Choosing your GCSEs will often be the first time that you’re able to pick the subjects you want to study for yourself. Due to not having done this before, it can be difficult to know what that even is. One way to make picking your GCSE options more straightforward is to pick subjects that you’re good at or ones that are easier.
Be advised. The information that this ranking is based off is explained in the below section. If you wish to skip over to the rankings, understand that this list is not definitive. Although we’ve tried our best to use the most appropriate metrics for this ranking, judgements on the difficulty of a GCSE subject are heavily dependent on the individual student. Everyone’s approach to learning is unique and while some may find a particular GCSE subject easy, others may struggle.
Easiest GCSEs: Student Perception vs Pass Attainment Rates
Below you can find the visualisation GCSE subject difficulty rankings (top – easiest, bottom – 14ᵗʰ easiest). Displayed on the chart are both our own internal polling results and our analysis of pass attainment rates (a grade C/4 or above) for the 2022 cohort.
Click a chart legend (colour key) to filter the ranking by specific metric.
(*) Difficulty perception represents the proportion of students who voted that specific subject as the easiest GCSE during our polling. You can learn more about how we collected this data below.
(**) Pass attainment rates refer to the proportion of students in 2022 who achieved a C/4 or above. This data was collected from both this page of Ofqual’s website and the this page by the JCQ.
How were these rankings decided?
For each GCSE subject on this list, we discuss both of the following metrics:
- Our findings through student polling (ranking factor): Over the past few years, we’ve asked thousands of students what their opinion is on the easiest GCSE subject. When we refer to student polling, we are referencing the results of these polls. If you wish to add your vote to the list, please navigate to the questionnaire below.
- Our research on pass rates (based of Ofqual’s data release): As student polling doesn’t always tell the whole story, we’ve added a more quantitative metric to this ranking: the proportion of students who achieve C/4 or above. This also isn’t a perfect metric but in combination with the polling, it should steer the rankings in the right direction.
To prevent the complexity of attempting to combine our polling data and the official pass rates, the rankings for each subject are based solely on the student polling results. However, these rankings aren’t perfect, and students should be taking these with a pinch of salt.
How was the polling data collected?
Between February 2021 and January 2023, we displayed a poll on this page which prompted readers to vote on which GCSE subject was the easiest. Within this timeframe, we collect 777 votes, excluding submissions that were disregarded from the data set due to formatting issues or other errors.
In an effort to be transparent with our readers, listed below are some key limitations of our polling methods that could’ve swayed results:
- Static ordering of subjects on voting form: A previous iteration of our survey form listed GCSE subjects in the same order each time. It could be argued that this would favour the subjects that were listed at the top. This issue has been fixed in our updated voting form below.
- Voting form displayed only a subset of GCSE subjects: In an effort to increase readability, a previous iteration of our voting form only displayed a small subset of GCSE subjects. This removed any chance of certain GCSEs making it into this ranking. We have since remedied this issue by expanding the size of our subject subset within the voting form.
- Potential bad actors: Despite having anti-spam software in place, it is possible repeated entries were made by single individuals. With respect to privacy, we don’t ask for more information than we need and as a result, it is almost impossible to identify submission users to check if they are unique.
This article is a member of a series of GCSE ranking articles listed on this site. If you find our data and analysis within this article helpful, you may also wish to take a look at this Think Student article about the 10 hardest GCSE subjects.
Walkthrough of the GCSE difficulty rankings
Continue reading to learn more about the 10 GCSE subjects that students consider the easiest. This section of the article will give you more information about how easiness compares to pass rate and explain why students might consider these subjects easy.
10. GCSE Media/Film/TV studies
3.99% of the poll considered GCSE Media, Film or TV Studies as the easiest GCSE, putting it in 10th place. In 2022, 73.6% of students achieved a grade C/ 4 or above. To put this into perspective, the average pass rate for all subjects was 73%. As GCSE Media/ Film/ TV Studies is higher than this it would suggest that it is one of the easiest GCSEs as it enables students to pass more easily.
During GCSE Media, Film or TV Studies, students will study the different areas and key themes of their specific course. These may be to do with how certain aspects of media, film or TV are produced and students may even get the chance to create something of their own.
This makes GCSE Media/ Film/ TV Studies three of the easiest GCSEs as the content is very straightforward. This is because students will probably already be constantly exposed to different forms of media or film/ TV content, allowing then to be more familiar with what they’re learning before they even begin.
