What's the Best Way to Pick Your GCSE Subjects?


  1. Can students choose what subjects they do for GCSE?
  2. At what age do you choose your GCSE subjects? 
  3. Should my parents help me choose my GCSE subjects? 
  4. What GCSE subjects should I take?


As you progress through Secondary school, the topic of GCSEs will begin to come up more and more frequently. It can be really daunting to know how to pick your GCSE subjects

It’s well worth talking to your parents and teachers but remember, so much has changed since they sat their exams at school, and you want to make sure that you do what’s right for you. Here at GoStudent, we have compiled the latest information so you can approach picking your GCSE subjects with confidence.girl studying for gcses

Can students choose what subjects they do for GCSE?


When it comes to how to approach picking your GCSE subjects, there are some guidelines that most secondary schools will implement to ensure a good variety of GCSE subjects will be chosen by all students.

You will take a mix of compulsory and optional GCSEs.

Compulsory GCSEs usually include English, Maths and Science 📚

Optional GCSEs are usually grouped together into categories such as Languages, Humanities, Art and Technical. Students are encouraged to pick optional subjects across every category to create a well-rounded mix of GCSEs overall.


At what age do you choose your GCSE subjects? 


You will most likely pick your GCSE subjects in Year 9. There will usually be an information event at school for students and parents, which will explain in more detail how to approach picking your GCSE subjects - this is a good chance to get your parents involved too if you want.


Should my parents help me choose my GCSE subjects?  


The fact that you are reading about whether your parents should help you to pick your GCSE subjects already shows that you are being objective and thinking about how strongly your parents should affect this decision.

We’d always encourage you to speak to your parents openly and honestly about which GCSE subjects appeal to you and why. Choosing GCSE subjects doesn’t need to be scary, in fact, many students enjoy the responsibility of being able to adapt their timetable to their preferences for the first time since starting school. 

We would also encourage you and your parents to speak to your teachers directly too. They are in the perfect position to offer guidance and will have your best interests at heart. 👩‍🏫

Take the time to ask what examinable parts the GCSE subject is made up of. For example, how many exams will there be and what do the exams consist of? Additionally, what are the coursework requirements? 

As well as a casual conversation with your teachers in school time, there will likely be an information evening at the school whereby you can meet each subject teacher with your parents so that they can ask questions and see examples of coursework too.


What GCSE subjects should I take?


When it comes to deciding how to approach picking your GCSE subjects it can be really tempting to consider what career you’d like to have when you are older and to pick subjects that closely match with this. 

Although this is a logical first step, we’d also advise not to be too rigid about it, for example, you might want to be an actor when you are older, so it’s likely that you would enjoy studying Drama at GCSE. However, studying Drama at GCSE is not compulsory to become an actor. Also, keep in mind that your career aspirations are likely to change between now and adulthood.

It can also be really tempting when deciding on GCSE subjects to lean towards choosing the same options as your friends. Although this may seem like a good way to make sure you have some fun as well as study hard, as a general rule, we strongly discourage this approach. 

Firstly, taking your own path when it comes to GCSE options can lead to meeting and making new friends, and secondly, all GCSE preparation will eventually lead to exams in that subject - you will be much better equipped to ace your exams if you genuinely like and are good at the subject. 

Overall, the simplest answer as to how to approach picking your GCSE subjects is to pick the subjects that you genuinely believe you will enjoy, that you are drawn to, and where the syllabus interests you. Good luck!