• Years 8 / 9 How do I choose my GCSE subjects? 18 February 2016 | View comments

  • Changes to GCSEs

    Pupils in year 8 / 9 will need to choose which subjects they study for GCSE. There are significant changes taking place for GCSEs and it is worth considering them.

    There is a move towards examination assessment at the end of the two years for most subjects and a lot less emphasis on coursework.

    Fewer subjects will be divided into ‘foundation’ and ‘higher’ tiers .Those students taking a foundation tier were only able to achieve grade C, whereas those take higher tiers could achieve up to a grade A.

    Examinations are changing too. There will be more essay-type answers rather than those requiring short answers.

    A new development is that grades will be from 9 (the highest) to 1 (lowest), rather than the current letters A* to G.  A grade C will now be equivalent to a grade 4.

    Stirling Careers Consultancy has put together a step-by-step approach guide to help parents / guardians and carers support their sons or daughters making their GCSE subject choices. It is important that your child should think carefully about their subject choices and do their research.

    Step 1 Research find out what your school is offering

    Each school will produce a booklet, often called an ‘Options Booklet’. This is a booklet about the subjects to be offered. Some schools will have an Open Evening whereby parents and pupils can talk to teachers. Some will hold assemblies and in some cases offer the opportunity for a senior member of staff to meet individually with pupils.

    Compulsory Subjects: These are subjects that have to be taken. They include Maths, English (either literature and language separately, or as a single English GCSE) and a science plus maybe 1 or 2 others e.g. ICT, history, geography and/or a language depending on the school.  You also take PSHE, PE and Religious Education, which may involve a GCSE. These are subjects that they can use throughout their lives and in every job.

    Option Subjects: These subjects may include subjects such as art, design technology, humanities and modern languages.  Studying a range of subjects at this stage is useful so that pupils have a wider base of options for later study and for career choices.

    Step 2 Research each of the option subjects

    Step 3 Consider what you are good at and your interests

    Step 4 Think which subjects you might need in the future

    For some careers particular subjects are required.  For instance careers in medicine or veterinary science will need at least double science. Creative careers may need art/design and languages would be important if you want to work abroad.

    It is important to find out about careers you are considering and check to see if you need any particular GCSE subjects.  If you need to find out about entry requirements a good website is the National Careers Service. You should research under job profiles.

    Step 5 Draw up a shortlist of all subjects you might like to choose

    Step 6 Making a Decision

    Having done all your research, you can then to do the advantages and disadvantages of each subject and score each one between 1 (lowest) 10 (highest) based on how much you think it will suit your skills,  interests and career direction (if known) otherwise keep your options open.  Your family and teachers will be able to help you do this. Pick the subjects with the highest scores.

    You have finished and you can now submit your ‘Options Form’ to the appropriate person in the school.

    For additional help and support either call us on 0790 461 4946 email us at info@stirlingcareersconsultancy.co.uk or contact us via our contact form on our website:


    Well done.

    Good luck!!

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