GCSEs or GCSE's: Which is Correct and Why? - Think Student (2023)

When reading about GCSE exams online, there areseveraldifferent ways of writing theabbreviation. This means it can be very difficult to understand which you should use,and which is correct for your own writing, especially as this is a keyword in many topics. However, in this article we will help you understand which acronym is correct and how you can tellwhich to usefor other similar words.

The correct way to write GCSE as plural is with a single s on the end, and no apostrophe, as GCSEs. GCSEs stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education and is an acronym. This is correct as it has nothing belonging to it, but in this case, there is more than one of the nouns (GCSE), so we need an -s. Another important note is that the -s on the end must be a lower-case letter because it is not part of the original acronym. There may be a few cases where one may need to include an– ‘s apostrophe, however this is rarely the case.

While this is an easy short answer to your question, it is important to understandhow apostrophes and acronyms work, in order to be able to transfer these skills toanyfuturewords you may need topluralise.Read on to find out more.

Table of Contents

(Video) The 10 Easiest GCSE Subjects In 2021 - Think Student

Which is Correct and Why?

As a general rule,GCSEs is correct. This means the apostrophe is not requiredat the end of the acronym.

Why is this True?

There are a fewsituations when you need to add an -sto the end of a word:

  1. The word is plural– if therearemore than one of thenounsyou are talking about, then the word needs an -s on theend.
  2. The wordhassomething belonging to it– if for example, if you are talking about a friend who has a book, you would say “my friend’s book”. In this case,you need to add both an -s and an apostrophe, as in -‘s.
  3. The word isboth plural and has something belonging to it– if the word has both of the above conditions, then the apostrophe comes after the -s. So, if you are speaking about the multiple dogs who have bowls, you would say “the dogs’ bowls”.
  4. If the wordalready ends in S– such as in the name “James”, it is generally accepted that you put the apostrophe after the word(asin “James’ shoes”)althoughyou may also see it with -s added (“James’s shoes”). It is usually better to writethe wordwithout the second -s, as this caneasilybecome confusing.

Inthe case of GCSEs, we have aplural noun(multiple GCSEs) butnot something belonging to it. For this reason,GCSEs is correct. If you would like more information on when to use apostrophes, please usethis link.Also, if you are wondering if there are any situationsusing this wordwhere you may needtheapostrophe, please look at the section below in this article.

Also, anapostrophe may be added if the word is a contraction, for instance,“don’t”. This is not the case with GCSEs, see below for further information on contractions.

What is an Acronym?

GCSE is an acronym standing for the General Certificate of Secondary Education.Acronyms aregenerally usedwhena phraseis too long to be said in normal conversation or writing.Acronymswork bycreatinga word made up of letters that symbolize another phrase.Another example of anacronym wouldbe MP, standing for Member of Parliament, ortheUSA, fortheUnited States of America.

It is also important to note thatacronyms need to be written in all capital letters, to avoid confusion with other words in the sentence. However, their-s suffixes must be written in lowercase, to avoid confusing this as part of the original acronym.

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These can be useful for memorising lists, and inrevision.For more information on revisiontechniques visitthisThink Studentarticle.

Is it Okayto use Acronyms in Academic Writing?

There is a special rule about using acronyms in academic or formal writing (such as in an essay). It isokayto use anacronym ifyou followthe following rule. The rulestatesthat if you wish to use an acronym,you must first write the phrase out in fullthe first time you useit andfollow this with the acronym in brackets.This applies no matter how wellknown the acronym is.

So, in the case of GCSEs, you must write (the first time you use this term in your piece of writing) “GeneralCertificate ofSecondary Education (GCSEs)”. After this, it is acceptable to simply write “GCSEs” in your writing. This rule applies to all acronyms.

Similarly, it is important to realize that usingcontractions or abbreviations of words isnot usuallyacceptable in formal writing. This applies to words such as “don’t” and “shouldn’t”. These are seen asgenerallyunprofessionalandshould only be usedwhennecessary,in informal writing or speech to beclearer and more concise.

However, someabbreviations such as titles in names,(Doctor =Dr.and Mister = Mr)andLatinabbreviations such aset al.(after the name of a researcher to indicate more people worked on a piece, used when citing in essaysand short foret alia.) andsic(meaning as written, indicating that a mistake in a quote is copied directly from thesource and short forsic erat scriptum)are acceptable, as they have become widely acknowledged as good procedure.TheseLatin abbreviations must always be italicised, as they are not in English.

