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5 Steps To Choosing Your Gcse Subjects

Choosing your GCSE subjects: A concise guide


We answer your FAQs and kick-start your selection process in this quick and easy guide to GCSE subject selection.

When should I choose my subjects?

When students are aged 13-14 and in Year 9, they will get a chance to decide which subjects they would like to study at Key Stage 4; these will then go on to be the subjects they take for their GCSEs. 

Be prepared for this by the mid-point of Year 9 and begin your research as early as possible.


Which subjects are compulsory?

Every school differs in the range of subjects that they offer but there are three compulsory subjects nationwide. At GCSE level, these are maths, English, and Science.

It should also be noted that some schools insist on students studying a language.


What does ‘entitlement areas’ mean?

There are officially four groups of subjects at GCSE level and these are called ‘entitlement areas’. Students will be offered at least one choice from each of the entitlement areas.

These are:

·       Design and Technology

·      Humanities (Geography and History)

·       Modern Foreign Languages

·      Arts


Thinking about your future

If you can, think ahead as far as you’re a Levels when choosing your GCSE subjects. It’s likely that a number of the subjects you choose at this point will be the ones you study for A Levels. 

You may not know or have any idea of what sort of career you would like to have but it is a good idea to try to think ahead if you can. If you still have no idea, don’t worry, there will be plenty of time in the future to think about your wider plans.


Choose subjects you enjoy

When making a choice, make sure you are happy with it and not just making a decision based on your school’s recommendations or recommendations from your parents. Try to choose subjects that you really like and enjoy. This will help you when it comes to exam times and you need motivation. If you enjoy something you are more likely to excel in it and find it easier to study – as well as get more satisfaction from it.


At GCSE level it is a good idea to give yourself the widest scope possible so that you will maintain a range of choice for yourself in future years relative to potential career areas. If you are unsure what your career options are likely to be, it’s a good idea to study as wide a range of subjects as possible, so that you get an overall range of knowledge across the topics. This will mean you are keeping your options open for the future.


While your school will guide you on the best subjects to choose for you, it’s important you choose subjects that you enjoy and to discuss your choices at home before making that final decision. 

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