General Certificate of Secondary Education
Secondary education is the stage of education following primary education. Secondary education includes the final stage of compulsory education and in many countries it is entirely compulsory. The next stage of education is usually college or university...
in England, Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...
and Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...
and is equivalent to a Level 2 (A*- C) and Level 1 (D- G) in Key Skills
Key Skills Qualification
The Key Skills Qualification is a frequently required component of 14-19 education in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. The aim of Key Skills is to encourage learners to develop and demonstrate their skills as well as learn how to select and apply skills in ways that are appropriate to their...
. (In Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...
, the equivalent is the Standard Grade
Standard Grades are Scotland's educational qualifications for students aged around 14 to 16 years, which are due to be fully replaced in 2014 when Scottish Qualifications Authority's Higher Still system becomes the main qualifications as part of the major shake up of Scotland's education system as...
.) Some students may decide to take one or more GCSEs before or afterwards; people may apply for GCSEs at any point either internally through an institution or externally.