What is GCSE?

GCSE stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education. It’s a replacement for the old O (Ordinary) Levels and CSEs (Certificate of Secondary Education). 

It’s the part of the National Curriculum taught to pupils aged 14 to 16 in years 10 and 11. It also includes exams, the results of which have a significant bearing on a child’s future career.

Why is GCSE important?

GCSEs are the most import exams students take before college or university. The results have a huge effect on pupils’ futures. Many college courses require a minimum of 5 GCSEs at grade 4 or above (C or more in the old grading system) and some demand five grade 6s (A or A*).

Some college courses only accept students with grade 6 or more (A or A*) in that subject for GCSE and universities often require a minimum of grade 4 (C or above) in English, maths and at least one science before they will accept you for any course. 

How well students do in their GCSEs is the only real indication colleges have of potential students’ abilities. So, with further education and career in mind, GCSEs may well be the most important exams of all.


Which subjects are essential in GCSEs? 

Three core subjects, English, maths and science, are compulsory. All other subjects taken at GCSE are optional.


How are GCSEs graded? 

Grades range from 9 (highest) to 1 (lowest). Here’s how the new grades compare to the old: 

Grade 9 – The top mark is even higher than the old A*

Grade 8 – Below an A* but above an A

Grade 7 – Slightly below an A but only just

Grade 6 – Slightly better than a B

Grade 5 – Below a B but above a C. Also called a ‘strong pass’

Grade 4 – Equivalent of a C. Also called a ‘standard pass’

Grade 3 – Below a D but above an E

Grade 2 – Between an E and an F

Grade 1 – Between an F and a G

How can I help you with the GCSE?

I can help you with the English Language and English Literature parts of the test. Please contact me to discuss the details.