This means they are allowed to be used, however,it is usually sensible to avoid them unless you have no alternative, as in the case of the stated examples.

(Video) The 10 Hardest GCSE Subjects In 2021 (Ranked) - Think Student

For more information on this, please visitthiswebsite.

Why isGrammarImportant?

It isalways important to use correct grammar, especially when doing transactional or formal writing. For this reason, getting apostrophes correct can mean sounding far more professional,and added to other importantgrammar work could mean getting a few key marks inSPaG(Spelling, Punctuation,and Grammar) in an English GCSE.

These marks are worth 20% of the total in English LanguageGCSE, assessed under AO6 (assessment objective 6). They areworth 5% of English LiteratureGCSEmarks, under AO4. These marks requireyou touse a range of vocabulary and sentence structures for clarity, purpose,and effect, with accurate spelling and punctuation.”

If you are concerned about this part of the mark scheme, ask your school for help, and visitthislink for more information on grammar concepts you may find difficult.

Hereis a website with some more information on key grammar concepts, as well as practice for themore difficult rules.

Is There Ever a Situation Where You Need the Apostrophe?

As the GCSEs are an umbrella term covering so many exams, it isnot usual to need to use an apostrophewiththem. The word does not require an apostrophe to say things like “GCSE exams” as this is not referring to multiple single exams, but to the exams covered under the bracket of GCSEs, meaning that the plural is not needed on “GCSE”.

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It is also important to note thatyou do not need to say, “my GCSE’s” or “my GCSE’s results”.The correct phrasing would simply be “my GCSEs” becausethe GCSEs are not possessing anything. This is also true with “my GCSE results” which does not need to be plural or have an apostrophe, as the “GCSEs” belong to you, and “my” is already a possessive pronoun, so youdo notneed an apostrophe.

However, to say “the markschemes from the GCSEs”, you may wish tosay,“the GCSE’s mark scheme”. While this is not functionally incorrect, it can be seen as clunky. Therefore, it is usually better to write “the GCSE mark scheme” if referring to a specific mark scheme, as it is viewed as more professional and correct.

How Do Other Common Educational Words use Apostrophes?

Some other words in education which we use regularly can also be confusing to add apostrophes and pluralise. Here are some examples:

Exam Boards: AQA and OCR (both acronyms) generally will not be plural, as they are a single organization each. However, for instance,if you wish to talk about exams made by AQA you would need to say “AQA’s exams”.

If you wish to talk about the exams made byEdexcel orEduqas(WJEC) then the correct phrasing is “Edexcel’s exams”.This is the same set of rules as for the other examining boards, except that these boards are not acronyms.(for more information aboutdifferentexamining boards for GCSE please visitthis link)

Another keyword in higher education is A-Levelexams. This is phrased with asingle -s afterwards to become plural, as in “A-levels”.It is always important to get this correct, as these are words you are likely to use often, especially in the context of essays applying for University or 6thform, where correct grammar is tantamount.

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GCSEs or GCSE's: Which is Correct and Why? - Think Student? ›

The correct way to write GCSE as plural is with a single s on the end, and no apostrophe, as GCSEs. GCSEs stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education

Teacher education or teacher training refers to programs, policies, procedures, and provision designed to equip (prospective) teachers with the knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, approaches, methodologies and skills they require to perform their tasks effectively in the classroom, school, and wider community.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Teacher_education
and is an acronym. This is correct as it has nothing belonging to it, but in this case, there is more than one of the nouns (GCSE), so we need an -s.

What is GCSE equivalent in USA? ›

The closest thing that would be considered an American equivalent to GCSEs is thought to be the high school diploma (although that isn't the exact equal).

What are GCSE students? ›

GCSE stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education. They are highly valued by schools, colleges and employers. The qualification mainly involves studying the theory of a subject, together with some investigative work, while some subjects also involve practical work.

Is it still called GCSE? ›

The General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) is an academic qualification in a particular subject, taken in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. State schools in Scotland use the Scottish Qualifications Certificate instead. Private schools in Scotland may choose to use GCSEs from England.

Is GCSEs an apostrophe? ›

GCSE's GCSEs G.C.S.E.s is also correct but stops of this kind are no longer considered necessary.

