However, if you learn more slowly than others, you can spread a short course out over the same length as a traditional GCSE.
Short courses also allow more able students to take extra subjects, like a second language.
Of all core subjects, the sciences have seen some of the largest improvements in grade attainment.
The pass rate, or proportion of entries awarded a C or above, for Biology rose from 60.5% to 93.1% between 19.
Under the current system around a third of pupils are awarded A or A* grades. Ministers believe exam boards have in recent years competed for business by making it easier for pupils to obtain higher grades Since their introduction GCSEs have been criticised over perceived grade inflation.
The proportion of entries awarded grades A* to C rose every year from 1988 to 2011, falling for the first time - from 69.8% to 69.4% - in 2012.They are usually studied full-time at school or college, taking five terms to complete.GCSEs are available in more than 60 subjects and vocational areas.You can take GCSEs in a wide range of academic and 'applied' or work-related subjects at school or your local Further Education (FE) college.GCSE stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education.These GCSEs are assessed to the same standard as the more academic GCSEs, although the work you produce will have a more practical emphasis.You will carry out your own investigations and will often produce a portfolio of work.If your GCSE is made up of modules, you can choose to resit individual modules. The highest mark will be taken from your different attempts.How have GCSE grade attainment rates changed since the exams were introduced in 1988?The percentage achieving grade A* or A also climbed every year until 2012.2.8% of GCSE entries were awarded the A* grade when it was introduced in 1993, but 7.8% - or almost one in twelve - were given the top grade in 2011.