Thursday 24th August 2023 marks this year's GCSE results day. You'll likely go through all sorts of emotions - nervous, excited, anxious - and have a lot to think about.

We've put together this guide to help you prepare for the big day and understand how it all works.

When do GCSE results come out?

GCSE results are released from 8am on the 24th of August. The time may be later depending on the school or results might be sent by email.

GCSEs come out on 24th August

How do GCSE grades work?

The grading structure for GCSEs ranges from 9-1, with 9 being the highest grade and 1 being the lowest. 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'.

The old grading structure of A* to G, with A* being the highest grade and G being the lowest, was changed following an overhaul in 2014. In both grading structures, 'U' represents 'ungraded' or 'unclassified' where no certificate or qualification can be awarded.

How GCSEs are graded

What do I need to bring on GCSE Results Day?

There will be a lot going on during Results Day. Make sure you have your phone (fully charged) so you can let your family know how you did and a notepad and pen, just in case you need to take down important information.

You may want to bring some form of photo identification. You'll likely get your results from a teacher who knows you, but it is worth having ID with you, just in case.

Have everything ready for Results Day

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 or above.

You may also need a similar number of GCSEs to get onto vocational courses and apprenticeships, depending on the specific requirements of the provider or company offering them.

You need 5 GCSEs to progress to A-level

Which A-levels should I choose after GCSEs?

Taking A-levels is the traditional next step after GCSEs. Depending on your career hopes and whether you're planning to go on to study at university, you will normally choose up to five subjects based on your interests and what you will need to fulfil those hopes.

For instance, if you're looking at working with animals, then Biology will need to be one of those choices. Engineering careers will require Maths and education careers require a combination that includes English, Maths, and a science subject.

Take some time to go through all your options with your tutor, teacher, family members, and friends. Ultimately, however, the choice has to be the right one for your future.

Choose A-levels carefully

What happens if I don't get the GCSE results I was hoping for

If the exam didn't go to plan or you feel you can get a better result with a bit more revision, resitting exams is always an option. It is worth keeping in mind that this will mean taking on extra lessons.

It is important that you speak with your school or college in the first instance if you are unhappy with your grades, as you may be able to have your marks reviewed. Your tutor can also advise on whether resitting is indeed the right option for you.

If you didn't get the required grade 4 in English and Maths, then further study and a resit is compulsory.

Talk to teachers after getting results

Do I have other options?

While A-levels are the natural next step for the majority of students, they are not the only option available to you. GCSEs can also offer a way into apprenticeships and work experience placements, from which you can learn new skills and enhance your employment prospects.

Vocational courses are also worth considering if the results aren't quite what you hoped for. These offer an alternative route to further education or a career, some combine study with practical workplace experience that employers and universities both look on favourably.

You always have options after GCSEs

Learn GCSEs online

If you're looking at retaking your GCSEs or want to add an extra qualification to your CV, online studying with Oxbridge allows you to study to your timetable, in your environment, while still having the support of a personal tutor to guide you at every stage of your learning.

Whatever happens on Results Day, you always have options to get you where you want to be. As Theodore Roosevelt once said, "Believe you can and you’re halfway there".

Good luck!