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How Long Does a GCSE Qualification Take?

You might want to advance your education or perhaps you’re looking for avenues that will one day help you land your ideal job. Whatever the case may be,  there’s no doubt that gaining a GCSE qualification will act as a stepping stone to help get you to where you want to be.

We know that you’re often busy with life’s many commitments, so you’re probably itching to know just how long a GCSE qualification takes to complete before devoting any of your valuable free time to studying.

To give you some insight, we’re taking a closer look at what factors might affect how long a GCSE qualification can take before you move forward.

Why study a GCSE qualification?

GCSE (or General Certificate of Secondary Education) qualifications are considered a valuable asset to schools, colleges, and employers alike, meaning they play an essential role in both your academic and professional development.

GCSE courses are the standard high school qualifications in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, teaching students the required skills and knowledge in a wide variety of both academic and applied subjects.

Once you’ve gained a GCSE qualification, you’ll not only have evidence of your proficiency in a given subject, but you’ll also have the option to study further or higher education if you so choose, or use it to help you get ahead in the working world.

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How long does a GCSE qualification take to complete?

It’s recommended that GCSE students give themselves anywhere from one to two years to complete their qualification. However, since every student is different, no one can give you an exact answer to this question. 

How long a GCSE qualification will take you to complete will depend on a variety of factors, including:

  • How you learn (i.e., a visual or auditory learner)
  • How you choose to study (i.e., part-time, online or in a classroom)
  • Which subject(s) you’re taking and the level of difficulty
  • How much subject knowledge you already have
  • How long you have until your chosen exam date (exams take place at set times during the year)
  • Any important prior commitments (i.e., work and family)

All in all, the key to completing your GCSE qualification in a timely manner is to be realistic about the time you have to study and prepare for your exams. Think about what study methods work best for you, and set small goals as you progress through your course to keep you motivated and on track.

Are there prerequisites to studying a GCSE qualification?

No, there aren’t any prerequisites for UK students studying their GCSEs. Every qualification is accessible for anyone aged fourteen and above.

If you’re interested in studying an International GCSE, and English is your second language, however, it’s recommended that you have an IELTS 5.5 or equivalent.

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How should you study a GCSE qualification?

These days GCSE courses can either be studied in a classroom at a school or college, or entirely online, so you have a few options to choose from when it comes to studying your GCSE qualification.

In the classroom 

The traditional classroom setting is a great way to learn if you like attending classes regularly and don’t mind a commute. It’s also a good option if you work best in a social environment and benefit from the guidance of an instructor.

Those students who prefer the classroom setting tend to thrive on the in-person interactions with fellow students and teachers. It keeps them motivated, accountable, and confident that they’re on the same page as everyone else, making them more likely to succeed - especially if they’re not great at independent study.

The main drawback is that attendance times can be restrictive or inconvenient, meaning you might have to take time off work or time away from your family and other commitments.

You’ll also be limited by the pace of the course and other students - not ideal if you’d like to zip through your GCSE quickly in order to meet the requirements for a job or university place.

Distance learning 

Online learning has quickly become the popular choice for those looking to gain their GCSE qualification outside of school.

Since learning online gives you the flexibility to study when, where, and how often you want, it’s an attractive solution for those people who need to shape their learning around their busy lives.

If you can dedicate a set amount of time each day to studying, then you’ll be happy to know that earning a GCSE qualification online is typically faster than if you were to study in a classroom on someone else’s schedule.

If you like the idea of online learning but also enjoy the social aspects of a classroom, online providers (like us!) make it easy to connect with other students and tutors via online forums, video chats, discussion boards - bringing the classroom right to you.

Learn more about gaining your GCSE qualification 100% online with us
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