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10 Hardest GCSE Subjects to Pass

If you are one of those students who easily get stuck with some subjects too hard to pass, then a list of the hardest GCSE subjects to pass is now here to help you recognize the most difficult subjects in order to prepare yourself in the manner. There’s a whole bunch of subjects waiting for you to be prepared for and just a few instructions on how to overcome the difficulties.

As a part of the educational process in the UK, which is compulsory for children aged 5-16, GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) stands for the final qualifying examination that students are offered to take at the end of the compulsory period. Students can choose between a variety of subjects, languages, technology, and humanities as well as vocational ones, and pass it through coursework or formal exam, or both. Even though introduced in 1986 to substitute already existing O-level and CSE examinations, the system of GCSE has been quite changed today. Specifically, educational system shifted grades from A* to G in 9 to 1. This September, the first experiments in grading transformation, ironically called ‘the guinea pigs’ by some, are going to be presented when the current authorities will reap the harvest from rigorous grading transitions. The intentions, as they claim, were to indicate a contrast between students and to highlight the achievements of more talented and successful ones.

10 Hardest GCSE Subjects to Pass

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As far as for methodology and data used in this article, we consulted more reliable sources like National percentage figures for GCSE grades, where we analyzed the pass rate, then Report for SCORE (Science Community Supporting Education) in 2008, and also a couple of secondary data from The Telegraph and Independent. Our primary source of data researched was National percentage figures for GCSE grades which were expressed in average % of students obtaining A* to C, while the other three secondary data were ranked according to it separately. Therefore the total average stands for the mediocre number of primary and secondary sources joined and measured together.

It is intriguing that the vast majority of the young believe in their incapability describing themselves as ‘antitalents’ for certain fields of science rather than facing the real causes of issues. Procrastinating, freezing, fear and frustration are only some of the conditions and symptoms in pre-exams periods which can be rooted deeply psychologically when we confront difficult and demanding subjects. Do we really know how to learn? Researching for this topic, we found several strategies for learning by Barbara Oakley, Ph.D., like recalling the material and focusing on details, etc. If you are a kind of the easiest problem-solver first, we truly recommend to check out our article on 10 Easiest GCSE Subjects to Pass. However, if you prefer to bear the difficulties first, then this list is for you! Let’s check on our list of the hardest GCSE subjects to pass from where you should suppose to start!

10. Leisure and Tourism

Average % of students obtaining A* to C: 38.5

Total average: 1

This course can lead students either to some vocational training or serious college or university studies. Even though ranked as the most difficult subject on the national ranking, compared to secondary data it took the last place on the list. Its curriculum consists of important geography, facilities, and organizations and can offer a diverse insight into creating new tourist attractions.

10 Hardest GCSE Subjects to Pass


9. Craft, Design, and Technology


Average % of students obtaining A* to C: 42.7

Total average: 1.5

The next hardest on the list is CDT which was the third according to grading from A* to C averaged in the last three years. The issue with technology is of subjective reasons. Some students get on really well with the modern technology and digital era, and some prefer live science. Its curriculum is not based only on designing new technologies but also textiles, food, and materials.


10 Hardest GCSE Subjects to Pass


8. Engineering


Average % of students obtaining A* to C: 40.8

Total average: 1.5

The place of engineering isn’t surprising at all since it comes immediately after the technical subjects. According to the national grading, it had a low percentage averaged of only 40.8 which made it the second hardest subject, but the total average took it to the eighth place. Nevertheless, the world of producing and managing machines becomes more and more attractive to the students.

10 Hardest GCSE Subjects to Pass

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7. Manufacturing

Average % of students obtaining A* to C: 52.5

Total average: 1.75

Similar to engineering, manufacturing also deals with producing and researching tools, systems, machines, and equipment. The exciting part that is being learned is the using raw materials in order to make a completely new commodity. This fact placed manufacturing on the seventh place on our list of hardest GCSE subjects to pass.


10 Hardest GCSE Subjects to Pass


6. Health and Social Care

Average % of students obtaining A* to C: 54.7

Total average: 2.25

One of the main reasons why students enroll in this course is a chance to better understand the importance of health and its contemporary problems. The next one is the fact it’s a part of A-level. Learning about rights and responsibilities, health and well-being is a pretty much responsible job. To master this capability you have to study hard!

10 Hardest GCSE Subjects to Pass

5. Expressed Arts

Average % of students obtaining A* to C: 54.4

Total average: 2.5

Visual, auditory or written, art is highly appreciated in the modern era as it was in history. The golden mean of the hardest GCSE subjects to pass belongs to talent, aesthetics, and crafts. While the philosophical matter of whether the ability for creating art is a natural gift (simply – talent) or hard work stays unanswered, students aim to discover their inner identity trough this class.

10 Hardest GCSE Subjects to Pass

Olena Hromova/

4. Science

Average % of students obtaining A* to C: 48.4

Total average: 3.25

As we come near to the top of the hardest subjects, we recognize the natural world. The goals of the curriculum are to introduce students with nature and make them explore that nature. The most important thing is to learn to understand human and culture in their local and global environment by developing healthy and responsible attitudes toward it.


10 Hardest GCSE Subjects to Pass

Mila Supinskaya Glashchenko/

3. Business Studies

Average % of students obtaining A* to C: 55.4

Total average: 4

The third place on our list of hardest GCSE subjects to pass belongs to the human public and private sectors. Students are offered to learn about business activities, finance, and regulations. The aim of the course is gaining the ability to calculate data, communication skills and analyzing and creating potential business solutions.

10 Hardest GCSE Subjects to Pass


2. Humanities

Average % of students obtaining A* to C: 46.8

Total average: 4.5

The first notion of the term ‘humanities’ doesn’t embrace one meaning, it’s rather ambiguous. Humanity sciences consist of various areas of studies such as interdisciplinary (languages, literature, philosophy), art and cultural studies. Interdisciplinary studies statistically proved to be challenging, especially languages and literature.

10 Hardest GCSE Subjects to Pass


1. Social Sciences

Average % of students obtaining A* to C: 48.5

Total average: 4.75

And finally, on the top of our list of the hardest GCSE subjects to pass are social studies whose aim is to develop the critical thinking towards society, to teach students to become more responsible and to develop the ability to comment and communicate about events, problems and processes. The statistics of average showed that we, in fact, lack the compassion and understanding between each other as it is the hardest thing to be achieved!

10 Hardest GCSE Subjects to Pass

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