The joy that is GCSEs...ah, the best days of your life!
GCSEs used to be known as 'O' levels, ask your dad!
However, GCSEs, which are also known as General Certificate of Secondary Education to the boffins, are exams which are taken by most students when they are 16 years old - introduced about 10 years ago.
More or less everyone has to do these, whatever you want to do in the future. GCSE results, and the range of subjects taken, can have an impact on future choices in education, and in some cases career.
Most places, including colleges, and prospective employers treat grades A*, A, B and C as 'passes'.
You can take GCSEs in the sixth form at school, in sixth form college or at a further education (sometimes known as tertiary college).
If your results were not as good as you expected, or you wish to try new subjects, you can 'retake' or study for GCSEs alongside GCE AS or A2 examinations. You can also take GCSEs alongside a GNVQ at advanced, intermediate or foundation levels.
Some people decide that instead of retaking GCSEs they will take a course linked to job training like a GNVQ. This is another good way towards higher education.
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