Year 8 or 9 (depending on which school you go to) is the first time you will have the chance to make your own decisions about some of the subjects you will study up to the end of Year 11.
What subjects can I choose?
You will not be able to choose all your subjects. Your subjects will include Compulsory Subjects. These are subjects which you must take and include English, Maths and Science plus maybe 1 or 2 others depending on your school e.g. ICT, a “humanities” subject such as history or geography and/or a foreign language. You will also take PSHE, PE and Religious Education.
You will then be given a list of other subjects from which you can make your own choice. You would normally be able to choose between 2 and 4 subjects depending on your school. These may include subjects you already take such as art and history or subjects new to you such as business studies.
What qualifications can I take?
Your subjects will include GCSEs which will be mainly assessed through exams and controlled assessments plus coursework for some subjects. Some schools offer vocational qualifications such as BTECs assessed mainly through coursework, practical activities and projects.
How will I choose?
Here are some steps you can take to help you make your choices:
- Think about your own strengths and interests. Make a list of the subjects you enjoy most and your best subjects? Do you have a particular talent you would like to develop through your school studies e.g. sport, music, drama, art?
- Think about how you like to learn: Do you prefer written tasks or practical activities?
- Find out more about each of the subjects by talking to your teachers and reading your school’s Year 8 / 9 Choices booklet. Check what topics will you learn about in each subject and how will you be tested e.g. exams, controlled assessments, coursework or a mix of these? This will give you an idea of how well the subject will suit your own skills and interests.
- If you have a career idea find out if there are any subjects you might need in the future. For some careers particular subjects are needed. For example careers in medicine or veterinary science will need at least double science, creative careers may need art/design and languages would be important if you are interested in working abroad in some countries. You can research career ideas using the National Careers Service website https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk.
- Do not worry if you are not sure what career you would like yet. Focus on choosing subjects you enjoy and which suit your skills which you are most likely to succeed in. These, together with the compulsory subjects will keep open a wide range of careers. Some careers research may help you start to develop ideas. See www.icould.com where you can look at short film clips of people talking about their jobs to get an idea of what different careers involve.