Do GCSEs matter in America? ›

While GCSEs are generally regarded as the equivalent of a US High School diploma (many schools regard it as the rough equivalent to the US 11th grade plus a little more), and many US colleges and universities still do not necessarily require A levels unless they note otherwise, most still like to see them done, and ...

Are American SATs the same as GCSEs? ›

SATs are not study courses like GCSEs, but are rather tests to let the universities ascertain what level of competency the student has reached. SATs are merely meet an entry criteria for universities that satisfy them that the student has the capabilities for the course.

What grade is GCSE equivalent to? ›

The reformed GCSE qualifications will be awarded on a grade scale of 9 (the highest grade) to 1 (the lowest). This new scale will be aligned to key grades on the current A* to G scale. broadly the same proportion of students will achieve a grade 1 and above as currently achieve a grade G and above.

Can you get into college without GCSEs UK? ›

While universities usually require a passing grade in GCSE Maths and English, it's certainly possible to get in with no GCSEs. However, you will have to fill out your application with plenty of impressive-sounding skills and character traits.

Why do students take the GCSE? ›

As well as giving you useful skills and knowledge in themselves, GCSEs are an important stepping stone if you want to get a job or continue studying. Many employers and colleges ask for candidates to have at least five GCSEs, so they will come in useful, whatever you choose to do.

What are British exams called? ›

Background The O and A Level examination certificates are the secondary and pre-university credentials in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The O Levels, or Ordinary Levels, typically represent a total of 11 years of study and mark the end of the secondary education cycle.

What are GCSEs called in England? ›

The IGCSE or International General Certificate of Secondary Education is an international qualification for Year 10 and 11 students studying in non-UK countries. It is equivalent to the GCSE and is accepted by UK institutions and UK universities.

What is another name for GCSE? ›

Gcse Synonyms

Synonyms: General Certificate of Secondary Education. o-level.

Is it GCSE or GCSEs? ›

However, in this article we will help you understand which acronym is correct and how you can tell which to use for other similar words. The correct way to write GCSE as plural is with a single s on the end, and no apostrophe, as GCSEs. GCSEs stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education and is an acronym.

What is grammatically correct apostrophe? ›

An apostrophe is a small punctuation mark ( ' ) placed after a noun to show that the noun owns something. The apostrophe will always be placed either before or after an s at the end of the noun owner. Always the noun owner will be followed (usually immediately) by the thing it owns.

Can you go to a US college with GCSEs? ›

You do not need straight As and A*s to be admitted to a good university in the USA. In general, American universities will at least be looking for: Five subjects at GCSE or the equivalent National 5s. IB or A-levels/Scottish Advanced Highers.

Can you go to college in America with GCSEs? ›

Entry requirements for American Universities

Entry requirements will vary across the US but as a minimum you will likely need 5 GCSEs A* - C to include English and Maths. You will need to be studying post-16 qualifications (ie A-Levels) for four-year universities but you could get into a community college with less.

Does Oxford look at GCSEs? ›

None of our courses have a specific GCSE requirement; however, there are some parts of our admissions process that use GCSE grades to contextualise applicants' performance, and we are not able to use other Level 2 qualifications (or equivalent) to replicate those measures for students not taking GCSEs.

What is the American SAT equivalent to in the UK? ›

UK requirement (A-level)SAT equivalent
A*AA1350 in SAT Reasoning (combined) and 700 in three SAT Subject Tests* (each)
AAA1350 in SAT Reasoning (combined) and 700 in three SAT Subject Tests* (each)
AAB1320 in SAT Reasoning (combined) and 700 in three SAT Subject Tests* (each)
5 more rows

What are SATs called in America? ›

The SAT is a mostly multiple-choice test designed to benchmark students' level of academic attainment against their peers, and an SAT (or ACT) score is one of the key factors that admissions advisors take into consideration when making decisions about applicants.

What is a level in UK equivalent to us? ›

According to the British Council, A Levels are similar to the American Advanced Placement courses which are themselves equivalent to first-year courses of America's four-year bachelor's degrees.

What is the difference between GCSE and A level? ›

The biggest difference between GCSE and A-level is the inclusion of some of the optional topics that are not covered at GCSE. These include Beliefs in Society, Global Development and Health. However, if they wish, students can avoid these topics at A-level and develop their knowledge of the topics they studied at GCSE.

