GCSEs are essential from the minute you begin secondary school. They are the end goal for thousands of students each year and act as the foundation for your higher education and future career. Although you may not think they have much relevance with all the available qualifications employers can look to seek, they are still very valuable.

Whilst GCSEs used to begin in year 10 for most schools, there are some educational settings allowing students to begin them early. Some schools offer GCSEs from Year nine. This lower age is claimed to help reduce the stress of many exams and coursework in a short two-year period. However, it is more common for GCSEs to begin in Year 10. Before they begin, there is much to consider, including the GCSE options and the skills needed to ensure the best outcome. Unlike primary school, secondary school is more about learning and developing skills in addition to knowing the relevant information. So although you may not begin your GCSEs until Year 10, the skills you will be learning throughout the first three years are in practice with achieving success in your final GCSE exams. We offer a range of services to help you get prepared for GCSEs, so if you are worrying, why not take a look at our online tuition?

Do You Need GCSEs for A-Levels?

In short, yes. 5 GCSEs must be obtained to progress onto A-levels, each with a grade of 4 and above. A-levels can be very daunting and rely on students taking much more responsibility for their own learning, so perfecting the correct learning strategies and skills at GCSE is vital to A-Levels’ success.

GCSEs are the foundation for students to grow their skills and knowledge for A-Levels. For example, our GCSE English tuition in Birmingham offers the ability to learn the skills needed to understand the context behind written texts, which is helpful when it comes to studying this within A levels.

Within A-Levels, students must complete the work set without excessive encouragement or the same assistance that GCSE years offer. This can be difficult for students who didn’t take responsibility throughout GCSEs with their revisions and avoided the temptation to cram and revise the night before the exam. So, whilst the grades of GCSE are essential to access this path of higher learning, self-discipline is also an important skill needed.

Do You Need GCSEs for NVQs?

NVQs are a higher level of education, usually provided by colleges that offer an alternative to A-levels for more practical careers such as trades, hairdressers and beauticians. However, an NVQ provides an excellent introduction to many desired careers. It has various levels to complete, and each level can be accessed with varying GCSEs. Essentially, the better GCSEs you have, the higher level you can begin your NVQ training at.

  • Entry Level NVQ – This requires no previous qualifications and teaches the fundamentals and essential knowledge and skills.
  • NVQ Level 1 – This level is an introduction to the subject, so it may require very little if any, qualifications from GCSE.
  • NVQ Level 2 – Unlike previous NVQs, these may expect a certain amount of previous education before being able to join the course. Most Level 2 NVQs require at least 4 GCSEs at A*-E / 9-3 grade, including the essential maths and English.
  • NVQ Level 3 – If you have already completed the Level 2 NVQ in that topic, then you are instantly accepted for a level 3. However, if you have achieved higher GCSE results, depending on the subject, you may be able to skip the Level 2 NVQ requirements and get a head start on your NVQ.
  • NVQ Level 4 + – NVQs can go up to level 7, equivalent to a master’s degree from the university. Only a few colleges offer this, and you may find the need to finish the course at your local university.

Do Employers Require GCSEs?

Although you may intend to leave education after GCSEs, the law instructs that anyone under the age of 18 must remain in full or part-time education. However, this does allow you to explore the part-time job market or even take up an apprenticeship. If you are applying for an apprenticeship, your grades will be heavily considered if there are no other forms of education level. This route means that the first person judging your GCSE results will likely be an employer.

Apprenticeship schemes are a significant investment for a company, and to offer them, they need confidence in the apprentice they are looking to hire. Strong GCSE results reflect the commitment an individual has been willing to make for their own personal gain and achievement. This proves well for a company that is looking for the same commitment from an employee whilst they pay for their training.

When leaving education at 16, you have no real-life experience within a working role. The only appeal that helps you stand out on a CV is the ability to provide excellent GCSE results. GCSEs are even more critical if you leave formal education entirely and partake in an evening class to ensure you remain lawfully in education. This gives employers the confidence that you have chosen a route out of education from a place of strength instead of a disinterest in bettering yourself.

Which GCSEs Are the Best to Take?

If you have a clear path you wish to take, which most students do not when choosing their optional subjects, then picking a topic around that career could be a good option. For example, if you aimed to become the next Gordon Ramsey, food technology would be an ideal GCSE to take. However, very few students are ready to make that commitment at such an early age and will lean towards subjects they think sound fun and exciting such as P.E., Art and Psychology.

Unfortunately, students are unaware of the actual work that is involved with these subjects and many times, students end up switching to a subject that is much less theory-based, such as maths and I.T. Each student is different, so whilst one choice will work out for one student, it may not work for another. However, instead of thinking about a specific career, a good plan is to choose topics that can be applied to multiple.

A language will always offer significant benefits across your career. It will allow you to travel and expand your business internationally, which will be highly regarded from an employer’s point of view. I.T. is another excellent subject. As the world becomes more digital, having the basic principles of the programs used within workplaces is a great foundation to have. Of course, English, Maths and science offer the best comprehensive knowledge and skill set that will do a student well in their career. These topics are so important they are usually compulsory in secondary school, many of which offer them as a more in-depth course, with the option to take the subject further. However, if you find yourself struggling with these compulsory topics, such as maths, we offer the best GCSE math Tuition in Birmingham. Feel free to get in touch.

Getting GCSE Help

It is never too early to consider preparation for GCSEs. In fact, with many students beginning in year nine, we have seen an influx of students seeking help from our GCSE tuition in Birmingham. Our tuition allows students to keep up or even get ahead of the game with their GCSEs and offers the most benefit when they begin earlier. For more information on our services, call us on 0121 769 2795 or email us at info@achieving-success.co.uk.