In England, there are two major exams by which your academic proficiency will largely be measured: the GCSEs and the A-levels. The significance of these two exams in university admissions will depend on the course you wish to take, though both are undoubtedly important.


Should a pupil be aiming for the top universities, they should look to get all 9s. Note that only 0.2% of applicants actually achieved this in 2023. Therefore, it is by no means essential. So long as a student obtains mostly 9s with a few 8s and even a couple 7s, they will still have a chance of acceptance. The average number of GSCEs taken by 16 year olds across the country is 7, though at boarding schools you should expect the number to be higher. There is no great advantage in taking a huge number of GCSEs, one must simply consider what they wish to do at A-level. With this in mind, it is recommended for students interested in maths to take a Further Maths GCSE exam. Exam revision largely depends on the proficiency of the pupil. Teachers sometimes recommend enormous amounts of revision that are slightly unrealistic. Should a capable pupil revise three hours a day over Christmas and Easter of Year 11, they will have done more than enough to achieve their set of desired grades. That being said, we recommend pupils make their own revision schedules, setting out clearly the way in which they will split up each subject and each topic. Importantly, from our experience a pupil should expect revision to take nearly double the time they predict.


In choosing subjects for A-level, it is critical to choose what you enjoy: these three of four subjects are the only thing you will study for two years. The second point of consideration is the course you wish to apply for at university. While the academic requirements are usually easily fulfilled, a pupil may sometimes encounter a small issue. It is therefore important to bear this in mind when choosing. Note, doing a large amount of A-levels is not necessary, meeting the university course requirements is more than enough. Again, pupils aiming for the top universities should aim for a string of top grades. Course requirements are readily available online for pupils to browse through. PUT PHOTO OF COURSE REQUIREMENTS TO RIGHT. In terms of revision, pupils should create their own schedules designed efficiently based on ability.