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GCSEs6th August 2010, 15:49
Are you disappointed with the grades you got at school yet need a good set of GCSEs to get into that job or apprenticeship you're after?
GCSEs create the catalyst for further study, notgoingtouni.co.uk are going to walk you through all the fundamental elements of this qualification.
What are GCSEs?
The General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) is a qualification generally taken by secondary school students in the United Kingdom. GCSEs are often required for taking A-levels, NVQs, BTECs and entry into apprenticeships or school leavers jobs. It is also a common type of university entrance requirement.
GCSE courses are by far the most common qualification taken by students wanting to gain a firm understanding of a topic.Â Therefore GCSEs are available in a vast array of subjects including English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, Biology, Law, Psychology, History, Business Studies, German, French, Italian and Spanish.
Virtually all candidates take GCSEs in English, Mathematics and Science, and most employers nowadays require these three subjects as standard.
Many careers also require that students take English literature and at least one modern foreign language, while also favouring students to have at least one social science.
While GCSEs are a qualification in their own right, they are sometimes used as a prerequisite for entry into certain Advanced Level (A Level) course subjects as well.
How are GCSEs graded?
At the end of the GCSE course, each student receives a grade for each subject. The pass grades, from highest to lowest, are:
A*, A, B, C, D, E,Â F, G
GCSEs are part of the National Qualifications Framework.
A GCSE at grades D-G represents a Level 1 qualification
A GCSE at grades A*-C represents a Level 2 qualification
Those who fail a course are given a U (unclassified). Students can also receive an X grade which signifies that for whatever reason, the course is unfinished and therefore an appropriate mark cannot be given.
What's the structure of GCSEs?
In many subjects, there are two different tiers of examination offered:
Higher, where students can achieve grades A*-D
Foundation, where they can achieve grades C-G
If a candidate fails to obtain a G on the foundation tier or a D on the higher tier they will fail the course and receive a U (though there is a safety net allowing those who narrowly miss a D on the higher tier to receive an E). In non-tiered subjects, the examination paper allows candidates to achieve any grade. Coursework also always allows candidates to achieve any grade.
When is GCSE results day?
Students receive the results of their GCSEs in the fourth week of August (the week after A Level results). The Council for the Curriculum Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) publish their results on the Tuesday and the other examination boards publish their results on the Thursday. Normally, students have to go to their school to collect their results, although Edexcel allow for the option of an online results service whereby results are posted online.