How Many GCSEs Do I Need For A-Levels In the UK?

The age of students while learning GCSEs is from 14-16 and if a student knows the value of GCSEs for doing A-levels makes the students concentrate and aim for good GCSE grades. But there are many students who don’t know about it.

Quick Takeaways

  • GCSEs are the first qualification that you will be taking and generally, you will have to take 9 GCSEs.
  • Generally, you will need to have 4 GCSEs to get the A-levels. Though it depends upon the subject you want to take up.
  • If you failed the exam you may still be able to sit in the sixth form depending upon the subject you want to sit for A-levels.
  • You can follow the given steps if you were unable to meet the A-level requirements-
  1. Resit a GCSE subject
  2. Get remarking on exams
  3. Complete a vocational college course
  4. Access to the HE course

Further, we have discussed the number of GCSEs that you need to take up for doing the A-levels.

How Many GCSEs Do I Need For A-Levels In the UK?

How many GCSEs do you need to do A-Levels?

GCSE stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education which is completed by the student in years 10 and 11. You will have to take 9 or 10 GCSEs. The students should take the GCSEs by thinking of courses they want to do after school. If the subject chosen by the students is GCSE or IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education). and is not continuing in A-levels further it will be a waste to choose that subject. The students before choosing the GCSEs should know about the aim they want to achieve and according to that should choose the GCSEs subject. 

There are different requirements in different sixth-form colleges for GCSEs and to study A-levels. There will be some colleges in which the minimum requirements for GCSEs will be 4 to study A-levels so before choosing the GCSEs the students should make sure to check the minimum requirements of GCSEs in the colleges. Further, as you need GCSEs to get your A-levels, you must make sure to revise for them properly. It is one of the best ways to keep yourself motivated for the subjects you are studying.

What GCSE Subjects do students Need to do A-Levels? 

The requirements of GCSE subjects to do A-levels are different. For example, if a student is doing A-levels psychology the subject needed is GCSE math and to study BTEC art the student needs to take GCSE art. So the students should research what A-level studies they are doing to continue in the future and what are the requirements of GCSEs in that course. They must also look at the best GCSEs that you may think of taking it. Further, you must remember to take the GCSE results before you apply for A-levels, as the school may not keep GCSE for longer.

How Many GCSEs Do I Need For A-Levels In the UK?

What GCSE Grades do students Need to Do A-Levels? 

You should have grades between 4-9 in order to get into the sixth form college (which is further education) in which the subject must include being passed in English language and math to do A-levels. If you are thinking of doing A-level maths you will need a separate calculator for it. The requirements of grades to do A-levels are also different.
For example, if you aim to become a scientist then the minimum requirement for GCSE is 6 grades in GCSE science, if you want to do A-levels in Psychology the minimum requirement for GCSE is 6 grades in GCSE math and if you want to do A-levels English literature the minimum grade required in GCSE is 6 in GCSE English language which is a compulsory subject. Thus it is important for you to choose your GCSEs wisely. Further, if you fail GCSE, you can also resit them at any age you want to.

Can Students Go to Sixth Form College if they Fail Some/All of Your GCSEs? 

If the students fail in GCSE subjects like English language and math they do have the option to retake GCSE with continuing their A-levels studies. But getting to study A-levels if the student fails in the GCSE subject depends on how many GCSE subjects and in which subject.

How Many GCSEs Do I Need For A-Levels In the UK?

If the students want to study English literature further they need to give the GCSE English exam again so that they get the grades with are required to continue A-levels study. If the student fails most of the subjects in GCSEs it will be hard for the students to study A-levels at a sixth form or college. So failing in most subjects will make the students repeat year 11 and resit all the GCSEs subjects again. However, you will have to remember that you will have to sit for A-level after completing year 11.

What to do if the student is not able to meet the requirements of A-levels?

Although without GCSEs you can get high-earning jobs, you still need them to get A-levels. The following are some options that the students can do if they are not able to meet the requirements of A-levels:

1. Resit a GCSE subject

Failing in most subjects including English language and math left the students with a choice to resit year 11. If the students only fail in one subject out of math and English they meet the requirements of the sixth form then the students will be able to continue A-levels study but they have to retake the exam in math or English while studying A-levels studies. However, make sure that you remember the date of starting the GCSEs exams so that you do not have to resit again.

2. Get remarking on exams

If the student is confident that they deserve more grades in GCSE they can appeal for paper remarking. For remarking the student needs to contact the school and apply for remarking in which the student has to pay some amount also but if the grade after remarking is increased then the money will be refunded. There is also a bad effect as if remarking the grade is reduced the students will get less grade than. 

How Many GCSEs Do I Need For A-Levels In the UK?

3. Complete a vocational college course

To meet the requirements for A-levels study the students can take a vocational course in which they are made to study one subject and make the student study all the skills required to progress in the career in which the student wants to continue further. 

How Many GCSEs Do I Need For A-Levels In the UK?

4. Access to the HE course

The student can apply for access to higher education courses by which the student will have direct access to university in a specific subject area. 


The requirements of GCSEs to continue for A-levels are different so the students need to check what the minimum requirements are to study a particular A-levels study. The minimum requirement for A-levels science is 6 grades in GCSE science. 

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