Also, these GCSEs are often considered fun. This makes it even easier as students will often be more engaged, making it easier to learn. To learn more about the GCSE Media course, check out this guide by Eduqas.
9. GCSE Hospitality
5.28% of the poll considered GCSE Hospitality as the easiest GCSE, making it the voted 9th easiest GCSE subject. The pass rates for GCSE Hospitality are unclear as it is not very common and is only offered by one exam board in the UK.
However, students most likely consider it one of the easiest GCSEs due to the content. When taking GCSE Hospitality, students will learn about the industry through topics, such as diet and health, first aid, customer care and marketing. As this course is aimed at developing students’ skills for a role in the hospitality industry, this content is mostly like very straightforward, making it one of the easiest GCSEs.
Also, as 50% of this GCSE is coursework, less pressure is put on the exams and so students may find this easier. To learn more about GCSE Hospitality, check out this page by CCEA and its CCEA specification here.
8. GCSE Design and Technology (DT)
5.41% of the poll voted GCSE Design and Technology as the easiest GCSE, putting it in 8th place. In 2022, 71.5% of students achieved a grade C/ 4 or above. While it is slightly lower than the average pass rate for all GCSEs, GCSE Design and Technology’s pass rate and consideration as one of the easiest GCSE subjects match up quite well.
When taking GCSE Design and Technology, students will be assessed with both an exam and more practical coursework. While it may slightly vary by exam board, the written exam will mostly be short answer questions. The coursework that you will have to complete will test your ability to apply what you have learnt throughout, such as with designing or technical skills.
Due to this, students most likely consider GCSE Design and Technology as one of the easiest GCSEs as it enables them to actively apply what they’re learning, which is often more engaging for students, who have picked this subject. Also, the extent of the course that is practical work may mean that students consider it easier as it is easier to manage and build on throughout the course rather than it solely relying on the exams at the end.
To learn more about how GCSE Design and Technology is assessed, check out this guide by AQA.
7. GCSE Music
6.31% of the poll chose GCSE Music as the easiest GCSE subject, this puts it in 7th place for the easiest GCSEs. In 2022 82.8% of students achieved a grade C/ 4 or above. As the pass rate is clearly higher than the previous rankings, it would suggest that GCSE Music is most definitely the next easiest of these.
This is likely due to the fact that during GCSE Music, students learn more about music and develop their own skills of it. As it only builds on what students already know, GCSE Music may be considered one of the easiest GCSEs as the content is straightforward and easy to understand.
Also, as GCSE Music is only building on what students already know, they will need to have some musical talent and interest outside of school. In fact, this may even be a requirement for students to be able to take the course, although this will depend on what the school has set. Due to this, GCSE Music may be perceived as even easier to students as they will already be very familiar with it.
To learn more about what students are taught and how they’re assessed for GCSE Music, check out this page by AQA.
6. GCSE Drama
7.34% of the poll voted GCSE Drama as the easiest, which makes it the joint 5th most voted GCSE subject along with GCSE Physical Education. In 2022, 80.8% of students achieved a grade C/ 4 or above. With the pass rate being slightly lower than GCSE Physical Education, GCSE Drama has been placed as the 6th easiest GCSE in this ranking with GCSE PE as the 5th.
The GCSE Drama pass rate is slightly lower than GCSE Music, which could suggest that it is actually harder than it. However, both GCSEs are very similar due to both being focused on students learning about the subject in an academic sense as well as actively participating and performing. Due to this, it would seem that these subjects are about as easy as each other, with the main difference being how students, such as in this poll, perceive them.
GCSE Drama is often considered easy as it is assessed through combination of written exam and practical exam. The written exam, in particular, may partially explain why GCSE Drama is considered easy, as it may also be open book, allowing students to focus on what they learnt and understood in the text rather than having to remember quotes and specifics.
Also, as students would have chosen GCSE Drama as it’s something they enjoy, the large focus on practical assessment rather than written would make it easier for these students as well. To learn more about how GCSE Drama is assessed, check out this page by AQA.
5. GCSE Physical Education (PE)
As mentioned above, as 7.34% of the poll voted GCSE Physical Education it is the joint 5th in terms of being considered easiest. In 2022, 81.9% of students achieved a grade C/ 4 or above. Due to this, it appears to be easier than GCSE Drama and so has been placed in 5th place and GCSE Drama in 6th.
During GCSE Physical Education, students will learn about different aspects of sport and fitness, including some biological aspects as well as social ones. Due to this, students may find GCSE PE easy as it the content can be easier to understand due to having some routes in what they’ve already learnt in core subjects like science.
