During Year 9, your teachers start talking about GCSEs a lot, and you may have friends in older years already taking them.

What is a GCSE?

A General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) is a qualification normally taken by most UK students at the end of compulsory education. It  normally take two years and you take the final exams when you’re 16. The equivalent in Scotland is Standard Grade.

As well as giving you useful skills and knowledge in themselves, GCSEs are an important stepping stone if you want to get a job or continue studying. Many employers and colleges ask for candidates to have at least five GCSEs, so they will come in useful, whatever you choose to do.

Whilst you must study certain subjects like English, Science and Maths at GCSE level, there are a range of other subjects you can choose to study as well. Some courses are really practical and hands-on, whereas others are more academic and involve more reading and writing. You should be able to find something to suit your interests.