Are you in year 9? Are you approaching the point of when you have to choose GCSE options?
Then here are a few valuable points to consider
1. Become the leader, not follower
You may have already found that many people will have opinions about your choices. You’ll receive advice from parents and teachers — do listen but in the end go for what you’d like to do. You may also have friends suggesting you do the same subjects as them — choose for yourself.
Ultimately we suggest you choose subjects that you will enjoy.
Further down the line when workload is heavy you’ll appreciate enjoying a subject and looking forward to rather than dreading lessons. It’s very easy to then talk yourself out of taking a subject you love. Instead ask “Why not?”.
2. Identify which subjects are compulsory
Each school will differ on this but there are some subjects where there is no choice at all. This will always be Maths and English, but then maybe a combination of Sciences depending on the school and probably your Key Stage 3 or Year 9 results.
Some schools may insist on a language. Check this at the start. One other area of restrictions may be the timetable but do be prepared to have a chat with teachers about what’s possible.
3. Plan your future
This is a simple one but very important. It’s almost certain that subjects you take at A Level will have to be part of your options at GCSE. If you want to go on that far, what subjects do you see yourself taking? This long term thinking also applies to University and Careers.
It can be scary to think that far ahead but spend a little time dreaming. What would you like to do with your life?
4. Strike a balance
Good GCSE options will look balanced.
If you love the Arts, find a subject like History or a language alongside it. The reason for balance is not to please teachers or planners, it’s just a way of keeping your options open. As your school career progresses you may find you have gifts you never dreamed of. Try to not shut too many doors too soon.
5. Choose the subject not the teacher
We all know sometimes a relationship with a teacher can be hard. You may be tempted to avoid a topic because the teacher is one you find difficult. Try hard not to let that put you off. Similarly you may choose a subject because of a great teacher – but think hard. In the long term teachers will change but it’s subject that will carry you through.
Options can be a very stressful time. But remember that thousands of pupils get through this step and thrive. Options can open new doors and there is plenty of help along the way.