Deciding which GCSEs you want to take can be a very tough decision. This is because the subjects you choose will be taught to you for at least two years. If you don’t enjoy the subjects, then school will not be a joyous place for you. Therefore, thinking about what subjects to study should be done as soon as possible. It is important to know when these decisions have to be made, so you can be fully prepared.
Students usually choose the subjects they want to study at GCSE in Year 9. This allows them to study the subjects they have chosen for two years. The time in Year 9 where students have to choose their GCSEs varies between different schools. However, as long as the decision is made before Year 10, you will be able to study your chosen subjects. Some schools may let students choose their options in Year 8.
Knowing when you can pick your GCSE options is important, as this allows you to find out how long you have to make the decision. To find out more detail about when and how you make this decision, carry on reading!
Table of Contents
When do you pick your GCSE options?
Most schools allow students to choose the GCSEs they want to do in Year 9. This is when the students are either thirteen or fourteen years old.
This is due to the fact that you start learning the content for your GCSE subjects in Year 10. Therefore, you need to choose before the first term of Year 10.
Different schools have different times of the year where students choose their options. However, your school should give you plenty of notice so that you can take as much time as you need to make the best decision you can!
To find out more information about when you choose your options, you can check out the BBC Bitesize website if you click here.
You will then sit your GCSEs at the end of Year 11. More information about this can be found on this Think Student article.
Can you choose your GCSE options in Year 8?
Not all schools choose GCSEs in Year 9. Some choose from Year 8. This means that students will learn their GCSE subjects for three years, instead of two. This allows the subjects to be taught more in depth.
For tips on how to choose your options in Year 8, click here to check out the Starbank School website.
Some schools allow their students to choose one subject in Year 8 to study in Year 9. You are then able to pick the other subjects you want to take whilst in Year 9, ready to study in Year 10.
Check out the this website which gives more information about this particular process.
When should you decide your GCSE options?
You now know that most schools require their students to choose their GCSEs in Year 9. This means that you should probably start to think about what subjects you should do before them.
You need to make sure that you are prepared. From personal experience, I would recommend thinking about your options in the summer of Year 8 if your school requires you to make the decision by the end of Year 9.
You can do this by searching up the different subjects and what they are like at GCSE.
How do you pick your GCSE options
When the time comes, your school will usually hold an open evening, an assembly, or some sort of email to introduce you to the process.
Different schools use different processes. It could be a link to an online form, or a more common way is the use of SIMS options, through the SIMS student app. It will provide you with a list of GCSE options that you can choose from, and then ask you to choose your options, in order of preference.
What subjects can you pick for GCSE?
To get a job, most employers require you to have 5 GCSEs, at grades five to nine. These have to include GCSE maths, GCSE English language and literature and the core sciences.
You may have heard of the three different sciences taught at school. These are biology, chemistry, and physics.
Some schools allow you to only choose one single science. However, if you want to, you can choose all three. However, doing this means you have one less option for the other, unrelated science subject options.
To find out more about this, you can check out the success at school website, if you click here.
The subjects already outlined are compulsory. You can find more information about compulsory GCSE subjects on this Think Student article.
However, there are many other subjects that you can choose, which are not mandatory to take.
Most students are required to take nine GCSE subjects. Therefore, after the compulsory subjects you can choose out of these:
- A modern foreign language – The most common ones are French, German or Spanish. However, your school could offer others.
- A Humanities subject – such as Geography, History or Religious studies.
- Arts subjects – for example, music, art or drama.
- Technical subjects -such as woodwork, textiles or food technology.
- Physical education –E is required by every student. However, you are able to choose this as one of your options, where you will learn the theory as well.
You can discover more information about this on the Oxford Summer Courses website, if you click here.
For a full list of GCSE subjects, check out this article from Think Student.
Which GCSE options should you pick?
Picking your GCSE options is definitely a big decision! There are many things to think about. However, the tips outlined below will hopefully help you make a good decision.
One of the main things you should consider is whether you are good at the subjects you are allowed to choose. If you know that you are awful at woodwork for example, don’t pick it! Make sure that you pick subjects which you think you will be good at.
You should also be thinking about which subjects you enjoy the most. There is no point doing a subject you have chosen yourself for all of your GCSE years if you don’t enjoy it!
Another great factor to consider is to find out how each of the subjects are assessed. Some subjects are completely exam based. However, others include coursework, such as drama.
Therefore, if you don’t like exams, choose subjects which are more coursework based. Check out this article from Think Student to find out which GCSE subjects include coursework.
If you are still unsure, make the most of resources at school and ask your teachers. They are there to help you and will surely be happy to help you make the decision.
For more tips on how to decide, check out this page from icould.com.
You must be aware that you may not be able to take all of the subjects you want to. Popular subjects can be over-subscribed. Therefore, you may not get the opportunity to learn them.
Check out this article from Think Student to find out the most popular GCSE subjects.
Can you change your GCSE options?
If you feel really unhappy with the subjects you have chosen, there could be the chance to change. However, this could depend on each individual school.
It is important to make sure that you decide whether you want to continue with a subject or not after starting, as soon as possible. This is because GCSEs are a lot of work, and you don’t want to have to start a new GCSE subject after completing half of another one!
To discover more detail about the information in this article, check out the BBC Bitesize guide, if you click here.
GCSEs can seem scary. However, choosing the right options can make them less stressful for you. If you are still unsure about what GCSEs are and why you have to sit them, check out this article from Think Student.