least 5 GCSEs graded at 9-4. However, all colleges require you to have at least a grade 4 in both GCSE English and Maths.

To find out more about what subjects sixth form colleges priotritise and why, check out this article which answers that exact question.

Furthermore, colleges do not nessercarily care more about students who have done 15 GCSEs as opposed to students who have only done 10 GCSEs. They care more about what grades you have achieved in the GCSEs that have closely related content to what you will be studying at college.

How Many GCSEs Do Universities Want You To Have? 

Going To University
Universities these days are looking more and more at your GCSEs as an indicator of your ability, as college students arrive with similar results. 

Universities not only look for good GCSE results, but they look for lots of them. Just like they prefer students with 4 A-Levels, the more GCSEs the better. 

However, if you’re worried that a university will reject you because you didn’t take enough GCSEs, don’t. Universities look primarily at your college results, then your GCSE results, and finally the amount of GCSEs you took. 

Make sure the GCSEs you do take, you have good grades in. University is for the top band of students, and that means students with at least 6-7 A*- C GCSEs. 

As long as you have around 9 GCSEs, you shouldn’t worry about getting into university. Just focus on carrying through your grades into college, and university will come easily. 

For more info on what universities like to see in your GCSEs, take a look at this article. 

How Many GCSEs Do Employers Want You To Have? 

Best GCSEs / A-Levels For A Job
GCSEs are used for more than just the education system, you know. If you want to get into good employment with prospects of a great career, you’re going to need a strong set of GCSEs under your belt. 

GCSEs come in especially handy when looking for jobs whilst in college. At this point in your life, GCSEs might be the only thing you can show your employer – aside from your CV and personal statement. 

Employers generally look for around 5-6 GCSEs at A*- C grade. For the new grading system, that’s 5-6 GCSEs at 9-4 grade. 

If you’ve got this many GCSEs, you should have no trouble finding a job. Even after college, having 5-6 strong GCSEs will get you far. 

In fact, there are some jobs you can get that don’t require any GCSEs. Take a look at this list of 23 of the highest paying jobs you can do that require no GCSEs if you don’t think you’ll pass. 

And if you really don’t think you’re going to pass, here’s a helpful article outlining what you can do if you fail all of your GCSEs. 

Can You Take More GCSEs Outside Of School? 

GCSE School
Your school might not let you take as many GCSEs as you might like, due to their lack of resources or just not enough hours in the day. But, can you take more GCSEs without school’s support? 

The answer is yes, if you commit to it. You can take as many GCSEs outside of school as you want, provided you’ve got the materials for it.  

Many students decide to hire a private tutor to teach them the content, and then sit the exam at school. This is a great way to learn and increase the number of GCSEs you’ll get, but it can be quite expensive. 

Another common way of taking more GCSEs outside of school is to self-teach. I know a few students that have self-taught GCSEs, be it through online materials or straight out of a book. 

This can be good (and cost effective too), but you need to be careful that you don’t teach yourself the wrong way. If you somehow mess up teaching yourself, then your exam will be affected, and all your hard work will have gone to waste. 

Another important thing to remember is to not spread yourself too thin. By taking GCSEs out of school, you reduce the amount of time you have to revise for your GCSEs in school. 

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2 years ago

Hiya! This was amazing to read as I am thinking of taking a maximum 3 extra gcses which would give me 13 in total – this was vary informative tho and is definitely helping me make my decisions!

Just me 💕
5 months ago

If you want to get into Oxford/Cambridge, is it handy to have several extra GCSEs under your belt? This is highly theoretical, I haven’t even picked my GCSE subjects yet…

Last edited 5 months ago by Just me 💕
Reply to  Just me 💕
2 months ago

same lol

5 months ago

I’m not sure, JM. I suppose, in case you fail a few, you might want a couple more… Say, you take twelve (as oxbridge students normally have around 8 GSCEs of 8-9 grades – which is a lot 🙃) and get a couple fives and sixes as well as eights and nines… Iona, that’s so cool! I’m only thinking of taking around average 😅… Anyway, nice article, it really helped 👏 🙏 💯. *Edit: 5 and 6 aren’t really fails though, sorry. I just meant that oxford and cambridge probably wouldn’t really care for them that much – they’re still… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Linn