29/08/2012 07:29 BST | Updated 28/10/2012 05:12 GMT

GCSEs - Do They Really Make the Difference?

GCSEs are an essential stepping stone towards A Levels, needed to test your academic ability at the end of compulsory secondary education.

Even though the diversity and number of subjects studied at GCSE can be a pain, it can also be your saving grace when it comes to making later choices. You may already know what career path you want to follow and, therefore, they may seem like a waste of time to you; but why narrow your options now if you do not? A broad range of GCSEs gives you a taste of what you may be doing as a full time job in later years.

I was never very good at any of the sciences, but I don't regret taking them as I believe it is important to have a basic understanding of them. In the same way, it is important to have a basic understanding of mathematics as it will prove useful later on in life.

One of today's current issues is the increasing number of students without jobs after leaving university. The more effort you put in now may just help you stand out ahead of others in the future. In other words, a GCSE grade now more than ever could really be the difference between getting a job ahead of someone else or not.

Leaving school with a good set of A Level and GCSE results means you won't be on the back foot when it comes to applying for university and later applying for a job. It is more imperative than ever that you work hard now.

However, I can't ignore the struggle I went through when it came to revising for so many different subjects. Splitting my time between so many topics was difficult for me, and the summer months leading up to the exams was extremely stressful. Spreading myself so thinly may well have sacrificed better grades in my stronger subjects for average grades in my weaker ones.

Pressure mounted for us all as parents were increasingly on our backs and teachers set unrealistically high targets which we were expected to reach. I especially, spent much of my time worrying about the fact that I should be working, as opposed to actually working.

Not doing as well as you should have isn't all bad either. Think of it as a learning curve; remember how disappointed you were the day you first saw your GCSE results this time next year and it will act as a motivator to not feel same way then. Don't make the same mistake twice!

After finding out my own results this week, future plans won't change too much for me. They may have ruined my chances of getting into grammar school for my A Levels, but at least I have a place secured at my current school. What will really count is the next step onwards, when thousands will be competing for a place at one of the UK's universities.