Thursday 25th August 2022 marks this year's GCSE results day - an important day for many young people who eagerly await to see how well they performed in their summer exams. GCSEs are a benchmark qualification in the UK and open up a number of pathways to the next steps of your journey, whether that be continuing onto A-levels, enroling on an apprenticeship or entering the world of work.
Before and on results day, you will likely feel a range of emotions - nervous, excited, anxious - these are all very normal things to experience before receiving big news. Take a breath, everything will be fine in the end, and if it isn't fine, it isn't the end - you have options! 😊
We've seen thousands of students through the all-important results day, so we've compiled some of the most common questions and answered them below...
Which GCSE subjects are the most important?
The UK generally considers GCSE English, Maths and Science as compulsory subjects for school leavers; in the early stages of your career, you will see these qualifications referenced as entry criteria on many courses, qualifications and job roles that you apply for. Depending on where you studied, you may have also completed additional GCSEs in areas such as Business, History, Geography, Psychology or Sociology. These qualifications will give you the foundational knowledge you need to enrol onto certain A-level or Level 3 apprenticeships which often come with their own subject-specific entry requirements and grade requirements - be sure to check before you apply.
How do GCSE result grades work?
The grading structure for GCSEs ranges from 9-1, with 9 being the highest grade and 1 being the lowest. In order to 'pass' your GCSE, you need a result of 4 or higher; grade 4 represents a 'standard pass' and grade 5 represents a 'strong pass'. Some people understand GCSE results through the old grading structure of A* to G, with A* being the highest grade and G being the lowest. In both grading structures, 'U' represents 'ungraded' or 'unclassified' where no certificate or qualification can be awarded.
What happens if I don't get the GCSE results I was hoping for?
The pandemic has had unprecedented impacts on the world, including on students taking GCSE or A-level exams in the past couple of years. With rocky study timetables, closed schools, absent teachers and deferred exams, it's understandable that some students' grades may not represent the best of their abilities.
In line with government legislation, if a student hasn't 'passed' GSCE English and Maths with a grade 4 or above (C or above) then they will have to retake the exam until they do pass, or until they turn 18 years old when it becomes optional. Oxbridge recommends acquiring English and Maths at GCSE level as it is the general expected level of qualification for most job and study opportunities.
If you feel like you could have done more to get a better result, resitting an exam is always an option. Exam results are important for getting into universities, applying for jobs, apprenticeships and getting onto A -level courses. GCSE English and GCSE Maths can be retaken in November and the other GCSE courses can be retaken the following summer. Most schools and colleges will let you resit your GCSE qualifications alongside your other courses, so there's no need to delay your future plans!
How many GCSEs do I need?
Depending on what you want to do next, there will be related entry requirements that you need to meet. Typically, students who want to progress onto Further Education need to have at least five GCSEs at grade 4 / C or above. Check the enrolment or application page for the qualification, job or apprenticeship that you want to apply for and ensure you have the necessary qualifications and grades to be accepted. If you don't meet the standard entry requirements listed on the website, give the institution a call as sometimes there's flexibility around what you need to get in.
What are my 'next step' options?
Congratulations on getting to this point, we know it took a lot of hard work to get here. Whether you achieved your desired grades or not, don't worry - you have options! See some of our suggestions below:
Try another college or school! You're not restricted to retaking your exams or continuing your education with the institution you're with currently - find another option and see if they will accommodate what you need. Studying somewhere different allows for a broader option of courses and new experiences. Distance learning has become increasingly popular in recent years for its flexibility, affordability and accessibility to students. Oxbridge enrols students all year round, speak to one of our friendly learning advisers today to see how we can help you.
Apprenticeships are a great way to gain entry into a workplace or industry whilst still studying. Work experience makes a great addition to any CV and comes highly favoured by employers. Most apprenticeships offer some form of salary, meaning you can earn and learn at the same time! Find out more about apprenticeships.
Getting a job straight away is the preferred option for some students. Once you have a role in a certain job or career, you can climb the ladder internally. Before choosing this option, do your research so you know how far you could progress without further qualifications. There's always the option to study alongside the role, at a time that suits you i.e. evenings and weekends. We have supported many students during their climb to success! Take a look at our success stories and wide range of courses to see and see how Oxbridge might fit into your journey.
Whichever option you choose, we know it will work out in the end - Oxbridge wishes you the best of luck! #LearningWithoutLimits