Choosing GCSEs. Can You Help?

DD1 is 14 and in Y9 of school and it’s time for her to make some choices.

Those of you who have children in Y9 or above will know exactly what I’m talking about; she has to choose what subjects to do for her GCSEs.

And this year it’s especially difficult as the curriculum is changing and she will be doing the ‘new’ GCSEs. No seems to know exactly how these are going to work, or what they will entail yet. Just that they will require more exams and less internal assessment, and they will be much harder. This knowledge is not doing anything for DD’s anxiety.

One of the confusing things ( for me, at least) about GCSEs, is that different schools require their pupils to do different subjects. At our school, the kids have to do the core subjects- maths, English, science-but aren’t required to do the exam component of PE and RS. They do have to choose a humanity ( RS, classics, history or geography) and a language ( French, German, Spanish or Latin), and then they get two ‘free’ choices.

DD has decided to do RS as her humanity as she enjoys the philosophy component, and is pretty sure she will take Spanish as her language but is struggling with her two free choices. Our secondary school is academically inclined so the list of other subjects is possibly not as comprehensive as it is at other schools.

DD feels that part of her problem is that she doesn’t yet know what she wants to do ‘when she grows up’. She’s a bright girl with good work habits and could pretty much do anything she wanted to. She’s not especially drawn to maths or languages but gets good marks for all her subjects.

She likes kids and animals, and likes helping people. She’s good at science, but doesn’t want to do a science for an A level and is good at music, but doesn’t want to do it for GCSE. She thinks she could possibly teach, or become a therapist of some sort but she doesn’t know.  And I can’t help as I wanted to be a vet from the age 4, and had my sights set on that throughout my school career.

A lot of her friends know what they want to do already, and this adds to her sense of unease. But surely at 14, it’s not that unusual to not know what direction you are going to go in as an adult?

Do you have older children who were in the same situation? Maybe you didn’t know either? Has anyone got any advice for my worried daughter?

choose subjects for GCSE