How do I choose my Key Stage 4 options?

How to choose

You might feel nervous about choosing what to study for the next two years.  Perhaps you don't know what you want to do.  Or you have some ideas but want to make sure you're making the right choices.

Think about these questions:

What type of course will suit me best?

As well as choosing what subjects you want to take, you'll need to think about the way you prefer to study and learn.

  • Do you enjoy learning through hands-on, practical tasks?
    Vocational (job-related) courses offer you a chance to learn work-related skills through practical learning, projects and real workplace experience.
  • Do you prefer more traditional coursework and exams?
    GCSEs cover general education subjects such as English, maths, science and history.  Some subjects will combine coursework with exams while others will just have exams.
  • Would you like to combine both ways of learning?
    Some courses combine classroom and hands-on learning.  You may also be able to take vocational and traditional courses together.

Subjects you have to take

Some subjects are compulsory because they cover the knowledge and skills that you need for for your future.  You'll have to study for exams in:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Science

There are also some other subjects that you will take courses in but may not have to take exams.  These include citizenship, sex and relationship education, religious studies, information and communication technology (ICT) and physical education (PE).


 What subjects should I choose?

  • What subjects do you enjoy now?
    It makes sense to stick with what you know and like.  Don't be frightened of something new - have a look at everything on offer before making up your mind.
  • What do you enjoy in your spare time?
    Are there any subjects that tie in with your interests?
  • What's on offer at your school?
    Your school should produce an options booklet that shows exactly what courses and subjects you can choose from.  They may also put this information on the school website. Click here to view the courses on your school's website.
  • Could a subject help with your future career plans?
    If you've an idea of what you would like to do in the future it's important to check to see what qualifications you need.  That way, you can make sure you choose the right subjects for your future career.

The National Careers Service has information on over 800 jobs showing you what skills and qualifications you need.

You can also see examples of how subjects relate to future jobs on icould where you can view videos of people who have used their favourite subjects in their career.

What if I've no idea what I want to do in the future?

Don't worry if you've no career in mind yet.

Choose a broad range of subjects that will give you lots of choice post-16.