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Tips and tricks to acing your GCSE Options

16 August 2022

4 mins

Hi, my name is Georgia and I am just about to start my final year of studying a Psychology with Criminology degree at Loughborough. I understand that choosing what you want to study at GCSE can be a tricky thing to do. There are so many confusing thoughts about your future and how best to make your decision. With that in mind, I would like to give you my tips on a few of the popular questions you are asking!  

How do I choose my GCSEs? 

Every school has their own individual process when it comes to students choosing your GCSE options. It can be a daunting time with such a big decision, but your teachers and advisers are there to help you make the best choice for you! 

The general process involves narrowing down the subjects you currently study, to around 8-11 subjects (depending on the school). It is worth checking with your school how many subjects they expect you to choose and if they have any conditions. For example, all schools will require you to take GCSE Maths, English and  Science. Some schools also ask that you take at least one Modern Foreign Language, so check with your school before you decide!  

What GCSEs should I choose?  

Over the course of your school years, you will have studied a tonne of different subjects! This can make it really difficult to narrow down as you might enjoy more than 11.  

Pick what you enjoy 

The most important thing to think about when making this choice is to pick the subjects you like the most. GCSEs are all about expanding your knowledge and learning about your favourite subjects in more depth, it’s therefore really important that you enjoy these subjects. You will be studying for your GCSEs for 2 years, so you don’t want to get bored.  

Don’t just pick the same subjects as your friends  

Don’t make your choices based on what your friends want to do. As fun as it is to be in lessons with your friends, you don’t want to be stuck studying subjects you don’t like, just because your friend wanted you to. You will see your friends outside of lessons, so you won’t miss out on anything if you pick different GCSE subjects!  

This is your choice and your choice only!  

This is your decision, and the choices of others shouldn’t play a part in the process. Don’t let your friends decide your GCSEs and equally, don’t let your parents decide for you either. Only you know what you truly enjoy, and therefore what GCSE options would be best for you. By all means check in with parents, guardians and teachers and see what ideas they have, but do not feel pressured or obliged to take their advice if you really don’t agree.  

Do my GCSE choices and results affect my future studies?  

In short, YES!  

Your GCSE choices often affect which subjects you can study at post-16 level (A Levels, BTECs etc.). Often schools require a certain baseline level of knowledge for students to be able to study particular subjects in sixth form/college, so you might need to have taken that subject or a similar one at GCSE. Keep this in mind when choosing your GCSE subjects – are there any subjects that you could see yourself studying as an A Level or BTEC.  

Adding to this, sixth forms and colleges sometimes require that you attain certain grades to progress to the next years after GCSEs. It is therefore really important to focus during your GCSE years and work hard to get good grades!  

Despite what some people believe, Universities DO look at your GCSE grades. They also often have minimum GCSE grade requirements much like they do with A Levels. These minimum requirements are often in English, Maths and Science. For example, Loughborough currently requires a minimum of Grade 6 in GCSE English Language and Maths for some of its courses and a minimum Grade 4 for some other courses.  

So, my final thoughts…  

I hope this has given you some things to think about and I wish you the best of luck with whatever you decide. Just remember it is ok to not have things all figured just yet just take your time and do what is best for you. 

Student Life

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