Good luck to all those awaiting GCSE results this Thursday! Photograph: Fingers crossed! Pete via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Good luck to all of you waiting in anticipation for your GCSE results this Thursday (23rd August). You can choose to receive them in the post or via text or e-mail, but you can also go into school to receive them and share the day with your friends. Check when your school will be open for you to collect them.
If you are going to school to collect your results, remember to bring a notepad and pen; the contact details of the college you are hoping to attend; and make sure your phone is fully charged in case you need to contact anyone.
If you’ve done well and obtained the results you needed for a place at college or an apprenticeship, congratulations! If you have an offer of employment training or an Apprenticeship, it’s a good idea to confirm this place once you’ve received your GCSEs.
However, don't worry, it’s not the end of the world if your results aren’t what you expected or hoped for, and there are plenty of opportunities to build on them. If you’ve not received the place needed for college call them up and ask them for their advice. They’ll be able to offer you a range of options, whether it be flexibility with the offer they gave you, retaking a couple of your GCSEs along with your course to get you up to scratch, or switching to an alternative course. Your teachers may be able to give you advice regarding this as well.
If you’ve not gained a Grade C in English Language or Maths it’s now a requirement for you to retake both of these until you obtain a Grade C. It is often the case the colleges offer classes to prepare you to retake these GCSEs, with the first retakes available in November, so again check with the college you are looking to attend to clarify this. If you’re attending a school sixth form and these retake classes aren’t available, check with local colleges to see whether they offer additional courses.
Getting your GCSEs remarked
If one or more of your results are unexpected and you think there might have been an error with the marking of your exam paper you can apply for a remark. Requests for remarking have to be done through your school, while there is a fee for this service which is reimbursed if the grade is changed.
If you do want a remark, speak to one of your teachers - your form teacher or your subject teacher. They can request a copy of your marked paper to see if an enquiry about results (EAR) is appropriate. If they do, they can then ask to obtain a review of marking or moderation or to request a remark. Make sure you do this as soon as possible after receiving your results as there are deadlines involved and fees for remarking.
Once remarked, your score could go down as well as up, and the remark score is final, so be sure that a remark is the route you want to go down. It can be a risky approach, especially if you’re just a few marks above a grade boundary. As the more subjective a subject is the more likely the remark result could be different, check with a suitable teacher to see whether this would be a good idea.
Retaking your GCSEs
If you’re not happy with some or one of your GCSE results, they are not English or maths, and you’re not having them remarked you can look into retaking them.
If you did well in most of your subjects, you don’t really need the subject to take it onto A-level, and it’s not a core subject (Maths, English or Science), it’s fairly pointless to take the time to increase your grade - if you are looking to apply to university they will look at your GCSEs (they generally like to have achieved Cs or above), but will be more interested in the range of subjects you took and your overall achievements, rather than be bogged down by one single result.
Speak to your teachers to see whether they think you should retake a subject - they may say that they know you could have achieved better and you might feel the same. If you think you can put in the time and effort then by all means go for it. Remember that you’ll have other qualifications to work for at the same time, for example your A-levels or BTECs, and you don’t want to put too much strain on your workload and fall behind with these.
You don’t have to take lessons in the GCSE you are going to retake over again, instead you can just enter yourself as an External Candidate. You will probably be able to do this at your college, however if they don’t offer this you can ask your old school.
As GCSEs are now all linear, you will only be able to retake in the summer (apart from Maths and English). In this way, you’ll also have to retake all the units of the course to be awarded with a new GCSE certificate in that subject. This means that retaking a subject requires a fair amount of revision, especially if you've not looked at the material for a year, and have other exams at the same time.