If you're collecting your GCSE results on Thursday 23 August 2018, the date will probably mark the first time you've ever picked up formal exam results.
The grades you get will provide you with important qualifications and help you progress onto A-levels or further study. There's no getting away from the fact that it can be a stressful day so it's good to be as relaxed and ready as you can.
Staying calm for GCSE results day
If you're feeling anxious about results day, try to look after yourself in the days before. When you're feeling stressed, getting some exercise can help clear your head. It doesn't have to be a massive gym session - just a quick jog or a brisk walk will do the job.
Look out for 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 keep your head clear.
With the school routine 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.
How to prepare for GCSE results day
On the day, make sure you pack your mobile phone so you can give your parents a call after getting your results.
Pro 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're not running on an empty stomach, grab a bit of breakfast before you head down to school.
Decide where you want 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'll want to avoid the hustle and bustle. If not, go out and get your face in the paper!
Your GCSE grades and how much they matter
When you first look at your GCSE results, English language and maths are the key qualifications to look out for. In the new grading system a 4 is roughly equivalent to a 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 even ask for higher grades so check carefully.
If you've missed out on the 4 grade, especially if it's by a narrow margin, you might want to consider applying for a remark or retakes.
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People often find there are one or two subjects where their 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 poorer GCSE grades is unlikely to hinder you in the future.
If you've performed generally under your expectations, again you shouldn't worry. If you've managed to get into your courses and sixth form of choice, then it's time to look forward and not to dwell on your results.
And 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.