Studying for your GCSEs is often known as Key Stage 4 and is the last two years you'll spend at secondary school - Years 10 and 11. In this time you'll be working towards a range of external qualifications which will be assessed through exams and coursework. The most common exams you'll take are GCSEs, but you might take these alongside vocational qualifications of NVQs and BTECs.
English, maths, science, ICT, PE, citizenship, sex education, careers education, religious education and work-related learning are all included in the national curriculum, so must be studied by all students between the ages of 14 and 16.
You now have to take at least eight subjects including the GCSEs of English; maths; three subjects from the sciences, computer science, geography, history and languages; and three further subjects, which can be another three from the previous list, or further GCSEs or vocational qualifications.
In Year 10, depending on how hard or easy you're finding your exams, you'll have to decide what you want to do after school. You've the opportunity to undertake an apprenticeship, go to College to studying for A-levels or more vocational qualifications, or start working alongside studying. Many of these options require you to gain specific grades at GCSE, so you'll need to think about how well you are going to do and what you think you can achieve, and what's required of you before applying. Most applications for college are done in the Autumn term of Year 11 and you'll have brief interviews for them in the Spring term.
|Academic Qualifications||Vocational Qualifications|
|GCSEs||BTEC (Levels 1 & 2)|
|NVQ (Levels 1 & 2)|