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Information, Advice and sources of support for young people in Suffolk

Choices at 13+

On this page we outline

  1. Introduction to GCSE’s
  2. Choosing your options – do some research
  3. Options at 16+ – be prepared
  4. Things to think about


During Year 9 (and sometimes Year 8), you will be asked by your school or college to think about your option subjects for Year 10 and 11 and your future career ideas.

From Year 9 you will begin studying for your GCSEs, to prepare you for your GCSE exams in the Spring/Summer term of Year 11.

All GCSE subjects are graded between 9-1. Grade 9 is the highest grade you can get.

Employers will often look for a grade 4 in English and maths.

To create a list of your possible choices, start by answering the questions below:
- What type of subjects or lessons do you enjoy?
- Do you have any career ideas in mind yet?
- Are there subjects that would help start you on this career path?
- What skills do you want to develop?
This is a good way to start your list of options. 
Answers to these questions are your list of possibilities! 
You can then begin to narrow down your choices.

What subjects can I pick as my options?

You must take the subjects English, Maths and Science. But you can pick up to five or six other subjects to study depending on your school.

Your school should be able to provide you with a comprehensive list of the subjects that they offer, including details on the course structure, content, and exam process.

Use the links below to start your research:

I’m confused about how it works… Read more about your 16+ options

Don’t do it alone – ask for help.

Talk to someone about your year 9 options.

There are plenty of people out there who can help you decide on your GCSE options.

Parents, Carers and Guardians

They may have some useful advice, or ask a question that you had not thought about before.

Try doing the activity at the top of the page together.


Teachers can often give good advice when it comes to picking your options.

Your school will probably hold an options event.

This event is the perfect time to ask questions and to find out exactly what each subject includes.

You might ask:

  • What could happen if the subject you like is fully subscribed?
  • What could happen if you don’t like the subject?
  • Can you change your mind later?
  • How much time could homework take?
  • What have previous students gone on to study?
When picking your options, try to remember that nothing is set in stone. 

You might study something at GCSE and realise it wasn’t what you expected. 

That’s okay! 
Your school or college is there to help.

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Page updated on September 18th, 2023 at 10:58am