GCSE results are released on Thursday 22nd August. You will be able to collect an envelope containing your results from your school or college in the morning.
A score of 9 is the top grade and 1 is the lowest pass, with a fail still called a U. The top two marks of A and A* are roughly equivalent to a grade of 7, 8 or 9. The good pass marks of B and C have been replaced by grades 4, 5 and 6. And at the lower end of the scale, the grades D, E, F and G are scored 1, 2 or 3.
If all has gone as expected, this is a positive time to be considering your future direction. However, if you have missed out on your expected grades, here’s what to do next. Firstly, don’t panic. If you had an offer from a particular college or employer based on your results, give them a call - they may still accept you.
Speak to your teachers
Whatever you're planning to do next, they’ll be able to advise you and help arrange your next steps, whether that’s appealing your grades, resitting your exam, choosing a different sixth form, or something else.
Speak to your sixth form or college
For most sixth forms or Further Education colleges you will be required to get specific grades in order to gain a place there. If you’ve narrowly missed the required entry grades, they might still offer you a place, particularly if extenuating factors could have affected your performance.
They could also allow you to transfer to a different course or subject, offer you a place alongside doing retakes or recommend other colleges and sixth forms which might suit you.
Ask for your paper to be remarked
If you have just missed out on a grade, or you feel strongly that your grade doesn’t reflect your ability, you can ask for your paper to be remarked. This is now known as a ‘review of marking’. Your grade could go down as well as up, so only request a review if you’re fairly confident there’s been an error.
All applications for a GCSE re-mark should be made via your school or college, (unless you are home-schooled). If you think that your result might be wrong you should speak to a teacher as soon as possible and they can submit an "enquiry about results" (EAR) to the relevant exam board. You’ll generally pay an admin fee, which will be refunded if your grade changes. Exam boards often show on their websites, what services they charge for when a request for a review is issued. Roughly one in five reviews result in a grade being changed.
If you’ve had your paper remarked and you’re convinced that there’s still been a mistake, you can appeal within two weeks of receiving the decision. Visit the Edexcel Website or AQA appeals page for more information.
If you’d like to make a complaint, you can do so through your school. Each school has its own process, so speak to yours to find out the best way forward. If your place at sixth form or college depends on your grade being changed, they might let you begin studying with them while you wait for the result of your request.
Resit your GCSE exams through school
Resitting your exams demonstrates that you’re hardworking, motivated and committed to achieving your goals – desirable attributes in the eyes of any employer or university.
For Maths and English, resitting is compulsory if you haven’t achieved a pass (grade 4). You’ll need to continue studying these subjects until you either pass or turn 18.
If you got a grade 3 and will be studying full-time (540+ hours) next year, you’ll need to resit the GCSE; If you got a grade 3 and will be studying part-time (150 – 539 hours), you can take a functional skills qualification instead of GCSE
If you got a grade 2 or below, you can take a functional skills qualification instead of GCSE
If you’re going on to an apprenticeship, studying Maths and English will be part of your programme
Depending on the subject, you could be able to resit your exams in November, or the summer diet the following year. Your teachers will have this information for you. It is always best to check with your school for exact resit options for your specific subject as these will differ between examining bodies.
Make a new plan
If you don’t want to resit your GCSEs, it’s time to make a plan for your future that takes your grades into account.
If you have a specific career in mind, research all the possible ways you could achieve it. Don’t limit yourself to university or even college courses. Think wider:
Apprenticeships combine practical training in a job with study to achieve a qualification. You will be working alongside experienced staff in a real working environment, and will be paid during your apprenticeship. You will be entitled to the National Minimum Wage. Also, you could resit GCSEs or even tackle new ones whilst working.
BTECs are practical-based, vocational qualifications which can be studied at a college or school. BTECs provide the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a field or subject, and are a viable alternative to the more theory-focused, classroom-based ways of learning. This vocational qualification gives students the skills they need to enter higher education or employment.
Consider your options
THE EXAM RESULTS HELPLINE: Callers will be able to talk through their options with experienced careers advisers, whether it’s in work, in education, or taking a vocational course. The helpline will be available on 0800 100 900 from 8am to 10pm, 7 days a week between the 15-29 August. Follow on advice will be available from The National Careers Service to anyone that requires it after 29th August.
NATIONAL CAREERS SERVICE provides information, advice and guidance to help you make decisions on learning, training and work. Find out more on the National Careers Service Website or call 0800 100 900 to speak to an adviser. Lines are open from 8am to 10pm, 7 days a week. Calls are free from landlines and most mobile numbers.
Whichever path you choose, take your time and consider all your options. There will be thousands of other students up and down the country in the same position as you, so you’re not alone.
As a teenager, you have your whole life to build a career you love. Missing out of the GCSE grades you wanted isn’t the end of your ambitions, but the beginning of your new plan.