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2019 GCSE Results Day Guide

This year, GCSE results are out on Thursday 22nd August 2019. Most students across the country will have breathed a sigh of relief in June when all of the GCSE exams finally came to an end.

For many, this meant the start of a number of stress-free weeks, where they were simply able to enjoy doing nothing, something that was certainly welcomed after months – if not years – of revision for the exams.

However, GCSE results day always comes around faster than you might think – and the results that you get will at least in the short term shape what you can and can’t do.

It is vital that you know what you’re doing on results day, as you don’t want the excitement to take over. This guide will tell you everything that you need to know to make the most of the big day itself.

What you should take with you

Depending on the results you get, you may need to do some ringing around, so your mobile phone is essential.

You should also take a pen and paper to jot down any key information that you need.

If you have applied for a course that has requirements relating to a points system you may also need to take a calculator, too, as you will need to work out whether you’ve done enough to gain your place! If you’ve done well, you will probably also want to take lots of photos with your friends – so make sure your phone is fully charged.

How to read your results

When you first get hold of the envelope, you may feel a moment of panic. After all, the information inside the envelope could well make a huge difference to your future. However, it’s important to keep a clear head here.

You may be with a group of friends who will all want to compare results, but if you can, you should your envelope into a quiet corner and read through them first – on your own.

Read through each line slowly, and ensure that you are interpreting the information correctly. It can be tempting to skim-read your results, however this can cause mistakes when reading, which can be heart-breaking to discover further down the line.

A minute or so on your own is a great idea here.

What do the new grades mean for you?

Unfortunately, it’s no longer as simple as having A*-U grades.

The new numerical system instead uses numbers from 9-1 (highest to lowest, with a U grade for marks that were too low to be classified), and it is vital to know where the old grades would fit. To put it simply, an A* is in the middle of new grades 8 and 9, a 7 is an A, and a 4 is a grade C.

Knowing these benchmarks should help to give you an idea of what the new grades really mean. 2017 brought the start of the new Maths and English gradings, while 2018 brought Science to the same level.

Other courses will follow in the future – but by that time, it is certain that more people will have got to grips with the grading system.

What to do if your grades are good

If you have reached the grades that you were hoping for, then the first thing you will want to do is celebrate.

However, you will need to think about more practical things first, and decide on your next step. If your grades are what you hoped for, then it is probably as simple as confirming a place on a course or at college. If you haven’t thought about what you would like to do, then the good news is that there are lots of doors open to you if you have good grades.

A levels are a good choice, but there are lots of other options that may allow you to work alongside studies if you would prefer. These include apprenticeships, vocational qualifications, taking a Gap Year, starting your own business, and even joining the Army!

But there’s no need to decide for sure on that day – the world is your oyster, so take a little time to think.

What to do if your grades weren’t as good as you were expecting

It can be incredibly frustrating to open your envelope and find that you haven’t got what you were hoping for – particularly if you studied hard.

However, this doesn’t mean that all is lost. Although you will have been given a list of requirements needed to make the next stage of your education, there is always some leeway.

If lots of people didn’t make their grades, or if some people decided not to take their place, then your grades may still be good enough to allow you entry.

It is always worth getting in touch with where you have applied to and asking whether you could still study there, as you may be pleasantly surprised. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!

What to do if your grades are poor

Not everyone is academic – and GCSE exams do favour those who are. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t options for those who didn’t perform well.

There are many vocational courses available at local colleges that teach you useful skills – and in many ways it is a better way to secure future employment, as an apprenticeship for example often leads directly into a job. You may also wish to consider a career in the Army or setting up your own business.

You may never have studied in this way before, but there is a chance that it might suit you. Everyone has their niche, and a vocational course such as a BTEC or NVQ could be yours.

If you found that sitting and learning in a classroom bored you, then it is something to investigate.


If you got the results you were aiming for, well done! If you didn’t, don’t panic.

It’s not the end of the world, and there are options open to you. It may not have been the path you’d planned to go down, but down every new path there are doors to open – and you might even find that you have a skill that you didn’t even know about.

So simply try to stay open minded and see what’s available for you. Talk to your teachers, career advisor, friends and family for advice before taking your next steps, and remember that there is a path for everyone!