You’ve done the study, sat the exams and now it’s results day!
Catherine Sezen from the Association of Colleges is on hand to help with some top tips on how to handle GCSE exam results day and the important decisions that follow:
Confirm your place: You’ve received your results, make sure you contact the college or training provider where you want to study to confirm your place.
Didn’t get the grades? Don’t panic! Talk to your school or local college and ask for advice about all the options out there – there will be a course or training programme that is right for you.
Know your options: Once you’ve asked advice about the options, the choice is yours. At college you could take a technical or professional qualification which may lead directly to the career you are interested in. Colleges offer technical and applied qualifications, such as BTECs, as well as A Levels at Level 3 and qualifications at other levels to meet your individual needs.
Explore apprenticeships: Apprenticeships are a great way to get a paid job and learn your trade at the same time. Many local and national companies now offer apprenticeships. Colleges can help you find the right one for you and you can search for apprenticeships at www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship.
GCSE English and maths: If you didn’t achieve a grade 4 or above in GCSE English and maths, you will retake these subjects alongside any other qualifications you do. Colleges will be able to support you through this.
Understanding the levels language: After GCSEs it seems as if there is a whole new language to learn about qualifications. If you know what they all mean then you’ll be able to understand what you might want to do next:
- Entry level – suitable for students who have gained no GCSEs
- Level 1 – equivalent to at least four GCSEs below grade 4
- Level 2 – equivalent to at least four GCSEs at grade 4 or above
- Level 3 – equivalent to two or three A Levels (depending on size)
You may be offered a 16-18 study programme and this includes:
- a technical or professional qualification or A Levels
- employability skills, such as work experience, CV writing and preparation for interviews
- English and maths, if you do not have a grade 4 or above in these subjects.
And finally, be proud of yourself. Whether you have received the grades you wanted or not, there is something out there that is right for you. You got this far, the key thing now is to know your options, do your research and get advice from reliable sources such as careers advisers. Keep calm, look at all your options, do your research and get as much advice as you can.
Catherine Sezen is Senior Policy Manager at the Association of Colleges (AoC), which is the membership organisation for colleges in England.
She concludes: “This may seem like a really scary time as you are moving on to something new. Choosing the next steps in education and training can seem like a big decision. By staying calm and making sure you have access to information about all the options available to you, you’ll be able to make the best decision for your future.”