What are: GCSEs

GCSEs are the most popular qualification for 14 to 16 year olds, and are taught in most schools throughout the UK.

When do I take them?

If you are at secondary school in the UK it is very likely that you will start working towards your taking your GCSEsGCSEs in year ten, and you’ll usually start thinking about what GCSEs you want to take in year nine. Read our guide to GCSE choices for more information about choosing the best GCSEs for you.

How long do they take?

You’ll start working towards your GCSEs in year ten, and usually take your final exams towards the end of year eleven, so two years.

Where will they take me?

GCSEs give you a really good set of skills which you can use as a stepping stone to learning at a higher level. So regardless of what you are planning to go on to do, from A-levels and BTECs to apprenticeships, working though your GCSEs will provide a solid platform.

GCSEs on the qualifications grid

The qualifications grid shows some of the most common qualifications in the UK, and their levels. There are 8 levels of study in the UK, remember these don't relate to how long qualifications take, but they are used to show how qualifications compare with each other. Use the grid to find out what level GCSEs are in comparison with other qualifications.


Where can I find out more?

Your teachers should be able to give you all the information you need about GCSEs, as well as actually teaching you for them! Brightside trust has an excellent resource explaining GCSEs, and if you are thinking about your GCSE options then check out our guide to choosing your GCSEs.