Home > School Life > Picking GCSE Subjects

Picking GCSE Subjects

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 30 Nov 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Gcses picking Gcse Subjects picking

The General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) system was launched in 1986, and since then many millions of secondary students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have had to select which GCSE subjects they would like to study and eventually be examined in. If you are facing the task of picking GCSE subjects, the sheer number of options may be making your head spin right about now. Don't panic! By knowing your options, reviewing your educational history, examining your study strengths and pinpointing your own personal interests, you'll soon be on your way to picking the perfect GCSE timetable!

Know Your Options

Though GCSEs are not actually mandatory, the vast majority of students find that this qualification is the perfect building block to higher education and a further career. Look into your school's requirements about which subjects you must take, and realize that most students select courses in:

  • English
  • English literature
  • Maths
  • Science
  • Foreign language
  • Design and technology
  • Religious education
  • Physical education
  • ICT/DiDA
  • Welsh (compulsory in Wales)
  • Citizenship
  • Business studies
  • History
  • Media studies
  • Philosophy
  • Social science
  • Geography
  • Music

Review Your Educational History

Picking GCSE subjects usually takes place in Year 9 (Year 10 in Northern Ireland). By this time you have close to a decade of formal education under your belt and it is likely that you know which subjects you perform well in, and which you do not. If you truly have no idea, ask a trusted teacher or your school counsellor to advise you.

Examine Your Study Strengths

No one likes to look at their flaws, but in order to pick suitable GCSEs you need to do exactly that. When you look back over your educational strengths, look at what makes this so. Are you particularly strong in History because you read quickly and efficiently? Do you achieve more in English because you are a fluid writer? Do your laboratory skills make you a Science whiz? If so, then these are the subjects for you! On the flip side, examine which subjects you do particularly poorly in and figure out the reason. If you can't get your head around abstract concepts, Philosophy may not be the course for you. Similarly, if you are a technophobe then Media Studies probably shouldn't make it onto your subject short list.

Pinpoint Your Personal Interests

When you have narrowed down the subjects you excel in and your particularly strong skills, your final step to picking a great set of GCSEs is to pinpoint your personal interests. Does it matter that you can add quickly if you find Business about as interesting as watching paint dry? Does it matter if you are good at French but dream of living in Japan? Of course it does! These feelings are your internal guide to picking GCSEs. Don't select any subject that you aren't interested in at the outset because once the work starts, you'll lose even more interest even more quickly and that is just setting yourself up for failure.

Picking GCSE subjects may seem like a matter of life or death, but the good news is that with careful review and a little planning most students live to tell their tales. Before you solidify any of your subjects, have a parent, teacher or counsellor review your choices just to be on the safe side. When you get the all clear, breathe a sigh of relief and know that you have just started down a very exciting educational path. Good luck!

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • mawoo
    Re: How to Deal with Pressure From Parents
    im currently in 11th. ive most of the time scored well in maths and my own dream is accounting. ive gone to a…
    2 April 2020
  • Jt_.ly
    Re: Warning Signs of Self Harming
    Hi, my name is Jas. I’m in 6th grade and I’m 11 years old. Just about 3 weeks ago, I started cutting. I’ve been wanting to do so…
    26 March 2020
  • idk
    Re: Coping With Strict Parents
    I’m 14 my dad is really strict he doesn’t like me going out because he thinks I’ll get raped or assaulted by someone. he doesn’t like…
    23 March 2020
  • Abby
    Re: Coping With Strict Parents
    My parents are way too strict and its so embarrassing the way I get treated like a 10 year old when I am 15.It seems like I forever…
    9 March 2020
  • 1234
    Re: All about Abortion
    Hi I’m 14 nearly 15 and I’m almost a week late , I keep having cramps and very watery discharge with little blood in it I’m starting to think…
    2 March 2020
  • Keelan
    Re: Questionnaire: Are You Addicted to Social Networking Sites?
    Hello, My name is Keelan Spurrell and I am I 3rd year university student. I am currently…
    20 February 2020
  • Migz
    Re: Questionnaire: Are You Addicted to Social Networking Sites?
    Greetings, I am a Grade 10 student, of La Salle Green Hills, who is conducting a research…
    19 February 2020
  • honolulu
    Re: Teenage Pregnancy
    Hey I'm just 12 years old and I'm pregnant, but i don't care what the people say to me because I love my baby and my parents help me. I hope…
    17 February 2020
  • gina
    Re: How Can I Deal With My Over Protective Mum?
    I'm sorry about your dad, I have the same problem, but its my bestest friend. I totally get it, she thinks I'm…
    17 February 2020
  • tommygirl
    Re: Teenage Pregnancy
    Hey guys! I'm 13 years old and I'm pregnant with twins. I don't know what I should do but I'm searching for a baby sitter. Can you help me?
    17 February 2020