The Most Popular GCSE Subjects: Revealing the Top Picks for Students

Choose the subjects you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Mar 1, 2024 05:16
Welcome to StrawPoll, where your opinion truly matters! We've gathered an extensive list of the most popular GCSE subjects, and now it's your turn to make your voice heard. Whether you're a student, a parent, or an educator, we want to know which subjects spark your curiosity and ignite your passion. It's time to cast your vote and help us determine the ultimate ranking of GCSE subjects that inspire the minds of tomorrow. Don't see your favorite subject on the list? No problem! Go ahead and suggest a missing option, and let's shape the future of education together. Dive into the world of academia and join thousands of others in ranking the most popular GCSE subjects today!

What Are the Most Popular GCSE Subjects?

  1. 1
    These subjects are mandatory in most schools and are a requirement for many further education courses.
  2. 2
    Mathematics is a subject that is used in many different industries and is required for many further education courses.
    Mathematics is a fundamental subject that focuses on the study of numbers, shapes, patterns, and relationships. It provides students with essential skills and knowledge in problem-solving, logical reasoning, and critical thinking. Mathematics plays a crucial role in various aspects of life, including science, technology, finance, and engineering.
    • Algebra: Mathematics involves the study of algebraic equations and manipulation of variables.
    • Geometry: It explores the properties and relationships of different geometric shapes and figures.
    • Statistics: Mathematics includes the analysis and interpretation of data using statistical measures.
    • Calculus: This branch of Mathematics deals with rates of change and mathematical modeling.
    • Probability: It involves the study of uncertainty and the likelihood of events occurring.
  3. 3
    Science is a broad subject that covers a range of topics, including biology, chemistry, and physics. It is required for many further education courses and is also a popular subject for those interested in pursuing a career in science.
    Science is a compulsory subject studied in most schools for the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) qualification. It encompasses a broad range of scientific disciplines, providing students with a foundational understanding of the natural world, scientific principles, and critical thinking skills.
    • Subjects covered: Physics, Chemistry, and Biology
    • Knowledge areas: Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, Earth Sciences
    • Practical skills: Experimental design, data analysis, and scientific investigations
    • Form of assessment: Written examinations and practical assessments
    • Exam board variations: Different exam boards may have slightly different specifications and assessment formats
  4. 4
    History is a popular subject that teaches students about past events and how they have shaped the world we live in today. It is also a requirement for many further education courses.
    History is a subject that involves the study of past events, individuals, societies, and civilizations. It explores various aspects of human history, including political, social, cultural, and economic developments. Students examine primary and secondary sources to understand historical context, analyze different perspectives, and develop critical thinking skills.
    • Exam Board: History subject content is defined by exam boards in each particular country.
    • Time Periods: Students may study specific time periods ranging from ancient civilizations to modern history.
    • Topics: Various topics covered may include wars, revolutions, social movements, political systems, cultural exchange, and major historical events.
    • Source Analysis: Students learn to analyze and interpret primary and secondary sources, including documents, artifacts, and visual representations.
    • Interpretation: History involves interpreting historical evidence and understanding different historical interpretations.
  5. 5
    Geography is a subject that teaches students about the physical and human world around them. It is also a requirement for many further education courses.
    Geography is a subject that focuses on the study of the Earth's landscapes, environments, and the relationship between people and their surroundings. It explores various aspects such as physical features, climate patterns, natural resources, human settlements, and cultural practices. Geography helps students develop a better understanding of the world they live in.
    • Broad Discipline: Geography encompasses a wide range of topics and incorporates elements from various disciplines such as biology, geology, sociology, anthropology, and economics.
    • Physical and Human Geography: It encompasses the study of both the physical aspects of Earth (landforms, climate, vegetation) and the human aspects (population, culture, urbanization).
    • Maps and Geospatial Analysis: Geography involves the interpretation and analysis of maps, as well as the use of geospatial technologies like Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
    • Regional Studies: Geography often includes the analysis of specific regions, exploring their unique characteristics, issues, and interconnections.
    • Environmental Awareness: It fosters an understanding of environmental issues, including sustainability, conservation, and the impact of human activities on the planet.
  6. 6
    Learning a foreign language is highly valued in today's global society. French, Spanish, and German are among the most popular languages studied at GCSE level.
    Modern Foreign Languages is a subject offered in the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) curriculum, focusing on the study of languages other than the student's native language. This subject aims to develop language skills such as speaking, listening, reading, and writing in a foreign language, as well as cultural understanding and communication abilities.
    • Language Options: Students can choose from a range of languages, such as French, Spanish, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, and more.
    • Communication Skills: Emphasis placed on developing oral communication skills through conversations and presentations.
    • Grammar and Vocabulary: In-depth study of grammar rules and vocabulary expansion.
    • Listening Comprehension: Development of listening skills through exposure to authentic audio materials.
    • Reading Comprehension: Improvement of reading abilities through texts of varying complexity.
  7. 7
    Computer Science
    Tejaswini27 · CC BY-SA 4.0

