What to consider when choosing your Year 9 Options

Tuesday 26 November 2019 | By Christopher White

Your Year 9 options are an important decision and the start of the process to choose your GCSEs is an exciting time in your educational journey.

Choosing your GCSE options marks the first time you start to narrow the number of subjects you study, as well as increasing the depth in the level of understanding required in each of these subjects.

The choices you make will influence your decisions in the future at A-level and beyond.

From autumn term in Year 9, the options process should have already begun in your mind. You should start to consider where you feel your strengths are, and you should check with your form tutor and subject teachers that your opinions on these are closely matched. Your parents and siblings may also be able to give you advice, as could any friends or other family members who may have already chosen the career path you wish to follow.

Each spring term, Teesside High School hosts a Careers Convention which sees a wide variety of universities and employers come along and provide advice and guidance to Teesside High School students and those attending schools in our local community. Our next Careers Convention will take place on Tuesday 28 January (6.00pm-8.00pm); this is an excellent resource which will give you an opportunity to ask experts in the field lots of questions.

As you begin to think about your next steps, we hope the below frequently asked questions provide some further guidance as to how you should approach choosing your GCSE options.

How do I decide on my Year 9 options?

You should take advice from the various sources available to you:

  • Talk to the staff who teach you
  • Talk to your Form Tutor
  • Talk to your parents
  • Talk to older pupils who are studying the subjects in which you are interested
  • Speak to the experts. Visit our Careers Convention to find out more.

Ask yourself some questions:

1. Which subjects do you enjoy and find particularly interesting?

Lessons, homework and revision are always easier if it involves topics which you are interested in and genuinely enjoy.

2. Which subjects are you good at?

It is always a good idea to play to your strengths.

3. Do you have any ideas about courses at university or possible careers?

Literature and resources which may help to guide you are available online. These will help you match entry requirements for courses and careers with the decisions you are making now. Most university courses, however, will tend to ask for certain subjects to be studied at A-level, so you need to make sure you pick GCSE options which allow you to study any pre-requisite  A-levels for the particular career you are interested in.

4. Are some subjects easier than others?

All studies lead to a GCSE qualification however, some subjects are perceived to be ‘easier’ whilst others are perceived to be more academically demanding. You should consider how universities and employers will value the GCSE subjects that you choose to study. Speak to your tutor and careers adviser about this.

5. Will your choice of year 9 options give you a balanced programme?

It is always a good idea to take a broad range of subjects. Whilst you may envisage one particular career path today, that may change significantly in the years to come.

6. Do you enjoy coursework and independent study?

Some subjects require more coursework and research than others. Can you see yourself doing this work independently in order to achieve the very best grades?

7. Do you need specific skills to succeed?

Some subjects require students to have a specific skill set and, if you are able to demonstrate that you have those skills, it will be easier for you to access higher grades. Speak to your teachers and ask for their advice on where your core skills lie.