what subjects are compulsory in GCSE?Watch this thread
In Years 10 and 11 there are subjects you must take ('compulsory') and subjects you can choose between ('optional'). Talk to your parents, and teachers to help you decide which subjects are right for you.
Choosing subjects for a career
If you have a particular career in mind, it’s worth finding out if there are particular subjects you need to take. However, it’s also a good idea to keep your options open by choosing a wide range of subjects.
Some subjects are compulsory because they cover essential knowledge and skills that everyone needs for the future.
The subjects you'll have to take exams in are:
There are some other subjects that you have to study, but may not lead to exams:
- careers education
- information and communication technology (ICT)
- physical education (PE)
- religious studies
- sex and relationships education
- work-related learning
Some schools have other compulsory subjects - check with your teachers.
The optional subjects you can take in Years 10 and 11 vary from school to school. Your teachers will tell you what subjects are available - and some schools also put this information on their website.
However, your school must provide you with access to at least one course in each of four areas. These four ‘entitlement areas’ are:
- arts (including art and design, music, dance, drama and media arts)
- design and technology
- humanities (history and geography)
- modern foreign languages
Although your school must have at least one course available in each of these areas, it’s up to you whether you take them. Although some schools make you take a DT subject, I was lucky my school stopped doing that a couple of years ago and apart from English Language, English Literature, Maths and either double or triple science we could then choose all our options, but they did strongly encourage you to also choose one language
Other subjects you may be able to choose from include:
- business studies
- health and social care
- leisure and tourism
- skills for working life and life skills
- social sciences
These subjects might have different names at your school.
Which courses can you take?
You’ll be able to choose from a growing range of courses at age 14.
Again, you should check which of these are available at your school - not all schools offer the same options.
Entry level qualifications
You can take these before or alongside GCSEs. Available in a wide range of subjects, they can help you move on to other qualifications.
As well as GCSEs in traditional subjects, you can choose from work-related ('applied') or short course GCSEs.
Key and Functional Skills
Key Skills are essential skills that will help you succeed in study, training work and life. They cover communication, working with others, problem solving, number skills and more. You can take these as recognised qualifications, along with your other qualifications.
Functional Skills are practical skills in English, maths and information and communications technology (ICT). They are becoming a part of other qualifications, including GCSEs, Diplomas and Apprenticeships. Functional Skills will also be available as stand-alone qualifications.
Think of GCSE's as the first step to getting where you want to be, if you know what you want to do then great, if you are unsure then try and choose a good spread of subjects so you don't close any doors for either A levels or Uni later on. I personally knew I would probably want to study sports science at uni so I looked up what A levels I needed at where I want to study (Loughborough) and chose my GCSE's around that. But I also made sure my choices where good for other uni courses in case I changed my mind. I took my GCSE's this summer (so just started my A levels in September - which are Biology, History, Geography, Physical Education) My GCSE's were - English Literature, English Language, Maths, Core and additional Sciences, History, Geography, French, Physical Education. If you are going to do A levels most schools want a minimum of a grade B at GCSE in the subject and also usually a grade B in English and Maths too.
However if you are enrolled in a school, there will be some compulsory subjects as decided by your school. English Language and Maths are always compulsory in schools, and then there's likely to be additional subjects which may vary from school to school.
When I was in school, English Language, English Literature, combined science, at least 1 foreign language, one technology, and R.E. (Catholic school) were compulsory. The rest were personal choice but we had to take 10 GCSEs in total (including the 2 from combined science).
Not having English Language and Maths would be detrimental anyway if you want to progress to higher education, or to find employment.