Life after GCSE: What to do?

GCSE can be an intense journey for students, and after they’ve finished they’re faced with the question: “What to do after GCSE?”

After GCSEs, students have so many options. It’s good for them to have a think about their options after GCSE before the end of the year so that students can make applications and plans. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help. 

For more information about GCSEs and what to expect, be sure to read our ultimate guide to GCSE.


Advanced Levels, more commonly known as A-Levels, are a popular choice after GCSEs. 

These courses allow students to carry on studying while specialising in subjects of their choice. Whether your child goes to a sixth-form college or stays with their current school if they offer A-Levels, it’s good that they speak to an advisor about what they plan to do. 

For example, if a student plans to go to university they might already be thinking about what they want to study. Choosing the right A-Levels will mean they can get on to the university degree they’re interested in. 

But choosing A-Levels doesn’t have to be stressful for students! Generally, it’s a good idea for them to choose A-Levels based on their interests and what they’ve felt confident in. That way they continue their success after GCSE and aim towards a career they’re interested in.


T-Levels first started in 2020 in the UK as an option for students after GCSEs. T-Levels, or Technical Levels, offer students a vocational pathway after their GCSEs with practical, industry-specific courses and skills training.

Students studying a T-Level course will spend 80% of their time learning and studying in a classroom and 20% of their time in work placements with participating employers. This gives students a fantastic opportunity to develop skills in a workplace setting with support and supervision. 

While T-Levels are an excellent opportunity for students to step straight into the workplace after they finish their studies, university is an option too. A T-Level course is the equivalent of 3 A-Level courses in UCAS points, so they’re recognised by universities if students feel like they want to carry on their studies. 

To learn more about T-Levels take a look at the National Careers Service.


Apprenticeships are a perfect option for students that feel ready to head right into the workplace after GCSEs but want to learn new skills. Apprenticeships can be taken on at a college, a place of work, with a training provider or online. 

One of the benefits of apprenticeships over other forms of education after GCSE is that students are paid for their work, so it’s a good option if students want to learn and earn. Students will also have time to train and study alongside their apprenticeship role, helping them to develop further skills and understanding of professional roles. 

There are so many apprenticeships available across many different sectors in the UK, so they appeal to many different career interests. For students that are interested in the practical application of skills and developing a deep understanding of their chosen field, apprenticeships are a great option after GCSE.


Traineeships are a good option for students that feel like they need a little bit more preparation before they go on to an apprenticeship or a job after GCSE. 

Traineeships are a bit like a stepping stone, often shorter than other forms of education after GCSE. They can last for any time between 6 weeks and 1 year, and cover essential skills like writing a CV and finding a job.

Students will be helped with developing the skills they’ll need for either an apprenticeship or a job in the area they want to work in, improving employability and building their confidence.

A traineeship is perfect for students to get a taste of an industry before committing to a longer-term path, whether they choose to go for A-Levels, T-Levels or apprenticeships after GCSE.

What to do after GCSEs

Answering the question of what to do after GCSEs might feel a little daunting for students at first, but there are so many options available. 

The best thing to remind your child of if they’re finishing their GCSEs, or about to go into their final year of GCSEs, is that they should choose something that aligns with what they feel passionate about and their strengths in school. Take some time to sit down and research with them what options are available, whether they want to go on to A-Levels, T-Levels, an apprenticeship or need a bit more time with a traineeship.

And remember it’s never too late to get a helping hand when it comes to GCSE preparation. If your child is going into year 10 or 11 and feels that they might need a GCSE tutor, we’re here to help. 

Preparing for GCSE with Explore Learning

GCSEs can feel a bit daunting for some students, even if they’re performing well academically. When students go into year 10 the pressure can start to build up, which can have an impact on their learning.

At Explore Learning we know that preparation can be crucial to success, but can also really help alleviate feelings of exam stress that come with GCSEs.

If your child is feeling a bit of pressure ahead of their GCSEs, we’re here to help. Our GCSE maths tuition can help build their confidence with homework support and targeted practice in tricky areas. 

It’s never too late to start preparing. So whether your child is going into GCSE years or is already part way through, why not find out how we can help build their confidence ready for their exams?

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