General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSEs)

GCSEs are the main qualifications taken by 14 to 16 year olds, but are available to anyone who would like to study a subject that interests them. They can be taken in a wide range of academic and applied (work-related) subjects.

They involve studying the theory of a subject, combined with some investigative work. Some subjects also involve practical work.

They're available in more than 40 academic and nine applied subjects. The applied subjects are related to a broad area of work, such as engineering or tourism, and many are double the size of traditional GCSEs.

Young people can also take many GCSEs as short courses - these are equivalent to half a full GCSE, so can be taken in half the time.

GCSEs are graded A*-G and U (unclassified).

GCSEs are at levels 1 and 2 on the National Qualifications Framework, depending on the grade achieved.

Completing GCSEs at level 1 means a young person could move on to other courses or work-based training at levels 1 or 2.

Getting a GCSE can lead to a young person progressing to work, further study or an apprenticeship.

Related documents

The following document is in Portable Document Format (PDF). You can download software to view PDF documents for free from the Adobe website (opens in a new window)