The day you go to pick up your GCSE results is almost here, you’ll finally find out what grades you’re getting and be able to make plans for what you’ll be doing after the summer, whether that’s heading to college, staying on at 6th firm, or starting an apprenticeship.

This year the all-important date is Thursday 23 August 2018, when you’ll be able to head into school to see if all those study sessions, practice papers, and revision has gotten you the grades you’d hoped for. Usually, you’ll be able to pick up your results from school in the morning, although the exact time varies, or, if you’re not able to pick them up, get them posted to you.

So, you’ve opened up your envelope with all your results inside, called your parents, and chatted with your friends – now what do you do?

If you’ve met the grades you expected to get to continue with your plans, you shouldn’t need to do anything at all. You’ll be able to carry on in your education or apprenticeship that you’d decided on.

But if you’re disappointed with your results, there are some steps you need to take. The first thing to do is not to panic. Remember there are lots of different options moving forward and there will be plenty of people in the same boat as you. Your GCSE grades aren’t the be all and end all; you may even still be able to go to the college you’d planned.

Next, take these steps:

  • Talk to your teachers – As soon as possible have a chat with your teacher, many of them are likely to be there as you pick up your results. They’ll be able to talk through your different options, such as resitting an exam, appealing the grade, or finding an alternative route to your goal.
  • Speak to your chosen college – If your grades are lower than the minimum entry for the college course you’ve applied to, speak to the education establishment. It may be that they’ll still let you in, offer an alternative course, or have a clearing process. Understanding where the college stands on your results lets you make the right decision for you.
  • Decide whether to resit – In some cases, while you may not have gotten the grade you had hoped for, it’s not worth sitting the exam. While you might have hoped to scrape a level 8 but instead got a seven, if you’ve still secured your college or apprenticeship place, it’s best to focus on the future. On the other hand, if it has affected your plans, resitting the exam in November or May could be the best option, view it just putting your plans on hold for a year.
  • Look at alternatives – You might not be able to take the route that you’d planned but that doesn’t mean that’s it – there are always different options. Look at alternative colleges, different courses that appeal to you, and other options open. You may even find that in the long run, it’s better.