Sixth Form Requirements: How Many and Which GCSEs Do You Need?

In A-Level, General by Think Student EditorLeave a Comment

At the end of Year 11, after completing GCSEs, school students decide whether to pursue an apprenticeship, or apply to a sixth form to further their education in a more academic way. Many people worry about whether their GCSE grades are good enough to get into sixth form. This article we will be answering many of your question on how to get into sixth form.

Entry requirements for sixth form depend on which A-Levels or BTECs you plan on taking. Overall, it’s advised that you have at least a grade 4-5 (C grade) in all your GCSEs and a grade 6-7 (B/A grade) in the subjects that you’re planning on studying. This is just a general rule of thumb, as the entry requirements vary for different subjects and courses.

Continue reading to find out the more specific requirements for the various A-Level, T-Level and BTEC subjects that you may wish to take at sixth form.

Which GCSEs are most important for A-Levels?

A-Levels are qualifications that are subject based and usually completed after Secondary school as a mark of entering Higher Education. These are also the most popular qualifications that pupils choose to do after Secondary school. There are a lot to choose from and it can be difficult to decide which to study, so we’ve compiled a list here of the most respected to help you decide.

The GCSEs that are most important for A-Levels depend on which area of study you’re looking to specialise in, and these will be outlined below. It is compulsory to achieve at least a pass mark in GCSE English and Maths. If you fail these GCSEs, you will be required to re-sit them at sixth form. To find out more check out this article.

STEM subjects

STEM subjects refer to subjects in the area of science, technology, engineering and maths. From this, it’s highly likely that a high Maths or Science grade will be beneficial as you’ll have some prior knowledge to build on at A-Level.

For more science-based A-Levels such as Biology or Chemistry, a Triple Science GCSE is highly favoured, with a grade above a 5 (B/C grade). This is because it covers a lot more content than the Combined Science GCSE. That being said, a grade 6-9 (B-A** grade) in Combined Science will still put you in good standing.

In terms of the maths-based A-Levels, such as Maths or Further Maths, a grade 6 (B/A grade) and above is all that’s required to take the A-Level.

Humanities subjects

Humanities subjects are to do with studies about human culture, such as geography, literature, philosophy and history. It may seem surprising, but to do a Humanities subject A-Level, the corresponding GCSE is not required. This is mainly because the GCSEs don’t go into much detail and although they may be helpful, they only provide a basic level of information and therefore aren’t compulsory.

Which GCSEs are most important for T-Levels?

T-Levels are a new addition to the line-up of courses available after Secondary School that helps pupils to develop the knowledge and technical skills required for more practical careers. A T-Level is equivalent to 3 A-Levels and a great alternative to apprenticeships, as they include more academic work in a classroom-based setting.

To do any T-Level courses, a GCSE grade of 4-9 (C-A** grade) in a minimum of 5 subjects is required, but as Maths is involved in all T-Level subjects, a grade 5-6 (B grade) or above is needed.

To find out more about T-Levels check out these helpful Think Student articles:

Which GCSEs are most important for BTECs?

BTECs are specialist qualifications that are more work related and also involve more practical experience. Most BTECs involve subjects to do with the Arts like Graphics and Design Technology, as well as Film Studies and Drama.

To do any BTEC at sixth form, it is usually required that you have either a grade 4-9 (C-A** grade) or a substantially high passion for the subject you’d like to do. This is just to make sure that you’re not overwhelmed with the new content that you’ll have to learn in order to achieve the qualification.

To find out more about BTECs, I recommend you check out this Think Student article.

How do you apply to sixth form?

The sixth form application processes usually open during the autumn term of Year 11. Your school will provide an application form, which is usually available on the school website, alongside any entry requirements and contact details of the staff managing applications.

You can apply to multiple sixth forms, as well as the sixth form of the school that you attend. It is important to note that acceptance into sixth form is based off your GCSE grades, so make sure you apply to a range of different ones to keep your options open.

This Think student article goes into great detail on the sixth form application process.

When is the sixth form application deadline?

Closing dates for sixth forms applications really do vary depending on which sixth form you want to apply to. The majority of sixth forms start their courses in September. It is safe to assume that applications for one intake of students will not be accepted after this time.

The typical application deadline for most sixth forms in England usually falls just before GCSE results are given out in August. This is because this gives the sixth forms time to hand out conditional offers to their applicants before their final GCSE results are revealed. However, this isn’t to say that some sixth forms don’t allow applications after results day. To find out more about sixth form applications check out this Think Student article.

I hope that you now understand the requirements to get into sixth form. As always it is important you check with your chosen sixth form what their requirements are. Hopefully you can make an educated decision on which A-Levels are suitable for you based on either your Mock or predicted GCSE grades.

If you’d like to learn more about sixth form, check out some of these related articles:

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