Definition of GCSE in English:

GCSE

noun

  • 1[mass noun] (in the UK except Scotland) a qualification in a specific subject typically taken by school students aged 14–16, at a level below A level. The equivalent in Scotland is Standard Grade.

    Compare with A level, O level
    • ‘A huge range of interactive program guide children from the absolute basics through to GCSE level and above.’
    • ‘Gaine and George claimed that 'girls are outstripping boys at almost every subject at GCSE'.’
    • ‘In school, he achieved straight As at GCSE, while on the sports scene he played for West Ham and Wimbledon.’
    • ‘The school comes bottom in the town's league table - based on pupils who achieve five or more A - C grades at GCSE.’
    • ‘Although girls do well in science subjects at GCSE, they often fail to take these subjects further.’
    • ‘She managed 11 A* s at GCSE, and was captain of both hockey and athletics teams, as well as being a talented oboist.’
    • ‘At GCSE, only 44.7 per cent of boys managed to get at least five A* to C-grades, compared with 55.1 per cent of girls.’
    • ‘League tables published this month showed boys made better progress from key stage three to GCSE than any other school in Kingston.’
    • ‘Bias, as every GCSE pupil now knows, is often a problem in the presentation of history.’
    • ‘Arsonists destroyed part of the school - leaving blackened roofs, timbers and ruining two years of vital GCSE coursework.’
    • ‘I didn't feel particularly challenged by any of my GCSE subjects.’
    • ‘At GCSE, a staggering 95.1 per cent of students achieved the "headline figure" of at least five passes at A - C levels.’
    • ‘New specifications for all GCSE subjects have been approved by the QCA.’
    • ‘The figures released give a breakdown of the percentage of all 15-year-old pupils in each Local Education Authority who took at least one of the three languages at GCSE last year.’
    1. 1.1[count noun] A GCSE exam or pass:
      ‘you need five GCSEs’
      • ‘However, some students will be keen to improve their exam results, so it might be worth their while re-sitting their GCSEs and combining these qualifications with either GNVQs or BTEC First or National qualifications.’
      • ‘The courses are aimed at people who already have a range of qualifications from GCSEs to A-levels or HNCs.’
      • ‘He went to college to take his GCSEs but dropped out.’
      • ‘The academic teaching was good and Isabel passed 11 GCSEs.’
      • ‘She left Cardinal Langley High School in Middleton with 10 GCSEs - nine of them grade A - and A-levels in physics, chemistry and maths.’
      • ‘I've been really, really busy with coursework and revision and getting stressed and refusing to think about my GCSEs.’
      • ‘Despite his health problems, he attended Russell Hall School in Queensbury and went on to get eight GCSEs.’
      • ‘Sixty-five per cent of students achieved five or more GCSEs at A* to C.’
      • ‘Daughter number two, by contrast, will not be satisfied with anything less than 10 As in her GCSEs.’
      • ‘Lucy, who is preparing for her GCSEs, has been given the top-floor room so she can escape to a quiet retreat to revise.’
      • ‘Tickets were due to go on sale at 10 a.m. the following Friday - the very morning I was due to sit my History GCSE.’
      • ‘I'm already struggling to find work, despite having several GCSEs.’
      • ‘We keep running out of electricity, have no gas for heating and this week I had to borrow the bus fares so my daughter could get to school to take her GCSEs.’
      • ‘He grew up in Gloucester with his Malawi-born parents and obtained 10 GCSEs as well as A-levels in biology, chemistry, physics and general studies from Crypt Grammar School.’
      • ‘He took his GCSEs at Ilkley Grammar School, but has continued his education at Skipton College, where he is retaking his English GCSE.’
      • ‘Finding herself expelled three months before her GCSEs, she ran off to Barcelona.’
      • ‘Attendance rates had dropped to between 70 to 80 per cent, and only eight per cent of pupils were achieving five A-C GCSEs.’
      • ‘"Well I'm sorry, you won't get anywhere in engineering without GCSEs," she says.’

Origin

1970s: acronym from General Certificate of Secondary Education.

Pronunciation:

GCSE

/dʒiːsiːɛsˈiː/