    Computer Science

    British Computer Society (BCS)
    With the increasing importance of technology in the modern world, computer science has become a popular subject for students. It is also a requirement for many further education courses.
    Computer Science is a GCSE subject that focuses on the principles and fundamentals of computing. It includes topics such as computer programming, algorithms, data structures, and computer systems. Students also learn about problem-solving and critical thinking skills that are essential in the field of technology.
    • Programming Languages: Python, Java, Scratch
    • Algorithms: Understanding and implementing algorithms
    • Data Structures: Arrays, lists, stacks, queues, trees
    • Computer Systems: Hardware components, memory, storage
    • Networks: Understanding computer networks and protocols
    Computer Science in other rankings
  8. 8
    Art and Design
    Taken by Shai Halevi · CC BY-SA 3.0
    Art and design are popular subjects for students who have a passion for creativity and want to pursue a career in the arts. It is also a requirement for many further education courses.
    Art and Design is a GCSE subject that allows students to explore and develop their creativity through various artistic mediums. It encompasses a wide range of disciplines including drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, graphic design, and more. Students are encouraged to experiment with different techniques and materials to express their ideas and create visually compelling artworks. The subject also encompasses the study of art history and the analysis of different artistic movements and styles.
    • Mediums: Drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, graphic design
    • Artistic disciplines: Exploring various art forms and mediums
    • Creativity: Developing and expressing creative ideas
    • Techniques: Experimenting with different artistic techniques and materials
    • Art history: Studying and analyzing different artistic movements and styles
  9. 9
    Physical education is a popular subject for students who are interested in sports and fitness. It is also a requirement for many further education courses.
    Physical Education (PE) is a GCSE subject that focuses on the development and improvement of physical fitness and skills through various physical activities. It aims to promote a lifelong commitment to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and participating in physical exercise. PE encourages students to understand the benefits of physical activity and helps them develop essential skills like teamwork, leadership, and communication in a sports and fitness context.
    • Exam Board: AQA
    • Total marks: 100
    • Assessment format: Practical performance and written examination
    • Course duration: 2 years
    • Practical activities: Sports, dance, fitness training
    Physical Education in other rankings
  10. 10
    Business studies is a popular subject for students who are interested in pursuing a career in business. It covers topics such as finance, marketing, and management.
    Business Studies is an academic subject that equips students with a solid understanding of the world of business. It explores various aspects of business operations, management, finance, marketing, and entrepreneurship. Students study theoretical concepts and real-life case studies to develop critical thinking and analytical skills required in the business world.
    • Exam Code: Various exam codes depending on the exam board
    • Assessment: Written exams
    • Coursework: May include practical business tasks or projects
    • Topics Covered: Business operations, management, finance, marketing, entrepreneurship, ethical and environmental considerations, and more
    • Skills Developed: Critical thinking, problem-solving, decision-making, data analysis, teamwork, communication, and presentation skills

Missing your favorite subjects?


Ranking factors for popular subjects

  1. Student enrollment numbers
    The number of students who choose to take the subject each year is a good indicator of its popularity.
  2. Exam pass rates
    Subjects with high pass rates might be seen as more popular due to a perception of being easier or more accessible.
  3. Subject relevance
    Subjects that are relevant to current job markets and popular career paths are likely to be more appealing to students.
  4. Perceived difficulty
    Subjects seen as more difficult or challenging may be less popular as students may be hesitant to take them.
  5. Availability
    Some schools might not offer certain subjects, which will affect overall popularity on a national level.
  6. Teacher quality and enthusiasm
    Exceptional teachers can attract more students to their subject, contributing to its popularity.
  7. Interest level
    Subjects that have more engaging and interesting content may be more popular among students.
  8. Relation to mandatory subjects
    Some subjects are compulsory, and this can impact the popularity and reputation of those offered as electives.
  9. Perceived future value
    If a subject is seen to offer valuable life skills or knowledge for the future, it may be ranked higher in popularity.
  10. Parental and peer influence
    Parents and peers can play a significant role in the subjects students choose, particularly if they are successful or passionate about a specific area.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular GCSE subjects. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or Subject is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 204 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each Subject once every 24 hours. The rank of each Subject is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


More information on most popular gcse subjects

GCSEs (General Certificate of Secondary Education) are a set of exams taken by students in the UK at the age of 16, marking the end of their secondary education. These exams cover a range of subjects, from English and mathematics to sciences and humanities. The choice of GCSE subjects can play a crucial role in a student's academic and future career path. While some subjects are mandatory, students have the option to choose a number of electives based on their interests and strengths. At StrawPoll, we have gathered data on the most popular GCSE subjects. Our polls have revealed some interesting insights into the choices made by students across the country. Whether it's the popularity of STEM subjects or the enduring appeal of languages, our data provides a fascinating glimpse into the world of GCSEs.

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