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A General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) is a type of qualification. You can do GCSEs in many different subjects including some related to the world of work. GCSEs offer a combination of written examinations and internal assessments. Most examinations take place at the end of the course but GCSEs that are split into units have end-of-unit assessments. They are graded from A* to G.

Subject choices Whats compulsory and whats optional?

English, maths and science are compulsory because they cover essential knowledge and skills that everyone needs for the future.

There are some other subjects that you have to study, but may not lead to exams:
· careers education
· citizenship
· information and communication technology (ICT)
· physical education (PE)
· religious studies
· sex and relationships education
· work-related learning

Some schools have other compulsory subjects and you can check this with your school.

Your options

The optional subjects you can take in Years 10 and 11 vary from school to school. Your teachers will tell you what subjects are available.
Your school must provide you with access to at least one course in each of four areas. They are:

· arts (including art and design, music, dance, drama and media arts)
· design and technology
· humanities (history and geography)
· modern foreign languages

Although your school must have at least one course available in each of these areas, its up to you whether you take them.

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