What to Expect on GCSE Results Day

You may be wondering...

  • What do you do on the eve of GCSE results day?
  • What do you carry with you on the day?
  • How do GCSE grades work?
  • What do you do if you don't get the grades you wanted?
  • Can you retake GCSEs?
  • How do you resit a GCSE?
  • What's next after passing your GCSE?

On top of all these questions, many students will be worrying "Will the hard work pay off? What if you didn't do as well as expected?" It's natural for them to feel nervous, but it will be okay!

Here are a few tips to help ease a student's mind - take a look, and I wish you all good luck on results day!

What To Do on the Eve of GCSE Results Day?

As a parent, you might want to prepare breakfast for everyone and offer some cheerful conversation about what they achieved this year at school. It's good for students to have some positive thoughts and highlights in their minds to ease any nerves.

It can be a good idea to plan some activities for afterwards that the whole family can enjoy, such as going out to eat, an outdoor activity or getting together with friends.

You might want to prepare emotionally by talking about your own experiences of receiving GCSE or O-Level results and what kind of feelings you felt then.

When the day arrives, you may want to leave your children or students some space and time on their own first. Then, you can support them by checking in with them later about how they're feeling - there's no right or wrong way of reacting, so it is best just to listen, to begin with.

Suppose your child or student is feeling anxious. In that case, it might be a good idea to ask them what they're worried about and whether there's anything specific - such as not getting into their desired university course - that may be causing them stress in the lead-up to results day. You can also offer some advice on how to cope with these feelings.

What To Carry With You on the Day?

Firstly, don’t forget about breakfast! If time permits, make sure that they have something to eat beforehand—it will help prepare for any long waits and hunger pangs in the waiting room.

Secondly, just as they would for any other occasion, it's worth it for students to carry a few essentials with you on the day. A charged mobile phone, backpack, pen, paper/notebook and plastic wallet to keep the results slips safe is a good start.

Make sure that your school gives the results slip in advance so if there are any problems, they can sort them out straight away—it could save hours of stress and worry. 

Don't forget to carry that pen with them and keep it close. If the results slip is lost or misplaced, then the person presenting can write down what grade they need from each student.

How Do GCSE Grades Work?

GCSEs nowadays do not use the grading system that parents may be familiar with. The new numbers-based system offers more specific grading brackets so that your final grade is more accurate to your performance throughout the year. 

They are now numbered 1-9 with 9 being the highest achievement possible.

What to Do if You Don't Get the Grades You Wanted?

The first thing to do is not panic. Everyone tends to feel this way at some point, even teachers and parents. Instead, whether it's the student or parent - try to take a deep breath and calm yourself down.

However important it may feel to you now, it is not the end of the world. Writing down what you're feeling can also help calm you down in times of heightened emotions.

We have a full student guide on what to do if you fail your final summer exams here. It goes through all of the options including how to retake exams and some tips to help recover from a disappointing day. You will go on to see better times ahead, so don't despair!

If students don't want to retake their exams, there are other options available that might be suitable. They could:

  • Go to a sixth form or college and enrol in a course that is at the right level of difficulty for your GCSE.
  • Get an apprenticeship or traineeship programme

Can You Retake a GCSE?

One of the main questions on GCSE Results Day is whether you can retake your exams.

If students have done significantly worse in one subject than the others, it may be worth retaking that exam to get a higher grade and boost your overall mark. It won't impact your studies too much to do this if it is important to your further education.

You cannot retake an entire set of GCSEs as this would be far too much work while also completing your next level of study. However, you can do repeated tries on individual subjects. 

Most GCSE subjects require resits to be taken the following summer. Maths & English usually have resits that take place in the Autumn term, so by results day it’s already time to start thinking about revising for those. 

Remember, help from a tutor can accelerate your learning and give you the best chase of nailing it this time around.

How to Resit for a GCSE

In the UK, people take GCSEs at age 15-16. However, if you feel the exam came back with terrible results, and you didn't try as hard as possible in some subjects, then there is an option to resit them. A lot of people think that they don't have this opportunity, but it's not true.

You can resit for a GCSE up until you have left school or higher education. If needed, most people will do this as soon as possible so that the content is still fresh in their minds.

It's important to remember that if you are considering resitting, remember the amount of work required to take a GCSE and ask yourself if you're willing to put in that work next year - alongside your future studies.

In 2022, the pass rate for resits for GCSEs was just 20% - showing how important it is to really consider your commitment to a retake.

Once your exam paper has been released for review, it can be worth hiring a GCSE tutor to go through it with you and identify your areas of weakness.

From there, you can write down your weakest topics from the year and get some 1:1 private tuition in these areas. This can really help boost your confidence through the guidance of a personal tutor and help you feel confident when resitting.

What's Next After Passing Your GCSE?

The best thing to do after passing any exam is to take a deep breath and relax.

That's not to say there isn't work ahead! Quite the opposite. Your options are about to widen out considerably! So here are some tips for what to do next.

  • Set goals - It's worth thinking about what the next step is for you after these exams; it could be staying at school or looking for colleges that specialise in the subject you are looking for.
  • Celebrate - It's been a long time coming, but you've done it! Congratulations and enjoy the occasion.

Author's profile picture

Russell Kilgour

21st July

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