Opening the ominous brown envelope on GCSE results day is already nerve-wracking enough, but the day can seem much worse if the grades aren’t what you were hoping for. Here is what you can do if you don’t get the results you wanted.
Students will find out how they fared this morning (Thursday, August 22).
It means many will embark on the world of work for the first time – while others will stay at school as they pursue A-Levels.
Most people will be able to collect their results from their school or college, although it is best to check what time you’ll be able to head down to grab that envelope.
Students can also get their results in the post if they are unable to get them in person.
There is also the new grading system which was put in place by the Government last year.
This has changed grades from A* to G with a numerical 9 to 1 system.
9 is the top grade and 1 is the lowest grade, with failures still being known as a U.
The top two marks of A and A* are now a grade of 7, 8 or 9.
Lower grades such as D, E, F and G are the equivalent of 1, 2 or 3.
But if you feel disappointed with your results, there are still other options out there as you take the next step in life.
What to do if you don’t get the results you wanted
Firstly, your teachers will be on hand during results day to provide help and support.
They will be able to advise you on different options, such as appealing your grade, taking a resit exam or finding an alternative college or sixth form to attend.
If you decide to appeal, you need to submit this to your head teacher and your exam paper will go through a process known as a “review of marking”.
However, be warned this could make your GCSE grade go down further rather than up, so only appeal if you are sure there is a mistake.
If your grades are too low to get into your chosen sixth form or college, it may still be worth getting in touch to see if they may still offer you a place.
They may even allow you to transfer to a similar course or provide information on other colleges.
English language and maths retakes will be held in November 2019.
For other subjects the earliest available time to resit would be June 2020, but check with the school as this varies.
You can’t just retake the exam that you didn’t do well in – you have to retake all the exams that are part of that specific subject.
When will the GCSE grade boundaries be released?
These are released from 6am on results day itself – August 22.
The boundaries are published separately by individual exam boards, and will be found on their websites below:
Do I have to pay to retake my GCSEs?
Parents will most likely have to fork out for their child to take the test again.
The cost depends on the exam board but they are usually around £35 per GCSE and it will be more expensive for those who require extra resources.
However, some schools will pay for a teen to retake an exam.
The Exam Results Helpline, delivered by the National Careers Service will be available from August 14 to provide additional support to students (and their parents) as they receive their exam results.
The helpline will be available on 0800 100 900 from 8am to 10pm, 7 days a week. Calls are free from landlines and most mobile numbers.
“There are many routes to kickstart a successful career, whether that’s taking A-Levels, going to college, choosing an apprenticeship or getting a job,” explained John Cope, at the confederation of British industry.
“Getting the right careers advice is key. So while A-Levels absolutely offer students a great next step, they are by no means the only route to a higher-level education.”
To help, we’ve narrowed down your options below – including how to apply for a position if you choose against A-Levels.
What should I do?
This really boils down to whether you’re ready to start earning, or whether you want to continue learning and eventually start university.
Some people may also choose to continue in education until they reach 18 when they can start a higher apprenticeship that pays higher wages.
Apprenticeships combine work with education and allow you to earn as you study on the job.
They offer a wage (a minimum of £3.90 an hour) while also allowing you to build up your specialist knowledge in the sector you want to work in.
Thousands of firms offer them from nurseries to media companies and engineering firms. It’s not uncommon to be offered a job at the end of your term too (usually 1-5 years) – which can help you get your foot through the door.
It’s important to also know that apprenticeships have equivalent educational levels.
An Intermediate Level 2 apprenticeship is for those who’ve just completed their GCSEs while an Advanced Level 3 position is equivalent to gaining A-Levels.
Anything higher than 4, is equivalent to a university course, be it a foundation, Bachelor’s or Master’s degree.
In 2014/15, 499,900 students started an apprenticeship in England, 59,500 more than the previous year and the number is rising.
To apply for an apprenticeship, you’ll need to be:
- 16 or over by the end of the Summer holidays
- living in England
- not in full-time education
Apply for an apprenticeship
There are 3 steps to applying for an apprenticeship.
- Search for an apprenticeship
- Sign in or create an account
- Complete and submit your application
I’m not ready to start work – what can I do instead?
If you’ve not built up enough experience or feel you aren’t prepared for the commitment of full time employment just yet, you may want to consider a traineeship instead.
This is a course with work experience that gets you ready for work or an apprenticeship. It can start at anything from six weeks and last up to 6 months. You can apply at any point between the ages of 16 and 24.
They aren’t paid (though food and travel expenses tend to be covered) however they can be hugely advantageous for building up your CV in fields such as engineering and finance while also providing you with extra support with English and maths.
The next step up from a traineeship is often an apprenticeship or the chance to apply for a suitable position at the company. You can also use them as your main reference for your next job.
Apply for a traineeship
You can log in if you have an account.
What about BTECs?
BTEC stands for the Business and Technology Education Council.
More than a million young people each year choose to pursue a BTEC qualification instead of A-Levels.
These are specialist work-related qualifications and 2,000 of them exist covering sectors from hospitality to childcare, construction and even art and design.
Contrary to belief, BTEC courses are not limited to those who want a career in business.
They’re largely practical courses, rather than theory-led, and are offered at several levels from GCSEs to A-Levels and a degree.
The course involves a series of assignments which can be written or activity-based, for example creating a film clip, planning and putting on a performance, or creating a business plan.
Students who have just completed their GCSEs should look to start a level 3 BTEC. They must have at least five GCSE 9-7 grades, including English language, maths and science.
The highest level 3 BTEC available, the Extended Diploma, is the equivalent of three A-levels.
NVQ stands for national vocational qualification. These are courses that include practical work-related tasks and are available in more than 1,000 subjects ranging from plumbing to hairdressing – they tend to be offered at colleges.
NVQs don’t have to be completed in a specific amount of time, but most people find it takes about a year to complete an Level 1, 2, or 3. There are five to choose from – and you can start at any point and make your way up.
They’re particularly useful for those who want to get into a job that requires no specific academic qualification – such as a particular course or degree.
It also gives the student a chance to build up some contacts in their field beforehand starting a career.
Help with your CV
Get more CV advice and tips at nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk or call 0800 100 900.