'What if...' FAQ

No one is asking you to map out your entire future right now, but being prepared can help you make the right decisions. You’ve probably got a lot of questions – our FAQs can help.

What if I don’t know what subjects I want to do?

There are some subjects you have to study at GCSE (compulsory subjects) like English, Maths and Science, and sometimes a foreign language, History or Geography. Many students haven’t decided on their subjects yet, but choosing a wide range can help keep more doors open for you.

What if I only pick subjects I really like?

You still have to do the compulsory subjects, and some subjects are an entry requirement to get to uni. If you want to do an A-level in a certain subject, your school often asks you to have a GCSE in that subject too. Find out what’s required to study your subject at uni to help make your GCSE decisions.

What if I change my mind?

It’s not easy choosing your GCSE options but even if you do change your mind, there are things that can be done. You might be able to swap your subjects if you talk to your teachers as soon as possible.Many universities only want you to have done well across all the subjects you choose, rather than in specific subjects (unless that’s a requirement of your course) so pick those you do actually enjoy.

What if I fail my GCSEs?

It depends on your definition of ‘fail’ – did you get a lower grade than that predicted, or fail the exam or coursework completely? If it was just lower grades, find out how this affects your A-level or uni choices. If you failed completely, you may be able to retake your GCSEs, while some A-levels – such as psychology or economics – don’t require you to have studied them at GCSE. You may also be able to start an apprenticeship or vocational training. Talk to your teachers or careers advisor to discover your options.

What if I don't get Maths or English?

Most unis require you to get GCSE Maths and English at grade C or above, but it’s not the end of the world if you don’t. You may be able to retake these subjects alongside your A-levels, while some uni courses do not ask for them as an entry requirement – so find out exactly what you need to study your subject. If you’re really struggling, talk to your parents and teachers about extra tuition or support to help you achieve those grades.