How to Do GCSEs as an Adult? A Step-by-Step Actionable Guide

How to Do GCSEs as an Adult? A Step-by-Step Actionable Guide

January 18, 2024 | 4months | General

Is it too late to get GCSEs? (+ real stories)

When studying at school, realising how important it is to get good GCSE grades is not easy. Many distractions appear at that time of life and academic success is usually not a priority. For this reason, many students decide to return to education later in life, possibly after their GCSE grades have barred their way into university or better job opportunities. These students tend to feel embarrassed about sitting in class with groups of teenagers, or even feel frustrated about having lost the chance when they had to sit for these exams during their teenage years. However, owning up and taking a second shot at GCSEs has more benefits than downsides, and most students adapt to getting back to education easily, realizing that the experience, in fact, is not that bad.

Benefits of taking GCSEs as an adult

GCSEs are beneficial for your professional and academic development regardless of the age at which you take them. Although the ideal scenario could be sitting for them at 18 years old, after finishing high school, taking them at an adult age brings about the same benefits, and can sometimes be even easier to achieve.

Personal development and achievement

Many students say that, after having sat for GCSEs at a mature age, they feel more content with their results. In terms of motivation, achieving higher grades than you did the first time can be very rewarding, and encourage students to take on a career path in further education.

Career advancement opportunities

GCSEs can open doors to further career opportunities. To evaluate your knowledge in certain areas, employers can take your GCSE grades as a reference, and they may request this qualification as a prerequisite for getting a job or even a promotion within your company.

Broadening knowledge and skill sets

Of course that GCSEs are not only a certificate to show at universities and companies, but they are proof of your knowledge in certain areas. Taking GCSE courses will actually provide you with knowledge and skills related to the subjects you have studied.

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How to sit GCSEs as a mature student (step-by-step)

1. Self-assessment

The first thing to keep in mind is what you want to take GCSEs for. Are you looking to change jobs? Do you want to enter university? Is it just a personal interest? Based on these questions, you will be able to determine how many subjects you need to study and which ones.

2. Research requirements

Not all schools allow private candidates to enrol in preparation courses. The same happens with exam centres. Then, you may ask yourself, “how do I register for GCSEs as a private candidate?” We suggest researching local schools and their requirements to find the right one. You can also consider enrolling on private adult GCSE courses online, which usually don’t put obstacles for private students.

3. Select GCSE subjects

If you want to access a specific career path, we recommend researching the prerequisites to enter your desired university. If not, you can focus on the most common subjects taken by students, called “facilitating subjects” which are accepted by most universities and provide you with a set of general skills that you will find useful for life.

4. Choose where to study

Students can choose different alternatives of places to study. The most typical is attending your local night school, where adults can take classes after children have finished their school day. Another option is enrolling in sixth-forms or colleges, which are more specific institutions to prepare for GCSEs and A-levels. And the most innovative option is taking online GCSE courses through private academies. These can be the best option for adult students because of the flexibility they bring.

5. Time management and regular revisions

Adults have far more responsibilities than high school students, and framing their curriculum can be difficult. Therefore, choosing the right methodology can be the key to success when studying for GCSEs. To achieve the right work-life-study balance, online courses are probably the best alternative, as they allow students to create their own study schedules, learn at their own pace (whether they want to fast track GCSE or take their time) and receive tutor support when necessary. Additionally, it can be a good option for those adult students who fear rejection when sitting in a classroom full of teenagers.

6. Select an exam centre

The bureaucratic part of taking GCSE exams can be tricky when you do it as an adult, as you need to enrol as a private candidate. In most cases, students have to take care of this stage on their own, and may sometimes find it difficult due to centres’ regulations. If you enrol with CloudLearn, all you need to do is contact your student advisor, look for what is the closest exam centre on our “find a GCSE exam centre near me” site and fill in the forms we send you. We help you skip the hassle.

Challenges and considerations

Balancing work, family, and studies

One of the biggest difficulties of studying in adulthood is fitting the study schedule into one’s busy life. In this matter, studying online helps you create your own study plan, distributing your hours along the week as you see fit. We recommend planning ahead what days and times you will dedicate to studying in order to create a routine as if you were attending school in person. This way, you will make sure you don’t fall behind with content and have no distractions while studying.

Financial considerations

Taking GCSEs at the end of high school is free for most students, but for private candidates course and exam fees must be paid. At CloudLearn, we know that this can be a downside for many. That’s why we facilitate different payment options to make your financing easier. Pay in monthly instalments throughout the duration of the course and get discounts for enrolling on the bulk. Check our website to find out more about seasonal promotions.

We have also prepared a guide on how much GCSEs cost to give you all the information you need on this sensitive issue.

Overcoming potential self-doubt and shame

Taking GCSE exams as an adult is not something to be embarrassed about, but proud of. Recognising this and striving to improve your professional future is a commendable task and shame should not stop you. Keep in mind your future goals and take the steps needed to achieve them.

Trying to do it all by yourself

Returning to education after a long time can be difficult, as it implies creating new routines, dealing with frustration and re-training your brain to acquire new knowledge. Although many students decide to study on their own, especially because of the shame that they may feel about taking GCSE classes, we highly recommend getting in touch with professionals who can help you along the way, both with academic content as well as your renovated student life.

Ensure success in your GCSEs with CloudLearn

There are many reasons why adults may want to take GCSE exams, either for the first or the second time, be it because of labour requirements, interest in further education or personal preference. Although the process of returning to education after a long time can be difficult, new alternatives offer flexible options that adult students can leverage. Enrol in CloudLearn’s online courses to benefit from studying at your own pace, creating your own study schedules, accessing 1-to-1 tutoring sessions, and carrying your materials with you everywhere you go. Go for the GCSE qualifications you need to open the doors to an improved professional future. Contact us now.

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Do I need GCSEs as an adult?

The importance of GCSEs in your life as an adult depends on your professional choices. GCSEs open the doors to university courses, higher job positions and deeper knowledge of academic subjects.

What is the maximum age to take GCSEs?

There is no maximum age to take GCSEs. If you are thinking that you may be too old for them, don’t! Anyone can resit GCSEs or take them for the first time despite of their age.

How much do GCSEs cost for adults?

The private candidate GCSE cost for preparation courses and exam fees vary depending on the academy and the examination centre. At CloudLearn, GCSE courses start from £410 and exam fees start at £240, although you can always find seasonal or on-the-bulk discounts!

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