GCSE Results Day 2021
GCSE results day always comes around faster than you might think – and the grades 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 date is GCSE results day?
This year, GCSE results are out on Thursday 12 August 2021 in England and Wales. In Scotland, National 5 results day is 10 August 2021.
Although formal GCSE exams have been cancelled in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, results will now be based on predicted grades that should be formalised by the end of July.
For updates on how Coronavirus is impacting GCSEs this year, please see our dedicated Coronavirus & exam results section.
When should I collect my results?
Students can collect their results from school or college in the morning, usually from around 10am.
We advise you bring any acceptance letters and contact details for any sixth form or college that you’re interested in attending, along with some form of ID.
If you are unable to collect your results in person, you can request in advance to receive them via email, which will be available from 8am.
To receive your results via email, talk to your school or college.
Do I need to take anything with me?
Depending on the results you get, you may need to do some ringing around, so your mobile phone is essential (make sure it's fully charged!).
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 try not to forget your phone!
What should I do when I get my 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.
You may be with a group of friends who will all want to compare results, but if you can, you should take 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.
Five minutes on your own is a great idea here.
What do the new grades mean?
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 if I got the results I was expecting?
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.
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 do I do if my results are not as I expected?
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 happens if my marks are really 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.
If you found that sitting and learning in a classroom bored you, then it is something to investigate.
Can I get my papers remarked?
This year, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, formal, final exams have been abandoned in favour of a grade based on prior attainment, of both you, and your school. As a result, this may mean that you feel you could have acheived a better grade had you taken the exam, and may wish for the finalised grade to be reconsidered.
The process for this hasn't been finalised but further information is expected to follow soon.
Normally, if your results were not what you were hoping for, you can request that the exam board completes a priority remark.
If you don't have a college or sixth-form place pending, then you can request a copy of the marked paper, or a clerical check, or a review of marking.
You can get in touch with appropriate exam boards using the following links:
What happens during my exam review?
A review is sometimes called a “re-mark”. When reviewing any exam, the board must arrange for a reviewer to consider whether the original marker made any errors.
If the reviewer finds a marking error, the reviewer’s mark will replace the original mark and the exam board must change the grade if necessary.
Any new mark and grade awarded after the review could be higher or lower than that originally given. If the reviewer does not find a marking error, the original mark must not be changed.
What do exam boards charge?
Exam boards can charge a fee for reviewing papers and for considering an appeal.
They have to publish the fees they charge and be clear about any circumstances in which they will not charge (for example, some boards won’t charge if the review results in a grade change).
What happens if I need to retake an exam?
Current arrangements for resits are being developed. Check with your school or college for exact resit options for your specific subject as these will be different for each examining group.
If you got the results you were aiming for, well done! If you didn’t, try not to 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!
For more tips and advice on GCSEs, please see: