How many GCSEs do you take (according to your goals)?

How many GCSEs do you take (according to your goals)?

December 12, 2023 | 5months | General

When finishing high school, students in the UK have to sit for GCSE exams, certifications that attest their knowledge of a series of Core and Optional subjects. Because there are so many options to choose from, students sometimes struggle with deciding how many GCSEs to take, and which subjects to select. Here is a guide to decide how many GCSEs do you take based on your future goals.

How many GCSEs should you take?

Students in traditional schools need to follow their institution’s indications on how many GCSEs they should take. Aside from these rules, there are no official restrictions for students outside the traditional system.

How many GCSEs can you take as a minimum?

Based on university requirements, we can say that the minimum number of GCSEs you should take is 5 including Core subjects such as English, Maths & Science. Technically, you can decide to take less, but a lower number would mean having difficulty accessing university courses or job positions. We recommend following this guideline so that your efforts are not in vain.

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What is the maximum amount of GCSEs you can take?

Again, technically there is no limitation on how many GCSEs you can take, but the suggested maximum is 12. Beyond this number, the study material load would be too heavy and could lead to a higher probability of failing.

How many GCSEs does the average person have in the UK?

Based on these considerations, the average student normally takes between 8 and 10 GCSEs, as it means you can cover the minimum required while still keeping a wide range of topics to learn.

Average GCSEs Graph

How many GCSEs do you need…?

Many students are unsure about the amount of GCSEs to enrol in and usually ask themselves: “is 4 GCSEs OK?”, “is 8 GCSEs enough?” or “is 10 GCSEs too much?”. The answer to these questions lies in what you need this qualification for and what you will do after passing your exams. Continue reading for advice on how to choose the right GCSEs based on your academic and professional goals.

To do A Levels

Most sixth-forms or colleges in the UK require students to have passed a minimum of 5 GCSEs to apply for their courses. Additionally, students normally need to sit for certain subjects to gain access to related A-levels. For instance, students may be required to have taken the Maths GCSE to enter the Maths A-levels course.

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For university

Since 2015, the UK government has stated that all students should continue formal education until the age of 18. To fulfil this requirement, students wishing to attend university are expected to achieve A-level qualifications. Therefore, a minimum of 5 GCSEs is essential to access A-levels and then university. Nevertheless, this can vary depending on the university and the course you want to access, so we recommend that you do research based on your desired career path.

For an apprenticeship

There is a wide range of apprenticeships and these can take place at different levels of education. The first kind are equivalent to GCSEs, so they are suitable for students who dropped out of formal education before the age of 16. Intermediate apprenticeships are equivalent to A-levels, and can be taken as soon as you finish high school. To enter these apprenticeships, students must pass a minimum of two GCSE exams, typically English Language and Maths, with a grade above C(4).

To get a job

Even if students should remain in the educational system until the age 18, many choose to go straight into employment and decide to search for a job. This can be done immediately after leaving high school, or after taking technical courses through apprenticeships. In both cases, students normally need Maths and English GCSEs.

How to choose your GCSEs?

Besides the number of GCSEs you want to take, you also need to decide on the specific subjects you want to study. Currently, there are more than 80 subjects to pick from, and making this decision can sometimes be difficult.

Consulting with school counsellors or private tutors

If you need help with this task, you can always contact academic counsellors at your own school or privately. At CloudLearn, you can get in touch with our student advisors to help you set the path for GCSE preparation and later enrol in courses without any hassle.

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Setting personal goals

As said before, the most important considerations about selecting GCSE subjects are related to what you want to do after them. That is, if you are planning to go to university, we advise you to check which are the prerequisites for admission to certain courses and base your decision on them.

Balancing academics and extracurricular activities

Another point to bear in mind is that the more GCSEs you matriculate, the heavier the study load. Students are recommended to study 120 hours per subject to guarantee passing exams and even outstanding grades. Therefore, studying for 10 subjects requires full-time dedication to studying. It is advisable to consider which other activities you want to participate in (whether leisure- or work-related) and calculate how you can balance your time between these activities and studying. This can help you determine how many subjects you want to enrol in.

Commuting time can also be a considerable variable to keep in mind. If the school you choose is far from home, you may need to account for travelling time into your schedule. At this point, many students ask themselves: “Can I do a GCSE online?”

Traditional GCSEs vs online courses

Traditional schools and colleges typically place limitations on the number of GCSEs that you can study, together with structured schedules and timetables. If you are looking for more flexible alternatives, GCSE online courses can be the right choice for you. Online academies do not have restrictions on the number of GCSE you can take, allow you to study from anywhere and, most importantly, at your own pace. This means that you will not have to depend on institutional programmes, but organise your own. You can also fast-track your courses and study intensively while receiving support from your appointed tutor. Get in touch with our student advisors at CloudLearn to learn more about our innovative forms of study.

Ready to choose the best GCSEs for you?

Although this step can be confusing and challenging, determining how many and which GCSEs you can do is of utmost importance to you, professionally and academically. GCSEs are the key to opening doors at A-levels, apprenticeships, university and, later in life, job positions. Check out the subjects available at CloudLearn for maximum flexibility and guaranteed passing grades. Contact us today!

Student Thinking about GCSEs


Do GSCEs matter for University?

Although GCSEs alone are not enough to enter university, they are a necessary step to accessing A-levels, the true key to further education. For this, you need to sit for at least 5 GCSEs.

How many GCSEs do you need for Oxford and Cambridge?

Technically, there are no set GCSE requirements to enter Cambridge or Oxford, but the average accepted candidate has passed eight exams with grades 8 or 9. Keep in mind, however, that your GCSE performance is considered in the context of a series of interviews and UCAS points.

What can you do if you don’t have enough GCSEs to get into University?

Not getting the desired GCSE results is not the end of the world. Besides getting a second chance with exam resits, you can also aim at taking the A-levels directly at an online academy.

How many GCSEs is each subject worth?

Most subjects are only worth one GCSE, but a few options offer more than one certification at once. For instance, double or triple-award Science offers a condensed alternative to get the Physics, Chemistry and Biology GCSEs in one. Keep in mind that these exams are longer and more expensive than average.

How many GCSEs do you need to be a doctor?

According to the National Careers website, provided by the UK government, students who aim at becoming doctors need at least 5 GCSEs with grades 9 to 7 (A* or A), including English, Maths and Science and 3 A-levels, or equivalent, including Biology and Chemistry.

How many GCSEs do you need to get into sixth form?

Entry requirements vary from one sixth-form to another, but the average number of GCSEs necessary is 5. Additionally, many institutions request their students to choose A-levels correlating with the GCSEs they have.

How many UCAS points do GCSEs give you?

GCSEs do not provide UCAS points, as they are considered Level 2 certifications. Only Level 3 qualifications (A-levels and equivalent) score UCAS points. These will depend on the subject you choose and the grades you achieve.

How many GCSEs can you fail?

Technically, there is no limit to the number of GCSEs you can fail, but most institutions do not allow students to enrol in exams after failing for the 4th time. CloudLearn, however, guarantees that you don’t need to resit GCSEs, as we offer a 100% guaranteed pass.

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