Your guide to GCSE results day 2012
In less than 24 hours thousands of pupils will find out how they fared in their first set of proper exams, when they receive their GCSE results.
The day marks a crossroads in the lives of many youngsters – for some it will lead them to sixth-form or college, while others will hunt for work or an apprenticeship.
Whether you’re an anxious parent or a student baffled by what your results mean, follow our simple Guide to GCSE Results Day.
On the day
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Your school or college will tell you where and when to collect your results.
If you aren't going to collect your results in person, most establishments ask that you supply a self-addressed envelope to them to send results by post.
AQA can't provide results to you directly: they are always sent to the school or college that entered you for the exams.
On the day, students will receive a printed Candidate Statement of Provisional Results - a results slip - which includes all subjects and units taken, with the grade and UMS score achieved for each.
Examiners work out how many 'raw marks' you need to get a certain grade. If you have taken a GCSE made up of units, your results slip may show a points score on the uniform mark scale (UMS).
The UMS is a system examiners use to combine different unit marks to get your overall GCSE grade. To find out more, click here.
Depending on the exams taken, students can receive either one statement that includes provisional results for all their exams or statements from each awarding organisation (exam board) whose exams they sat.
Your results are provisional to allow time a) to resolve any issues such as pending results (shown as Q) or late award claims, and b) for any changes that might arise from Enquiries about Results (EARs).
You might have an EAR if you are concerned or disappointed by your results. To find out more about EARs, click here.
To find out more about understanding your results, visit the AQA website.
I’m pleased with my results – what now?
Congratulations! Time to celebrate!
Your certificates will be printed and sent to your school or college about three months after results day.
I haven’t done as well as I had hoped – what are my options?
First of all, don’t panic. Many sixth-forms and colleges do expect at least C grades but some schools may take pupils with lower grades, so it's worth giving them a call to check.
Other options include:
- Resitting your exams: Many exams can be retaken later this year or in January 2013, and all can be taken next summer. You also have the option of resitting some GCSEs alongside AS levels or other further education.
Some schools will pay for the retake, others will want you to cover the costs. Speak to your school to find out how much it would cost.
If you do retake, the exam board will always take the highest mark of all the attempts. So even if you do worse in the exam, it won't do any damage to your overall grade.
- Try another school or college: Give another establishment a call and see if they’ll accept you.
- Vocational options: You could take BTECs or OCR nationals. These have lower entry requirements, give you hands-on experience, and some are accepted by universities.
- Apprenticeship: These allow you to work and learn at the same time. You’ll spend some of your time working on the job and also some time learning at college.
How much time is spent in each place will depend on the type of apprenticeship you do.
You’ll be paid a minimum of £95 per week, but many are paid more than this. The average is £170 per week.
- Find a job: There’s a chance you could get on the career ladder now. However, think hard about how far you’ll get without further qualifications. It may be better to retake exams or get alternative qualifications first.
I think there’s been a mistake in my marking – what do I do?
If you’re concerned about your marks, speak to your teacher as soon as possible. The exams officer will be able to make an Enquiry About Results (EAR) if your teacher wishes to take the query further.
Only a school or college can ask for a remark. However, if you want a re-mark and your school doesn’t agree, all exam boards will have procedures in place to help.
The exams officer can also request a copy of the marked paper and help decide if an enquiry is appropriate. If you think there’s an issue, don’t delay in seeking help – there are deadlines for submissions.
Note there may be a charge for these services.
For more help and advice call The Exam Results Helpline on 0808 100 8000.
This is an independent and free service funded by the Department for Education. It opens from August 16 until August 25, and every advisor is fully trained with at least five years’ experience as a professional careers advisor.