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  • The General Certificate of Secondary Education is an academic qualification awarded in a specified subject, generally taken in a number of subjects by pupils aged 14–16 in secondary education in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. One of the main changes to previous educational qualifications in the United Kingdom was to allow pupils to complete coursework during their two years of study, which was marked by their teachers and contributed to their final examination grade. There has been a move recently from doing coursework and modular examinations for part of the course when pupils would take exams throughout the course to an end of year exam after the two years of study. The exams are being revised to make them more difficult such as testing skills from a whole text in English instead of part of a text. The qualification is equivalent to a Level 1 or Level 2 Key Skills Qualification. Some pupils may decide to take one or more GCSEs before or after they sit the others, and people may apply to take GCSEs at any point either internally through an institution or externally.

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