It’s important to stay as relaxed as possible ahead of GCSE results day. When the day arrives, make sure you pack your mobile phone so you can give your parents a call after getting your results. Pack a bottle of water and some tissues. Make sure you eat breakfast before you head down to school so you’re not running on an empty stomach.
Ensure you are not peer-pressured into opening your results with friends if you’re not feeling comfortable or confident. It’s best to be somewhere at school to open your results, so you can get advice from your teachers if you need it. But you can always take them home to open them if you prefer.
How much do GCSE results matter?
Collecting your GCSE results can be a nerve-wracking time; you’ll probably find yourself surrounded by smiling faces of classmates who have aced their exams – but there’s always likely to be a few people frowning over some less-than-ideal results. People often find there are one or two subjects where their GCSE grades have slipped a little.
If that happens to you, try to focus on the positive grades you’ve got. Besides English and Maths, having one or two lower GCSE grades is unlikely to hinder you in the future. If you performed below your expectations overall, again you shouldn’t worry. As long as you get into the courses and sixth form of your choice, it’s time to look forward rather than dwelling on your results.
If you have not passed Maths or English language.
When you first look at your results, GCSE English and GCSE Maths are the key qualifications to look out for. In the GCSE number grading system, a 4 is likely to be requested as a minimum by schools and colleges if you want to move on to study at a higher level. Some courses may ask for higher grades so check carefully.
If you missed out on the grade 4, especially if it’s by a narrow margin, the first thing to do is to speak immediately to the head of the sixth form or college you hope to attend. You might want to consider applying for a review of marking otherwise most schools and colleges will require you to resit your exams alongside your post-16 studies.
Most schools and colleges will offer classes to prepare you to retake these GCSEs or they will offer alternative courses. If classes are not available, it may be worth checking with other local colleges to see if they offer additional classes.
If you have not got the grades needed for college.
Again, the best course of action is to speak to the head of the sixth form or college you have applied to. Many colleges give you an offer where you’ll need certain grades to be able to enrol. In some cases, the entry requirements may be ‘informal’, and so you may be let onto the course regardless. But this isn’t always the case.
If you have missed your college requirements, there are several different paths you can take. You may retake one or more subjects to help boost your overall grade, or if you think there was an error with the marking of your paper you can apply for a review of marks.
Retaking exams or getting your paper reviewed are two methods to potentially improve a GCSE grade you’re not happy with. You can retake English and Maths GCSE in November but will have to wait until the next summer to resit any other GCSEs.
Reverting to plan B
If you have checked everything and your plan really is not working out, you need to consider a plan B. Here are some steps you can take to prepare one.
1. Go back to basics
The next options after Year 11 are:
- Sixth form (mostly academic learning, if you have the required grades)
- College of FE (mostly work-related learning)
- Apprenticeship (a job nationally recognised training)
- Getting a job (which may also have training)
These are all good in different ways and they can lead to good careers. Make sure you investigate and understand what all of them involve, then make a list of those you think are right for you in order of preference.
2. Make a list of career areas which appeal to you, in order of preference.
Talk to people who know you and do some careers research to check ideas.
3. Put the two lists together.
Talk to your teachers and family to get a best fit of next step options and career interests and choose at least one next step option. This is now your plan B.
4. When you have worked out plan B, put it into action straight away.
Apply to whatever you have chosen – check online or phone the provider and get your name on their list.
Whatever has happened remember that your family and friends will be proud of you and your achievements. And remember, if you have not got the results you wanted it isn’t the end of the world – there are lots of options.
Whichever you chose we wish you all the best on GCSE results day.