How GCSEs are viewed by employers and universities

How GCSEs are viewed by employers

Each year an annual survey of employer's views on qualifications is undertaken. 

Recent results show that:

  • Employers are still unsure of the new 9-1 grading system, however this should improve over the next 2-3 years
  • 40% of employers use GCSE results to decide who is offered a job in their company
  • Many employers, when advertising vacancies require a grade 4 in English and maths from applicants
  • Many apprenticeships require a grade 4 in English and maths with some stating other essential GCSE's e.g. ICT

How GCSEs are viewed by universities

Many universities will look at your GCSE grades when deciding whether to offer you a place on their course. They used to look at AS level grades but most students do not now do this qualification so they are paying more attention to GCSEs. Be aware that this isn't for all universities and courses but it is certainly the case for competitive courses.

Some university courses go further and ask for specific subjects at GCSE, with certain grades, so check directly with universities if you're in doubt. 

For example:

  • Management at the University of Leeds specifies that you must have at least a grade B (roughly a 5 or 6) in English language and maths under your belt.  
  • Psychology at the University of Bath asks for 'a strong set of GCSEs, such as grade A*/8 or 9 in at least five relevant GCSEs or grade A/7 in the majority of GCSEs. They say, ‘We strongly prefer applicants who can demonstrate a solid grounding in mathematics or statistics, such as those with GCSE grade A/7 in mathematics.'   

The Russell Group of universities has updated their Informed Choices publication to further advise on GCSE and A level choices

This article 'How important are your GCSE grades?' explains more about the importance of GCSE grades

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