A lot of things have changed in GCSE in the past year: the new 9—1 grading scale is in place, top grades are getting harder to achieve and you’ll need to stay in some kind of education or training until you’re 18.
However, one thing is the same: there are a ton of options open to you if you don’t get the results you wanted.
We’ll run through what to do next, whether you’ve failed or just missed out on your expected grades.
Ask for your paper to be remarked
If you believe there’s been a significant mistake in your results, speak to your teachers to arrange remarking. Remember, your grade can go down as well as up, and you’ll need to pay a fee which will only be returned if your grade changes.
The results will be with you within 20 calendar days, or 15 for a priority remark.
In the meantime, your sixth form or college might allow you to start studying with them pending the outcome of your request.
Speak to your sixth form or college
Most sixth forms and colleges require specific grades to get in. If you’ve narrowly missed out on the required marks, speak to them – they might still offer you a place, or allow you to transfer to a different course or subject. They could also recommend other colleges which might suit you.
Resit your GCSEs...
...if you’ve failed Maths or English
If you haven’t achieved a pass (grade 4/C) in GCSE English or Maths, you’ll need to continue studying those subjects until you pass or turn 18.
If you’ve gotten a grade 3/D and are planning on studying full-time (at least 540 hours) next year, you’ll need to resit the GCSE. GCSE retakes for Maths, English Language and English Literature are available in November as long as you turned 16 before 31st August. If not, you can resit in summer next year.
If you’re studying part-time (less than 540 hours) or have gotten below a grade 3, you could study a functional skills qualification instead.
Students on a traineeship are counted as part-time students. Students on apprenticeships have separate but similar regulations and will need to attain Maths and English qualifications during their apprenticeship.
Speak to your school about arranging your resits.
...if you’ve passed Maths or English and want to improve your grade, or would like to resit another subject
You could resit the course in your school, sixth form or college if they allow it – speak to your teachers to find out more.
You could also resit the course online. This would allow you to work at your own pace, in your own time – ideal if you’re studying alongside A Levels, an apprenticeship or work.
Either way, you’ll sit the exams next year (or in November if you prefer for English and Maths) alongside all the other GCSE students in the UK.
Resitting your exams demonstrates that you’re hardworking, motivated and committed to achieving your goals – desirable attributes in the eyes of any employer or university.
Consider an apprenticeship or traineeship
If you feel that academic study isn’t right for you, an apprenticeship or traineeship might be the best route.
Apprenticeships give you a mixture of on- and off-the-job training, allowing you to work in a real job and earn money while achieving an industry-related qualification.
Traineeships involve a work placement and training combined with English and maths study. The work placement is generally unpaid and between 6 weeks and 6 months. You’ll learn useful skills such as how to write a CV, prepare for a job interview, work in a team and plan your time, preparing you perfectly for moving on to full-time work.
Whichever route you choose, you’ll have plenty of support in achieving your goals. You might need to take a different route than the one you originally planned, but you’ll still get there – so don’t panic!
Find out more about retaking your GCSEs online with unlimited tutor support.