Your guide to GCSE results day
GCSE results are released on Thursday, 20 August 2020. While schools get them the day before, students can collect their results on the Thursday morning, usually at about 10am depending on your school.
If you're collecting your grades on this day, it will probably be the first time you've ever picked up formal exam results.
The grades you get can help you progress onto A-levels or whatever further study you choose, so there's no getting away from the fact that it can be a stressful day. But it's important to stay as relaxed as possible ahead of GCSE results day, so focus on enjoying yourself over summer.
Read our guide on how to calm your GCSE results day nerves.
If you've taken maths and English resits, your results will come out on Thursday January 16, 2020.
Staying calm for GCSE results day
If you're feeling anxious about results day, focus on looking after yourself – especially in the few days before. Whenever you start to feel stressed, get some exercise to help clear your head. It doesn't have to be a massive gym session. A quick jog or a brisk walk will do the job.
Be mindful of what you're eating as well. Steer clear of junk food and aim for healthy food such as nuts and veggies. It will help keep your blood sugar levels on an even keel and give you a more positive mindset.
With the school or college routine quickly becoming a distant memory, late nights can easily become the order of the day. But it's no fun feeling half-asleep on a day when you really need your wits about you. Try to get some early nights in the run-up to results day, so your sleep pattern gets back to normal in time for the big day and the new academic year.
Preparing on GCSE results day morning
When the day arrives, make sure you pack your mobile phone so you can give your parents a call after getting your results.
TSR tip: As you reveal your results to them, read the grades from lowest to highest.
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.
Deciding where to open your GCSE results
Imagine your best and worst case scenario, and think about whether you're happy to experience whatever 'success' or 'failure' means to you on your own or with friends.
Some students nip off to a toilet cubicle to open their results, others rip them open in front of their friends and teachers. Everyone's different, so make sure you're 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.
You might find there's a photographer from the local newspaper wanting to get snaps of celebrating (and commiserating) students. If you're camera shy and private, you might want to avoid the hustle and bustle. If not, go and get your face in the paper!
More useful links
If you haven't 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 roughly equivalent to an old C and 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 if you find you haven't passed one or both of them 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 haven't got the grades you need 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 a number of 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.
What are retakes and reviews of marking?
Retaking exams or getting your paper reviewed are two methods to potentially improve a GCSE grade you're not happy with.
In the past, it used to be that you could retake only one modular exam. However, this will no longer be the case due to the new 100% terminal rule. The new terminal rule states that to get a certificate in a subject you must take all the exams in one sitting.
This means that, if you retake, you have to retake all the units in the next exam season in order to be awarded a new grade.
You can retake English and Maths GCSE in November but will have to wait until the next summer to resit any other GCSEs.
A common question asked is, 'Which retake mark will count?' Due to the new terminal rule, you will receive more than one certificate and so will be perfectly entitled to say that you achieved whatever your highest grade was in the subject.
But you will have to declare all marks to universities via UCAS as you will need to declare all certificates.
Reviews of marking are available for a short period of time after you have received your results – but please note that once you have received a grade from a review, it is final. Your original grade will not count, even if it is higher.
Should you choose a retake or a review?
Whether or not you apply for a review of marking or to be entered for retake should depend on a number of different factors.
Opting for a review is costly and may result in your mark going down as well as up. Also, the way reviews now operate means that marks will only be adjusted if there is a 'significant error' by the original marker.
Because of this, reviews are best used when you feel you did much better in the exam than your mark suggests. The best advice is to discuss your options with your subject teacher who will be able to give you the best advice.
Here are a few possible scenarios below along with the suggested actions:
- I didn't perform as well as I could have done in my exams due to outside circumstances
A retake is likely to be the best option for you, providing you feel that studying for the exam would not have a negative impact upon any other studies.
- I found my original exam extremely difficult, and I didn't understand the content very well
In this case it is especially important to speak to your subject teacher. They may advise you to focus on your other exams rather than retaking or they may be able to offer you extra sessions to prepare you for a resit.
Paying for retakes and reviews
You usually have to pay a fee to either retake an exam or to have your paper reviewed, although your centre may choose to pay these fees for you. The cost of retaking or reviewing is dependent on the exam board in question, so you should speak to your examinations officer to make sure you have all of the information you need. You can find further information about fees direct from the exam boards at the following links:
Further information on post-results services
The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) has published its guide to post-results services. It contains comprehensive information on the possible actions that can be taken once you have received your results and can be found on the JCQ post-results services page.
If you have any questions that have not been answered in this guide, please ask in the GCSEs forum where you should find your answers. Good luck!
If you don't think further education is for you
Not sure you fancy going into further education? If you decide to take an alternative route, there are a number of different options for you to explore.
You might do a vocational course (such as construction, childcare or engineering) rather than completing A-levels. Alternatively, you may want to go straight into the world of work and get an apprenticeship or seek employment.
Here is our guide to all of the post-GCSE routes and options, from academic to vocational and occupational qualifications.
You can get some great advice on Apprenticeships and Careers and Employment in the forums.
How much do GCSE grades matter?
Collecting your GCSE results is a nerve-wracking time; you'll probably find yourself surrounded by grinning mates 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. English and maths aside, 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 your results went well... Congratulations! It's time to celebrate, relax and plan for what comes next. Either way, good luck on GCSE results day.