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What To Expect On GCSE Results Day

What To Expect On GCSE Results Day

5 min Read|September 27 2023
|Written by:

Dr Rahil Sachak-Patwa


It’s almost the day. All the revision, exam sessions, and all-nighters have come to this – the day you walk into school to collect your GCSE results. It might feel like the end of the world, but GCSE results day doesn’t have to be nerve-wracking.

In this article, we’ll go over all the tips you need to know. Our advice will let you know what to expect on GCSE results day, and how to handle anything the big day throws at you.

The Night Before

The night – or even week – before GCSE results day can be a difficult time. It might seem impossible but try not to feel too anxious. This is easier said than done, of course, but there are things you can do to relieve tension. Try not to compare yourself to others – that’s the main cause of stress in people under 18.

Make sure to eat normally and get plenty of sleep as GCSE results day gets nearer. Exercise is scientifically proven to relieve feelings of stress! If you feel really overwhelmed, it’s a good idea to talk to a parent, a trusted adult or even a counsellor about exam anxiety. They’re here to help!

Is Your School Open?

Don’t turn up on the wrong day! Confirm if your school is open on GCSE results day, or if you need to collect your results from a different place. You may have been told this before you broke up for summer or study leave, but every school is different. It doesn’t hurt to double-check on your school’s social media channels or official website.

Can't collect your results in person? It’s best to make sure you're not busy on your GCSE results day, so you'll be able to speak to a teacher or get support if you need it – and hopefully get congratulations! However, if you really can’t make it (i.e., for a family holiday), it’s possible to ask your school far enough in advance to send your results to you another way.

A trustworthy friend or family member can also go and collect your results for you, on your behalf. They’ll need a valid form of photo ID verifying who they are, and a letter with your signature authorising them to do it.

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What To Take With You

Take your phone – and make sure it's charged! You’ll want to call your friends or family to tell them the news. Your results will usually be handed to you on GCSE results day by a teacher or staff member you know.

Still, it’s a good idea to take some photo ID too, like your passport or driver’s license if you drive. Remember that your GCSE results day is probably the weekend or out-of-term time, so you won't be able to hunt around for anything you need, or that perfect photo backdrop!

Opening Your Results

It’s OK to consider whether you want to open your results envelope yourself. Also, it’s OK to ask yourself if you want to open it with your parent(s), in a group of friends for moral support, or even alone. It’s entirely up to you.

GCSE Results Day


For a more private experience of opening that envelope on GCSE results day, go into school early before everybody else arrives. If you want company, more people will be hanging out after collecting their results later in the day.

What Do Those Grades Mean?

Most sixth-forms or colleges have minimum English and Maths requirements, whatever subject you're taking. Most look for at least a grade 4 or 5 (what your parents would call Grade C). You’ll also need these to work for most employers, part- or full-time.

You also want to meet the grade requirements for the subjects you've chosen to study at a college or sixth-form. Universities may look at your GCSE results later, because they might be the last time you sat a formal exam! A few universities have GCSE requirements, but this is not universal.

What If I Don’t Get The Grades I Want?

Even if things don’t turn out right, it bears repeating that this isn’t the end of the world. It probably won’t feel nice if you get disappointing grades, but don’t panic. You have a number of paths to take.

You can appeal a grade that’s unusually lower than your others, or if you’re inches (or marks) away from a grade boundary. Speak to your subject teacher or your head of year.

They have the power to request that the exam board reviews the marking.

If you’re a private exam candidate, go to your submitting school or college, or just direct to the exam board. Do this ASAP, on your GCSE results day. Even if you don’t get re-marked higher, you’ll get a chance to retake or resit.

If you don’t get that 4 or 5 in GCSE Maths and GCSE English, you’ll have toresit if you want to take A-levels or anything similar. Resits for Maths and English can be taken in November, soon enough to feel like less of a big deal. Retakes for other subjects happen the next summer, and some colleges will let you juggle your resit while starting your next level of study.

You can even change course if necessary, to a course you do qualify for. Call your sixth-form or college as soon as possible to find out if they’ll still accept you, even if not for the original courses you applied to. You might have better grades in something unexpected! If there’s room on other courses, you’ve got an interest in them, and your timetable fits, this is a great option.

You can also consider changing sixth-form or college, if your first choice won’t accept you and none of their courses look interesting. They might have a wider range of subjects, or lower entry grades.

Alternatives to A-levels

Sometimes disappointing grades just mean exams aren’t your style. You can try other forms of study.

BTec qualifications are a brilliant alternative to traditional A-levels. These are ongoing assessments with a mixture of coursework and non-traditional exams, not end-of-year exams like GCSEs or A-levels.

If you’ve got a specific dream career, there are qualifications combined with on-the-job training, like NVQs or apprenticeships. Some of these even lead to a degree!

Final Thoughts

Your GCSE results day might turn out exactly the way you want it to – or it might not. Either way: remember, your grades on GCSE results day are not a measure of your worth. You’ll be the same person at the end of GCSE results day as you were at the start, and that person can do anything they put their mind to!

If you’re about to start your A-Levels, then now is the perfect time to start looking for an A-Level tutor. No matter what subjects you’re going to undertake, TutorChase has top-qualified tutors across the board. From A-level Maths to A-Level English, we’ve got the perfect online tutor for you.

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Professional tutor and Cambridge University researcher

Dr Rahil Sachak-Patwa

Written by: Dr Rahil Sachak-Patwa

Oxford University - PhD Mathematics

Rahil spent ten years working as private tutor, teaching students for GCSEs, A-Levels, and university admissions. During his PhD he published papers on modelling infectious disease epidemics and was a tutor to undergraduate and masters students for mathematics courses.

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