GCSE stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education. They are highly regarded by schools, universities and employers. The degree consists mainly of studying the theory of a topic, together with some research work, while some subjects also involve practical work. These are the qualifications obtained by young people aged fifteen and sixteen in the United Kingdom at the end of their studies in year 11. The exact grades students take vary from school to school and from student to student, but schools are advised to offer at least one pathway leading to qualification for the English Baccalaureate, which requires GCSE in English language, English literature, mathematics, science (including computer science) , a modern or ancient language, and history or geography.
Even before all GCSE scores adopted the exam-only format, students were complaining about the burden of memorization, the need to write continuously for long hours, how their social life had been affected, and the need for sleeping pills and pain relievers. Each GCSE qualification is made in a particular subject and is independent, but a set of such qualifications (or their equivalents) is generally accepted as the record of achievement at the age of 16, rather than a certificate of graduation or a baccalaureate qualification in other territories. The CSE broadly covered grades C-G or 4—1 of the GCSE, and the O level covered grades A*-C or 9—4, but both were independent degrees, with different grading systems. They may also require particular grades in specific subjects in GCSE when admitting students to some of the courses they offer.
Students generally take at least 5 GCSEs in Key Stage 4, in order to meet the primary measure of achieving 5 A*-C grades, which include English, Math, and Science. However, due to legislative requirements for comparability between GCSEs in the three countries, and allocations for certain subjects and qualifications to be available in Wales and Northern Ireland, 9-1 ratings will be available, and the other changes will be mostly adopted in these countries as well. And it's not all necessarily about exams: In many subjects, students' courses are evaluated as part of their GCSE results. In the past, many GCSE scores used a modular system, in which some assessment (up to 60% according to the “terminal rule”) could be submitted before the final exam series.
Traditionally, GCSEs were rated from A* to G (with an additional U grade for works considered “unrated”). There was a previous attempt to unite these two disparate qualifications in the 1980s, with a 16+ test exam in some subjects, which awarded a CSE certificate and an O-level certificate, before the GCSE was introduced. As more people stay in school after age 16, the value of GCSE exams is increasingly being questioned. Most universities, in addition to their requirements beyond the age of 16, seek to have their candidates grades of C or 4 or higher in English and mathematics from the GCSE.
In Science, for example, there are now fewer course options than before, and most students take the new Combined Science course (with a value of two GCSEs) or three separate GCSEs in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. In addition to required mathematics, science, and English, students select their remaining GCSE options in Year 9.The results of the exams are published by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ), which represents the major organizations granting GCSE.