Although GCSE exams are assessed by independent associations (no schools administrations are allowed to decide which grade to be given to each particular exam paper) their questions and tasks are to be approved by schools and governments according to the study curriculum and can only contain the subjects which have been studied during the school years. Thus, GCSE exams are not very hard to be passed as there is nothing new for pupils. However, many pupils passed them with the grade which is not enough for university entry.
To higher the school grade and get more possibilities to choose universities it would be very useful to take other courses which are available at each school. Such sources graduation can level GCSE to higher grade which would be enough for university entry requirements. Majority of such courses are specified to give additional knowledge and experience in real industrial environment when students can work as employees while studying or just gain knowledge needed for each specific job or qualification. Usually such courses last 2 years which means one should think of their selection two years before secondary school graduation. Key Skills, AS and NVQ education courses would be the most useful.
Key Skills education provides sources with general knowledge study. The general knowledge includes skills which would be useful for further study and work, for example they may include research skills, computer user skills, general communication skills, counting skills and others. Key Skills certificate would help gain UCAS points needed for university entry: the more courses a school graduates the more points he gains.
AS (Advanced Subsidiary) education is a good thing to approach A-level by school graduation because it allows change subjects during the study so that AS pupils would define which subjects they succeed in and choose the very ones to get a good grade. AS education is to be chosen much earlier than Key Skills courses, at the age of 12. AS is easy to choose because it can be left at the end of each study year and turned in A-level education. AS only advantage is that once you have tried all subjects you are interested in you are choosing the ones you have succeeded best and then you will turn to A-level to get best grades at these subjects.
NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) is a certificate of advanced level of study which presents the graduation of the 2-years professional courses in one or more specified area of industry. NVQ education mostly involves work practice either full-time or part-time, when students become real employees and have training, practice and work duties related to the area of industry they choose to study. NVQ requires exam passing which usually includes work portfolio. NVQ certificate helps get GCSE grade higher to be enough for university entry.