Wednesday 4 November 2020

A Parents Guide to Understanding GCSE's

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At the end of Key Stage 3, young people are given the opportunity to choose their GCSE subjects, which can feel both exciting and quite daunting. I remember choosing mind and not really knowing what I wanted to do, it felt like such a big choice. I wanted to get it right but faced with lots of subjects and the knowledge that this what you will be studying for several years to come it can feel very overwhelming when it comes to choosing. 

With that said, your child will need plenty of support from you at this time to help them choose wisely. I have teamed up with a senior school in Bath to provide some information on GCSEs so that parents can be better equipped to help their children. 


What are GCSEs? 


A GCSE is a qualification taken by most UK students towards the end of Year 11. English, Maths and Science are usually mandatory subjects, but there is some leeway with the other subjects. In total, a student normally takes at least seven GCSEs. 


Choosing GCSE Subjects 


There are lots of things to consider when choosing GCSE subjects. What are your child’s interests? Which subjects are they best at? Under no circumstances should your child choose a subject just because their friends are taking it or they like the teacher; they have to be truly interested in the subject if they want to perform well in their exams.  


You should also talk to your child about what they’d like to do in the future as a career. If they have a specific job in mind, it would be wise to choose GCSE subjects related to this field. Do some research into what qualifications are required to secure a role in that particular industry. If your child is unsure about what they want to do, studying a variation of subjects will allow them to keep their options open.  




Exam period will roll around quickly and it’s important your child is ready. Help them prepare a revision timetable in advance which focusses on subject areas they might be struggling with. There’s no point in them revising a subject they’re already great at for hours on end and neglecting the subjects that need some extra work.  


Ensure your child gets plenty of rest during exam period; do not let them stay up until the early hours cramming. They will need to be alert and healthy if they want to perform well in the tests. You may also want to hire a private tutor during this period to help with any problem areas and ensure your child reaches their full potential. Hiring a private tutor can also be really helpful if your child has the knowledge but lacks the confidence in a subject too as having that extra bit of help can really boost their confidence in a subject. 

Some schools may even run things such as "options evenings", taster sessions or may run an evening where students and parents can come and explore different options. If your child is unsure about the subject's they want to take these can be a great insight into what each subject entails and may inspire them to want to study something in particular so it is definitely worth going along if you can. 

The most important thing is to remind your child that they are not alone and that they can talk to you at any point. Getting stressed over choosing GCSE subjects isn't going to help anyone any if your child is really stuck, asking a teacher to discuss options with your child individually can really help too. 


**This is a collaborative post.**

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