What is a GCSE A in GPA? ›

A (7, 8 , 9 in GCSE) = 4.0. B (5, 6 in GCSE) = 3.0. C (4 in GCSE) = 2.0. D (3 in GCSE) = 1.0.

How many GCSEs do you need? ›

How many GCSEs do you need to take? The minimum number of subjects you are asked to take at GCSE is five, with most students choosing between nine and ten different subjects. You can choose to take more than the average amount, though this is down to you, your preferences and academic ability.

Does Harvard require GCSE? ›

Does Harvard require GCSE? No, Harvard does not require students to have taken the GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) qualification to apply for admission. Although a GCSE is an important academic qualification for students studying in the UK, it is not part of the application process for Harvard.

Does Cambridge look at GCSEs? ›

There are no GCSE (or equivalent) requirements for entry to Cambridge. GCSE results are looked at as a performance indicator, but within the context of the performance of the school/college where they were achieved.

How much GCSE cost? ›

in 2021 the average A level price is £105.12 (compared with £101.44 in 2020) in 2021 the average GCSE price is £43.91 (compared with £42.02 in 2020)

Why is GCSE difficult? ›

When taking GCSEs there is a huge mix of subjects, skills, and knowledge. This can be incredibly difficult to manage. Students struggle to balance enough time to be able to do everything they used to do on a day-to-day basis, as well as including revision.

What is the most important GCSE? ›

What are the most important GCSE subjects? Maths and English are the most important subjects as they are a requirement for most courses, apprenticeships, jobs and university degrees. You will usually need at least a grade 4 and above in Maths and English before you can get into these.

What are the most important GCSEs to take? ›

GCSE options do matter

English and maths (sometimes science) are the GCSEs that universities are most likely to be interested in – and you don't get the option of dropping these. So whatever GCSEs you choose, you'll still have a broad range of unis to make up your mind over (if you get the grades, that is).

What is the English exam in America? ›

English Language Tests

The TOEFL is the most popular test for studying in the U.S. The IELTS is used to test English language skills for studying, migration and work. The TOEFL tests American English while the IELTS tests British English. The TOEFL is available in Internet-based (iBT) and paper-based (pBT) versions.

What is a level equivalent to in us? ›

For those considering US universities, the American equivalent for A Levels are the AP examinations.

What age is free education in the UK? ›

All 3 to 4-year-olds in England are entitled to free early education before they start school full time.

What is the UK high school exam called? ›

GCSEs (General Certificate of Secondary Education) are taken when students are 15/16 years of age (School Years 10/11) and mark the end of compulsory education in the UK. They are taken in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

What do the French call GCSEs? ›

le brevet des collèges mascExams in France are different from exams in Britain. le brevet des collèges is an exam you take at the end of fourth year in secondary school.

What are German GCSEs called? ›

The equivalent of GCSEs in Germany is called die Mittlere Reife. The equivalent of A-levels in Germany is called Abitur, but in Austria and Switzerland it is called Matura.

What is higher than a GCSE? ›

A-Levels are intended to be a step up from GCSE, and many are designed to challenge even the most capable students. A-Levels build on and challenge what you've learnt at GCSE in specific areas of learning. For example, taking an A-Level in Chemistry would build on your existing GCSE knowledge of the subject.

What is Cambridge GCSE called? ›

Cambridge IGCSE was developed as a GCSE examination for international use and the academic demands and standards of Cambridge IGCSE are equivalent to those of the UK GCSE. Cambridge IGCSE exams are tailored for a multi–cultural, multi–lingual audience in a way that UK GCSE exams are not.

How many GCSEs do you take in England? ›

Most schools in the UK ask their students to complete 10 GCSEs. However, it is possible to choose more or less options. Alongside the other compulsory subjects, your school may ask you to choose a language.

Is English one or two GCSEs? ›

English has been split into two distinct and separate GCSEs; English Language and English Literature. No longer is there a GCSE that mixes the two.

How do I prepare my child for GCSE? ›

Help your child revise for GCSEs – the top 6 revision hacks
  1. Understand GCSEs. ...
  2. Build a revision plan. ...
  3. Make revision efficient and effective. ...
  4. Set up a dedicated learning environment. ...
  5. Use the best revision resources. ...
  6. Ask for help when needed.

