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Possible Options After Completing GCSEs

Finally your GCSE's are over! All that arduous revision, all those endless exams - You are finally free! Before you start celebrating, you have some rather important decisions to make. At this stage in your life there are many options open to you, choices that need to be made carefully and with serious consideration, for they will affect the rest of your life. The first question that you need to ask yourself is: do I want to continue my education? If the answer is no, the world of salaried work looms expectant, awaiting your arrival! If however you plan to continue your studies, there are a number of possibilities in place, the suitability of each dependant on your abilities and inclinations.

If your predicted grades are high enough, and the courses available are to your liking, A-levels are an excellent option. Typically three or four subjects are chosen by the student, the choices reflecting their university aspirations. They offer some of the best credentials in paper based learning. Acceptance onto each course will vary from school to school, so make sure to check with your teachers before committing yourself to a particular subject. The structure of A-levels has been changing over the last few years: they now offer more open ended questions, and in 2010, the A* grade was introduced, allowing the academically gifted to really stand out. AS levels are awarded to those who complete their first year of A-level studies, but decide not to continue and specialize in that particular subject.

Some schools offer the Cambridge Pre-U diploma. This accolade is of greater difficulty and merit than A-levels. The student will choose three principle subjects from a choice of twenty six. Regular essays are required at the end of modules, along with a personal research project, and a global perspectives portfolio.

Diplomas are a new qualification for fourteen to sixteen year olds. They have been developed by universities and employers, and offer a hands-on, practical procedure, to gain the skills and experience that both universities and employers seek. The diploma is extremely flexible, enabling the student to take one, along with an A-level or even GCSE's. The curriculum they offer is broad, ranging from business administration to sport and active leisure, creative media to environmental studies. The diploma has certain compulsory elements, including engineering, mathematics and english. Self management, critical thinking and teamwork will all be cultivated.

Further qualifications include City and Guilds, BTECs, and OCR Nationals. These are all varieties of work related qualifications. The wide range of subjects they offer for further study have been formed in collaboration with industry, so they provide the perfect knowledge and skills base that employers seek. Most of the subjects contain an active work experience placement as part of the course; coupled with the qualifications they offer, this work experience is valued highly by potential employers.

The National Vocation Qualification, or NVQ is a skills and competence certificate. Students will learn actual work related techniques. This course would be ideal for the ambitious student, who has a clear and focused idea of the particular practical discipline they want to pursue. Apprenticeships offer a similar opportunity, enabling students, or even those already in their career of choice, to improve their skills and abilities.

There are many options available to those having completed their GCSE's. Don't be daunted by the choices available to you. Make an appointment to see your careers advisor. They will be able to guide you in a direction that accords with both your abilities, and aspirations for the future.

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