GCSE Results Day 2022: 5 things to do if your grades aren’t what you hoped for

GCSE Results Day 2022
It's not the end of the world if your grades aren't what you hoped for on GCSE Results Day 2022. Source: Christophe Archambault/AFP

Are you sitting for your GCSE exams? As it draws to a close, the next item on your agenda would be waiting for GCSE Results Day 2022, which is expected to fall on Aug. 25, 2022.

You, along with thousands of other students across the world will find out if your hardwork and determination spent revising and burning the midnight oil would pay off in the form of getting the grades you desire.

How well you perform in your GCSEs can affect your flexibility and freedom in choosing the course or subjects you wish to take for your post-16 education (whether it be A Level, International Baccalaureate (IB), European Baccalaureate or other related qualifications).

When applying for selective boarding schools or sixth form colleges, students who have attained stellar GCSE results would be preferred for admission.

But what happens if you did not get the grades you were hoping for on GCSE Results Day 2022? Failure to do well could limit the number of colleges available to you.

While it is an undesirable prospect, it’s not the end of the world. There are plenty of alternatives you can consider. Some celebrities, including Lord Alan Sugar, Simon Cowell and Gordon Ramsay, are testament that you don’t have to have the most impressive set of GCSE results to be successful in life. That, however, does not mean that you shouldn’t strive to do your best.

Nevertheless, if you are a candidate for this year’s GCSE exams, here are five alternatives you can consider if you do not achieve your desired GCSE results.

GCSE Results Day 2022: What to do if your results don’t go as planned

Consider having it remarked

You may talk to your school or college counsellor about the possibility of having one or more of your GCSE exam papers remarked if you feel that the examiner did not exercise good judgement when marking your paper.

If you decide to proceed with having it remarked, you will have to file a request through your school. There will be costs incurred with this process, and you will only be entitled to a refund if a change in grade occurs as a result of the remarking procedure. Take note that having your paper remarked could be risky, as your grade could be better or worse upon review.

Pending the outcome of your final GCSE grade(s), certain sixth-form colleges allow you to enrol in their course(s), but you must let them know of your situation beforehand.

Resit your exams

To get into most Key Stage Three courses, most colleges require you to obtain at least a ”C” (grade four or above) in five subjects at the GCSE level, including English or Maths. If you wish to continue your education by doing A Levels, IB, Scottish Highers or Irish Leaving Certificate, many colleges make it a prerequisite for you to obtain at least a “B” grade at GCSE level in specific subjects, particularly for the subjects you wish to take.

You may consider resitting your exams if you have not achieved the grades required for admission in your desired post-16 course. Many universities in the UK tend to look at your GCSE English and Maths results not achieving the minimum grade of four in either subject could hinder your chances of getting student loans once you apply for university. If you have not achieved the required grades, you may opt to take nightly classes in the aforementioned subjects at sixth-form colleges that offer them to help bump up your grades.

GCSE Results Day 2022

Hairdressing is an example of a vocational qualification that students can take as an alternative to traditional post-16 education routes such as A Levels or IB. Source: Tolga Akman/AFP

Consider a vocational qualification

Picking up a trade or opting for vocational education could be a rewarding alternative to going through the traditional qualifications like the A Levels or IB.

In vocational programmes such as the National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) in the UK, you will be trained and tested on your competency in the workplace.

There’s even greater news. If you would like to further your education, many universities accept NVQs as an alternative to A Levels.  If you are a student based outside the UK, you should check with relevant websites for local guidelines and opportunities regarding vocational qualification.

Take up an apprenticeship

If you don’t receive good news about your results on GCSE Results Day 2022, consider taking up an apprenticeship.

It is a great way to gain relevant practical experiences in your chosen industry while studying. In the UK, a typical apprenticeship only requires one day of studying. The other four business days are spent doing practical work.

If you’re a student based outside the UK, scour the internet for local apprenticeship guidelines and opportunities.

Consider volunteer opportunities

If you’re based in the UK, consider enrolling in a voluntary scheme — either through participating in the National Citizen Service, where you could be taught a wide range of skills to improve your employability skills.

If you’re outside the UK, look for volunteer opportunities, as there are plenty of non-profit organisations or ways to get involved with your local community to build your skills and knowledge before deciding on your next course of action.