The International General Certificate of Secondary School
General Certificate of Secondary Education
The General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) is an essential qualification for higher secondary students. It is internationally recognised by many high schools and colleges. Students eligible for GCSE should have completed Grade 9. They have to make a choice of subjects they want to study. The objective of GCSE is to strengthen the students academically and help prepare them for whatever career path they choose. The exam board assesses, and grades the students. The GSCE compulsory subjects are:
- Science (Biology/Chemistry/Physics)
Students get to choose from Geography, Psychology, Drama, Music, History, Economics, Sociology, Physical Education and Modern Foreign Languages (French, Spanish, German, Latin, and Arabic, etc.). GCSE assesses and evaluates two years of coursework through exams in the final year. Further research shows that students can avail GCSE qualifications in more than 40 subjects. Students are assessed through exams and controlled assessments. They have to complete the coursework and syllabus within the specific timeframe of two years. It also includes projects, essays and research work. Overall, GCSE was introduced in 1986. Since then it has expanded, and various changes have been made. The program represents levels one and two of the National Qualifications Framework. The exams are held in the months of June and November every year. Schools go through the registration process of their students for the exams. It also involves a fee. Students get their results in the form of grades - 'A to C', are intermediate while 'D to G', are the foundation.
Changes Brought About in 2015 - 2016
Changes were made in the years 2015 and 2016 in GCSE Maths, English and English Literature, Science, History, Geography and Languages. Students are now required to have better reading and written English skills. It encourages students to think critically and grasp the basics of the concepts in maths. Science will have a revised content altogether and will require students to think mathematically about subjects like space physics. They need to be well-versed with historical dates and events, and Geography will have more statistics. Moreover, Modern Foreign Languages will be more challenging. All these are intended to make the students more engaged and competitive in the respective subjects.
How to Prepare
Like other exams, students need to manage their time to prepare for GCSE. They should get ready in advance so that they don't have to go through piles of textbooks and notes in the last minute. It's best to revise from the beginning as this lessens the burden. Here are more tips to help students prepare:
- Timetable: every student should study according to a timetable. This way, they will be able to do justice to all their subjects. Timetable helps students to get organised.
- Diagrams/charts/illustrations: students can connect the summary of their notes with illustrations and descriptions.It stays in the memory for a long time and students will not have a tough time in recalling. During revision, they can go through the illustrations and diagrams. It helps to saves the time of going through the notes and textbooks again.
- Study Groups: it's advisable for students to go through difficult subjects such as math, physics and chemistry in study groups. If they get stuck with a question, they can easily ask the group members. Plus, it allows for flow and exchange of ideas.
- Practice: students should go through past year questions to get a feel for the type of questions expected to come. They can solve the questions and get familiar with the format and style.
Students should also get in touch with their teachers and tutors to help them focus and clear doubts.
Tips to Crack GCSE
Students can only get through exams with sincere hard work and dedication. They need to prioritise what is important and spend more time studying. There are lots of GCSE marked books available in the bookshops. Students can take advantage of this and go through their textbooks as well as sample papers. They can:
- Go through the syllabus and coursework
- Practice math, chemistry, and physics questions
- Clarify doubts with the teachers
- Register for remedial classes
- Grasp concepts and definitions
- Understand rather than cramp up notes and formulas
- Make summaries of the notes
- Practice essay writing
While going through past year papers, students can time themselves to see how much time they spend on a particular question. It will make things easier on the day of the examination.