How do the British pronounce teacher? ›

Below is the UK transcription for 'teacher': Modern IPA: tɪ́jʧə Traditional IPA: ˈtiːʧə 2 syllables: "TEE" + "chuh"

What are the 3 rules for apostrophes? ›

The apostrophe has three uses: 1) to form possessive nouns; 2) to show the omission of letters; and 3) to indicate plurals of letters, numbers, and symbols.

What is the most common mistake made using an apostrophe? ›

The most common apostrophe errors involve homonyms: words that sound like each other but are spelled differently. Let's start with Its', its and it's. Its' is never correct; it is singular, so it would never require a plural possessive. If you're indicating possession, use its—no apostrophe is ever required.

Which is correct Williams or Williams's? ›

The Associated Press Stylebook recommends just an apostrophe: It's Tennessee Williams' best play. But most other authorities endorse 's: Williams's. Williams's means “belonging to Williams.” It is not the plural form of Williams. People's names become plural the way most other words do.

Is American high school diploma equivalent to GCSE? ›

High School Graduation Diploma is considered comparable to GCSE (grades A*-C / 9-4), for every Grade 12 level subject passed High School Graduation Diploma (with a minimum 3.0 GPA), plus three Advanced Placement (AP) Examinations at grade 3 or higher. This must include science, if applying for a science degree. We also ...

What degree is equivalent to GCSE? ›

NVQs at levels 1 and 2 are the most equivalent to GCSEs. NVQs at level 3 are equivalent to 2 A levels. Taking NVQs at level 4 is equivalent to a higher education certificate, while NVQs at level 5 are equivalent to a higher education diploma.

What qualification is equivalent to GCSE? ›

NVQs (National Vocational Qualification)

An NVQ2 is a GCSE equivalent and is valued by many employers but usually within the profession the NVQ relates to.

What level is a GCSE equivalent to? ›

Level 2 qualifications are: CSE - grade 1. GCSE - grades 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4 or grades A*, A, B, C. intermediate apprenticeship.

What is the American high school diploma called in UK? ›

List of High School Equivalents
TurkeyLise Diplomasi
United Arab EmiratesSecondary School Certificate
United KingdomAdvanced Level Exams
126 more rows

What is an American high school equivalent to in UK? ›

In the US system, less emphasis is placed on examinations and students study general subjects until the end of high school, which is Grade 12, the UK equivalent of Year 13. In the United States, most children attend preschool part-time, but state-provided education does not start until Kindergarten (Year 1 in the UK).

What are the US equivalent of UK school years? ›

Year / Grade Placement
AgeUK YearsUS/International Grades
13 - 14Year 98th Grade
14 - 15Year 109th Grade (Freshman)
15 - 16Year 1110th Grade (Sophomore)
16 - 17Year 12 / Lower 6th11th Grade (Junior)
10 more rows

What is the difference between GCSE and A-Level? ›

The biggest difference between GCSE and A-level is the inclusion of some of the optional topics that are not covered at GCSE. These include Beliefs in Society, Global Development and Health. However, if they wish, students can avoid these topics at A-level and develop their knowledge of the topics they studied at GCSE.

What is the equivalent of A Levels in America? ›

For those considering US universities, the American equivalent for A Levels are the AP examinations.

Is a GCSE the same as a higher? ›

What ways are A-levels different to GCSEs? A-Levels are a higher level of qualification compared to GCSEs. They are usually taken in a sixth form or college by those 17 and above whereas GCSEs are usually taken in high schools by those 13 to 16.

What is the difference between IGCSE and GCSE? ›

Historically, the main difference between the IGCSE and the GCSE qualification was the inclusion of a greater amount of coursework within the GCSE syllabus, whereas the IGCSE had been mainly assessed through final exams at the end of the course.

Are Cambridge Nationals equivalent to GCSE? ›

Cambridge Nationals are available in a range of engaging subjects that are equivalent in size to GCSEs and all subjects have been approved for inclusion on the 2024 and 2025 performance tables in England. This document is for teachers and heads of department.

What are British school A levels? ›

A-Levels (Advanced Level qualifications) are a UK subject-based qualification for students aged 16 and above. They are usually studied over two years, leading to qualifications recognised for entrance to higher education institutes in the UK and many others worldwide.

What are good GCSE grades? ›

However, a 4 is being classified as a standard pass, which can be broadly compared to a grade C, while a 5 is a strong pass. Grades 9-7 are roughly equivalent to the old top grades of A* and A.


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