Astronomy and statistics are among the tough new GCSEs set to be studied by Birmingham pupils following a major shake-up of the education system which will see a new grading system using numbers instead of letters.
The former Coalition Government announced sweeping reforms to both the GCSE and A-level system almost two years ago - with the changes being gradually implemented.
Exams regulator Ofqual called the changes to GCSEs the biggest shake-up of exams in England for a generation, with coursework being scrapped for most subjects.
Previous opportunities to retake exams and modules have been scrapped except for resits each November in English language and maths.
Instead of GCSEs being graded from A* to E, a scale of one to nine will be used - with nine being the top grade.
Most GCSEs will be exam based, with the exception for English language assessments to test pupils' ability to speak English.
Pupils starting Year 10 in September will be the first to be affected by the reforms, starting the new English language, English literature and maths GCSEs - taking exams in the summer of 2017.
New and reformed GCSEs in ancient languages, art and design, biology, chemistry, citizenship studies, computer science, dance, double science, drama, food preparation and nutrition, geography, history, modern foreign languages, music, physics, PE and religious studies will start for pupils beginning Year 10 in September 2016.
And those starting Year 10 in September 2017 will begin the reformed GCSEs in astronomy, business, classical civilisation, design and technology, economics, electronics, engineering, film studies, geology, information and communications technology, media studies, psychology, sociology and statistics.
Courses will no longer be divided into different modules and students will take all their exams in one period at the end of their two-year GCSE course.
Current arrangements where pupils can be entered for either a higher or lower-tier paper in maths will remain but in English that division has been scrapped and one exam will be taken by all.
The Government said young people were let down by the old exam system, frequent testing meant not enough time was spent on "deep learning" and not enough attention was paid to grammar, spelling and punctuation.
The head of Ofqual Glenys Stacey said the changes were "fundamental".
"This is the biggest change in a generation," she said.
"GCSEs have been around for over 25 years but now we are seeing fresh content, a different structure and high-quality assessment coming in."
However, Chris Keates, general secretary of Birmingham-based teaching union NASUWT, criticised the reforms.
She said: "It is legitimate for any government to keep the qualification system under review and, where necessary, develop proposals to reform it to ensure continued fitness for purpose.
"However, it is reasonable to expect governments to ensure their proposals for reform are based on evidence, are developed in partnership with all relevant stakeholders and seek to work in the best interests of all pupils.
"Unfortunately, this Government's qualifications agenda continues to fail even these basic tests.
"The Government has tried consistently to portray GCSEs as broken qualifications. The fact is, however, that the GCSE has proved itself to be a robust and reliable qualification.
"Survey evidence from higher education institutions and from employers also dispels the myth that these sectors have no trust in GCSEs."