GCSE results day is a nerve-wracking experience for students after months of anxious waiting over the summer.
Have you got the grades you need for what you want to do next? What happens if you don’t? The important thing to remember is that there’s no need to panic. Whatever your situation, there is always an answer.
To prepare you for whatever happens, we have created a guide on everything you need to know about results day - including what to bring with you, and how to get any papers re-marked.
When is GCSE results day?
GCSE results day is on Thursday 25 August.
What time can I find out my results?
All pupils will be able to collect their results from 8am on August 25.
If you’re unable to go to your school, you can ask to receive your results by post or email. You can also arrange for a relative or friend to pick up your results for you. They will need to take in a signed letter from you and a form of ID for themselves.
What should I bring with me?
Mobile phone (so you can contact family and friends);
A relative or trusted adult for moral support;
A pen, a piece of paper and a calculator - just in case. With so many different grades and numbers to get your head around, results can be confusing;
A camera (for that results day selfie).
What can parents do?
It's not just a nerve-wracking day for students - parents can also feel the pressure. After many days of revision, the mood swings, and the exams themselves, parents are very much part of the day.
According to Bernadette John, the director of the Good Schools Guide, the best thing a parent or guardian can do is accompany their child to school to pick up their results.
"Quite often, children might want to go on their own or with friends. But I would say go with them - and if anything has gone awry, get in and sort it out straight away," she advises.
What is the GCSE grade boundary system?
The numerical system first introduced in 2017 continues this year, with pupils awarded grades from one to nine in each subject.
Scores of 9, 8 and 7 are equivalent to an A* and A, while scores 4 and 5 are equivalent of a C. Meanwhile, a score of 1 is equivalent to a G.
Numerical grades were first used in 2017 for English Literature, English Language and Maths - while other subjects were awarded typical A* to G grades. Another 20 subjects introduced the system in 2018, followed by another 25 in 2019, and all subjects in 2020.
The new grading system was designed by Michael Gove, the former education secretary, as a way to counter grade inflation at the top end.
It was part of a package of reforms which included toughening up syllabuses and axing coursework in many subjects.
In 2021, following the disruption caused by Covid and exams being cancelled, students received grades determined by their teachers.
Mock exams and other work completed as part of a student’s course - such as coursework, essays or in-class tests - were used as evidence for their grades.
Students resumed classes as normal in 2022, meaning that the GCSE exams and results process reverted to pre-pandemic format.
Are remarks possible?
If there is any doubt about the grade awarded, students can ask their schools and colleges to check for administrative errors and mistakes.
So if you think your grade may be wrong, speak to your school as soon as possible and ask them to check for you. The deadline for in-school enquiries about results for GCSEs is Friday, September 3, 2022.
What can I do if I'm still unhappy with my grade?
If you're still unsatisfied after making in-school enquiries, your teachers can submit an appeal to the exam board on your behalf.
Appeals can be made if procedures were not followed properly, the awarding organisation made an administrative error or the school made an unreasonable exercise of academic judgement in the choice of evidence used to support your grades.
The deadline for non-priority exam board appeals is September 17.
If you're still unhappy with the outcome of an appeal, you can contact the Examinations Procedures Review Service (EPRS), which is provided by exam board regulator, Ofqual.
Alternatively, students will also be offered the opportunity to re-sit their exams in the autumn.
On what grounds can I appeal my grade?
There must be a belief that an error has been made, whether this is administrative (for example, an incorrect grade being submitted) or a failure to correctly apply a procedure (such as not following policy or not taking mitigating circumstances into account).
According to guidance from The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) "Requests for appeals on the grounds of academic judgement (unreasonableness) will only be considered by awarding organisations and not by centres” − that is, the centre is only able to check for administrative errors, while allegations of unfairness can only be considered by exam boards.
What do I need to appeal my grade?
Students have the right to certain documentation to support their request for a review. Their school or college must provide them with:
The evidence (coursework or other) on which the student’s grades were based, as well as the associated grades themselves
Information about disruptions to learning that may have had a bearing on the assessed evidence
Information about any circumstances that may have impacted the grade, including mitigating circumstances
How much does appealing a grade cost?
Ordinarily, a student would have to ask their school to apply to and pay an exam board for an appeal; the fee would be refunded if the grade was altered by this process.
How do exam re-sits work?
If you don't achieve at least a grade 4 or 5 (formerly a C) in Maths and English, you won't be able to proceed to A-level.
But re-sits, which take place in the autumn, offer you a chance to rectify this, as well as improving your choice of sixth form institutions, further education and even career choices.
Make sure to check with your school for precise re-sit options.
What if I have to change school for sixth form?
If you missed the grades to get into your chosen sixth form college or school, get in touch with them as soon as possible to find out if they will still accept you.
Even if they won’t take you for the A-levels you wanted to take, they may offer you different subjects instead.
If they still won't offer you a place, take a look at other institutions with lower entry requirements.
What support is available if I don't get my desired grades?
Even before Results Day, research from online tutoring group MyTutor has indicated that nearly 5 million parents in the UK reported their children feeling more anxious than they’d ever been. For many, whose results aren’t what they’d hoped or expected, these feelings aren’t likely to diminish. Organisations, such as children’s charity NSPCC and its helpline Childline, are there to listen.
Additionally − although it’s easier said than done − try not to panic. Also easier said than done is stepping away from social media, which, inevitably, will be awash with accounts of joy, despair and ire - all of which are guaranteed to exacerbate your own feelings.
Try as well, to avoid comparing yourself with others. Consider what you can do with the grades you have achieved - and, make no mistake, they are an achievement.
This article is kept updated with the latest information.