When choosing your GCSE options there are some important factors for you to consider. You need to think about your personal strengths and what type of subjects you enjoy, but also where your choices may take you in the future. This involves thinking about what it is you want to do after you have completed Year 11.

GCSE Options – The Facts

When do I need to choose my GCSE options?

You usually start your GCSEs in Year 10 and 11, so you’ll need to choose the subjects you want to study for GCSE in Year 9 – for some schools this might happen in Year 8.

Different schools will ask students to pick their options at different times, but you’ll get plenty of notice and information from your teachers.

What GCSEs do I have to take?

Normally you can expect to take around 9 subjects at GCSE. Maths, English and Science are the core subjects everyone must take at GCSE. English Language is compulsory in all schools and so is English Literature in the majority of schools.

Science may be split into the three separate sciences (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) or into two Combined Science GCSEs.

Some schools may make other subjects compulsory, so check with your teachers to find out what rules your school has.

What are the optional subjects?

You can have fun choosing your other subjects, the choices are different in every school, but you may have the option to choose:

  • A modern foreign language. The most commonly taught are French, German and Spanish, but some schools also offer languages like Urdu. Some schools require you to take a modern foreign language, so check with your teachers whether these are part of your Options or compulsory.

  • A humanities subject like History, Geography, or Religious Studies.

  • An arts subject like Music, Drama, Art and Design, or Media Studies.

  • A selection of BTEC courses may be available such as Health & Social Care, Child Development, Performing Arts, Information Technology or Business.

  • A technical subject such as Design and Technology, Food Technology, or Computer Science.

  • All students have to do PE in years 10 and 11, but you can also take it as a GCSE option.

  • Some schools offer a social science subject such as Psychology or Sociology.


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