Like many of these subjects that are considered easiest, GCSE PE is also assessed with an element of coursework/ practical exam. This may also add to why students consider it one of the easiest as it allows them to play to their strengths, especially as students, who choose GCSE PE will often be very active and may do sports outside of school. To learn more about how GCSE PE is assessed, check out this guide by AQA.
4. GCSE Geography
9.78% of the poll considered GCSE Geography as the easiest GCSE subject, which puts it in 4th place. In 2022, 72.1% of students achieved a grade C/ 4 or above. As its pass rate is lower than GCSE Music, GCSE Drama and GCSE PE, it would suggest that GCSE Geography is actually harder than these.
However, this may be due to the fact that GCSE Geography is a more common option, especially as it is considered one of the subjects that students need to take (unless they choose GCSE History) in order to complete the English Baccalaureate. Due to this, more students may be familiar with GCSE Geography, meaning that there are more students to have chosen it as easiest as well as more students to be counted in this pass rate.
In GCSE Geography, students will study 6 main themes, including human geography and physical geography. While this can sound like a lot and may slightly vary based on exam board, it seems that students may find GCSE Geography easy due to there being not a lot of content, compared to other subjects. For example, for GCSE Physics, there are 10 main themes that students will have to cover.
On top of that, the content GCSE Geography may be considered quite straightforward as students will probably have briefly covered some of these topics before. To learn more about GCSE Geography, check out this governmental guide. For more on how this compares to GCSE Physics, check out this governmental guide.
3. GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition
12.74% of the poll chose GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition as the easiest, making it the 3rd easiest GCSE in our ranking. In 2022, 72.6% of students achieved a grade C/ 4 or above. Being higher than the pass rate of GCSE Geography suggests that GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition is in its rightful place as the 3rd most voted easiest GCSE.
However, while only marginally, the GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition is lower than the average GCSE pass rate of 73%. While the reason for this is not clear, it could be due to the nature of the GCSE itself. This is because GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition is considered easy and so some students may not realise how much effort they have to put in before choosing it.
When taking the GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition course, students will be assessed in both a written paper and practical assessment. This allows GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition to be easier as there is less writing in exams and with the coursework element, students can work towards improving. Also, students may find that as long as they’re interested in cooking or baking, the content can be quite easy to follow.
To learn more about how GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition is assessed, check out this page by AQA.
2. GCSE Business Studies
16.34% of the poll voted GCSE Business Studies as the easiest, making it the 2nd easiest GCSE in this ranking. In 2022, 75.2% of students achieved a grade C/ 4 or above. With a higher pass rate than GCSE Food and Nutrition and GCSE Geography, this would suggest that GCSE Business Studies really is what students find the 2nd easiest GCSE.
In GCSE Business Studies, students will generally be taught about the basics of running a business. This includes key topics in business, such as profit, business plans and the basics of business law, as well as the calculations behind these.
Students will find GCSE Business Studies easy for a variety of reasons. Personally, I found that for the most part, GCSE Business Studies mostly comes down to common sense and reasoning.
This is because the majority of content is fairly straightforward once you’ve wrapped your head around it and can be easy to apply to the questions. If you would like to learn about how it compares to A-Level Business Studies, check out this Think Student article.
1. GCSE Religious Studies (RE)
17.37% of the poll considered GCSE Religious Studies as the easiest, meaning that in our ranking it was the most voted as the easiest subject. In 2022, 76.7% of students achieved a grade C/ 4 or above. This would suggest that GCSE Religious Studies is one of the easier subjects as it enables students to pass more easily.
However, compared to the likes of GCSE Music, GCSE Physical Education and GCSE Drama, GCSE Religious Studies’ pass rate is a bit lower. As mentioned in their respective section, this is likely due to the fact that people who study these 3 subjects are likely to be very interested in it, particularly outside of their course. While this can make it easier for them, particularly in regard to more of them passing, it doesn’t particularly show that they are easier than GCSE Religious Studies.
This is especially as when studying GCSE Religious Studies, students will be tested on their understanding of the religions they have studied. This will be done in a series of short answer questions as well as some longer questions, where students will have to analyse or evaluate to answer the question. The setup of this will depend on the exam board and the paper you take.
However, due to these mostly being short and largely memory based, students will often find GCSE Religious Studies easy as it can be straightforward to answer the questions. To learn more about how GCSE Religious Studies is assessed, check out this guide by Ofqual.