The finale to years of hard work and high expectations for 16 year-olds across the country is nearly here.
As GCSE results day approaches, teenagers are anxious to finally find out if it was all worth it.
A roller-coaster of emotions
Results day is often full of emotions, from delight to disappointment, for both students and teachers who can also face huge pressure if their next step is heavily reliant on results – and then there are parents’ expectations to live up to, too.
Here is a handy guide for those getting their GCSE results.
Before you get your GCSE results – plan your day
This will be your first time back at school for a few weeks.
The summer holidays could have made late nights and late mornings the norm, so perhaps get to bed at a decent time on the 21st.
Maybe plan what you’ll wear, and make sure you have something nutritious for breakfast.
How will you get to school? If you’re going with your parents or friends, plan what time you’ll leave. Leaving things to chance on the morning of your results can cause yet another layer of anxiety. Make sure you’re in control.
Decisions about the day
Decide who you would like to be there when you read your results and where you want to open them.
Some students like to open them with family or friends for support. Others may want to look at their results on their own, to process the information before dealing with the reactions of others. Make sure you communicate to others what you want to do.
If you want to open the results on your own, you may be tempted to take your envelope home, but try to open that dreaded envelope while still at school if you can; You’ll get instant support and advice from teachers and careers advisers if your results impact your future plans.
So, the moment of truth has passed and you have your grades in front of you.
Most people have a good idea of what they’re going to get. There may be some pleasant surprises or some disappointments, or it may go drastically wrong.
The trick is not to panic, take a deep breath and give yourself the headspace to understand what this combination of letters and numbers actually means for your next step.
Appreciate your hard work
You will probably already know the entry requirements of the course you’ve applied for either at college, sixth form, or as an apprentice.
Have you met these requirements? If yes, then don’t worry if the grades are a little lower than you wanted. You’ve got onto your course. Celebrate!
You’re not on your own
If your grades don’t hit the requirements, try to get in touch with the college or sixth form as soon as you can.
There may be representatives at your GCSE results day, or many of them hold a GCSE advice day the following day to respond to any issues. Your teachers will help you to organise this – you’re not on your own.
You will not be the only person who hasn’t hit the entry requirements. This is something they are used to talking to students about, so don’t be shy.
Still don’t panic
If the option you’ve planned is no longer available to you, don’t panic. It’s disappointing if your heart is set on something, but there are lots of other things you can do.
There may be other, similar courses you haven’t considered which accept a lower entry-level. You may be able to do your course at Level 2 rather than at Level 3; this way you can ease your way in and work your way up, an extra year won’t be all that bad.
Keep your eye on the prize
If you’re taking steps to get to university and have a particular subject in mind, it’s worth looking at their entry requirements now.
You might be able to rethink your next course of action, such as swapping an academic A-level to a vocational BTEC or vice-versa or, you may want to rethink your university subject completely – you have plenty of time.
You may like the look of the many interesting apprenticeship schemes available to school leavers if you decide you want to enter the workplace. Just try to keep an open mind.
Remember, if you don’t pass English or maths GCSEs, you will have a chance to retake them, whether you go to sixth form, college or do an apprenticeship.
Your further education provider will help you to pass as part of your next qualification, so don’t worry, you’ll get there.
Breathe, relax. It’s over!
Make sure you take time to celebrate your successes.
Results days are a difficult and extremely stressful time, and you got through them. Take pride in yourself and enjoy the sense of achievement.
This is a time for new beginnings, there is life after GCSEs.