You’re 16. You’re young, you’re cool, you can do things on Snapchat that perplex your mum, and you’ve just spent the last 11 years being told what to do by various teachers and headmasters. But not anymore. Today is GCSE results day, the day that represents your first step away from the rigours of school and on to a life of freedom and semi-adulthood.
Well, that’s not strictly true. You’re still required to be in some form of education or training until you hit 18. Except now, you’ll be able to focus on the subjects or vocations that actually interest you. But before all that, there’s still the minor issue of collecting your grades, opening the envelope and discovering whether or not you crushed your GCSEs.
Here’s a quick cheat sheet of things to do to make collecting your results as smooth as possible.
– Arrive at school early, otherwise you’ll be queuing.
– Try not to compare your grades to those of your friends.
– Even if you get terrible marks, it’s not the end of the world. Seriously.
A few websites we’ve visited have also offered advice along the lines of ‘don’t be on holiday’ and ‘bring your phone’. If you are on holiday, then enjoy the sun because your results will still be there when you get back. As for your phone, we are 100% certain that any 16-year-old going to anything anywhere without their mobile deserves some sort of medal.
Now let’s talk about your grades.
So You Totally Smashed it
Great news. Get ready to memorise your grades, as you’re going to have to rattle them off to every friend, teacher and family member you talk to over the next month. ‘Hey auntie, I got nine A*s seven As and 17 Cs’ and so forth. You’re going on to do exactly what you want to do, be it sixth form or an apprenticeship. And much like an apprentice leaving their master, you probably don’t need any more of this article. Farewell, space cowboy :’)
So You Didn’t Totally Smash it
Do not worry. Chances are, a conversation with the sixth form that you planned to attend will result in you being accepted anyway, possibly with a few caveats, so ask a teacher to put you in touch. If not, these are your options.
It’s 2017, and GCSE students are now required to get at least a C in both maths and english language. If you didn’t make the grade in these subjects, ask your teachers about re-sitting them in November. If you need to re-take any other exams, then talk to your teachers about this, too. We know that you can only re-sit maths and English Language in November, they’ll know when you can re-sit the others.
As you almost certainly will have heard if you’re getting your GCSE results, this year’s exams have been plagued by controversy due to a revised marking system. While most subjects will still be graded from A* to G, english literature, english language, and maths will be marked numerically, with Nine being the best and One the worst.
Basically, it’s really confusing, and could lead to inconsistencies in the final marks. If you think a grade doesn’t reflect your true ability, then there’s never been a better year to request a remark. Again, ask your teacher for advice.
Don’t let your A* slash Eight to Nine brain get cheated by some Two or Three, or C or D grade – yeah whatever – marking.
Alternatives to Sixth Form
If you already plan to forgo sixth form in favour of training, an apprenticeship or a vocational course, then you probably haven’t been fretting too hard over your GCSE grades. But remember, many of these options do require particular marks, so make sure you confirm that you’ve actually been accepted onto your apprenticeship or course once you receive your GCSE results.
If you did plan to go to sixth form, but after seeing your grades you aren’t so sure, then talk to a teacher about the alternatives. In this day and age, skipping A-Levels, university and £30K+ of debt in favour of a trade will probably lead to you owning a home by the time most of your peers are graduating. Possibly.
It’s not helpful for us to tell you ‘it’s going to be fine’ or ‘GCSEs don’t really matter’ when you’re probably in the middle of totally pranging out about them, so we won’t.
All we’ll say is this: if you’re worried about what happens next, talk to your teachers, your parents, or anyone else whose advice you respect. They were once 16, and they’ll probably tell you that you’ve got a lot, like really a lot, of time to figure things out.