21 Aug, 2016 @ 13:26
3 mins read

GCSE Results Day: How to deal with your results, however good or bad

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Stephen Coventry


Stephen Coventry
Stephen Coventry

YOU have spent the summer trying to forget about them, but now it’s Thursday 25th August 2016, and time to see what your GCSE results look like. Your future may be printed on a piece of paper.  What will it be?

Below I explore three typical students with three very different set of results.  

Student 1 – My GCSE Grades Are Great!
Congratulations! You worked hard and got the results you deserved. Phone your family and friends. Let them know the good news.
You’ve got lots of choices, so choose wisely. The most obvious way forward is to consider taking A levels. If you are comfortable with studying, go ahead. However
if all that studying (whilst successful)  was a nightmare for you,  A-levels may not suit you. Perhaps you know what you want to do in the future. A more vocational route might be better. There are many courses available (especially in the UK)  that will train you for a particular career, e.g. veterinary nurse, IT technician or teaching assistant. Often you can work and attend college at the same time.  If you want to be a doctor, lawyer or other highly skilled professional, A levels then University is  the best route. Take advice from teachers and career advisors before you decide.
Don’t be afraid to break from the norm and live your life differently. Whatever you choose, ensure you have an aptitude for it AND that you are interested in it.  Beware choosing a career “just” because it is well paid. There is more to life than money!  Enjoying what you do is essential for success.

Student 2 – My GCSE Grades Were Disappointing.
In the first instance, speak to a teacher or the exam officer. They can request a copy of your marked paper, to see if an enquiry about results (EAR) is appropriate.
Have a look at your UMS score and check it against the exam boards UMS Grade Boundaries. If any of your scores seem strangely low, or if you have missed a higher grade by only a few points, you could ask the exam officer to obtain a review of marking or request a remark.

Try to do this soon after you receive your results, as there are deadlines involved, and fees for remarking. If all else fails, you can consider  a resit.
Some subjects matter more than others.  If you achieved a Grade D in Drama of a Grade E in Geography it is unlikely to make a huge difference to your life.  However you will need a pass in Maths and English. These are core subjects and employers  think they are important. If you have achieved a low grade in either of these subjects you should consider taking them again. They really do matter.

Student 3 – My GCSE Grades Were Rubbish!
It’s horrible to think that you’ve just sat through two years only to be presented with a series of U’s or F’s, but you have choices too; you’re not necessarily excluded from any part of your future. GCSEs are the jumping off point to decision-making, and they will make things easier at this stage, but it isn’t the end of the world if you didn’t achieve anything.

Studying in school does not suit everyone. Schools are strange places! If you are more practically minded or have an aptitude for something you haven’t yet officially studied, take a look at the routes you need to get to where you want to be.  You may find a vocational course at Gibraltar college or in the UK; something which combines working and learning.

The positive thing that you can tell potential employers is that you stuck at the courses, even though you didn’t do well at the end. Employers, colleges and universities want proof that you are going to stay and can see a course or job to the end.
Dropping out when you turned 16, without taking any exams would have been the worst thing you could do.


Whatever your situation remember, “time is on your side”.  You are young and have lots of opportunities ahead of you. Stay calm! Some very successful people hated school and left at 16, for example Joss Stone, Alan Sugar and Ozzy Ozborne. They did mundane jobs until they found what they were good at.  Once you have found your “thing” go for it!  As Steve Jobs says, “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become.”  

Good Luck!

Steve Coventry

Excel Tutors

Stephen Coventry (OP Columnist)

Alcaidesa-based Stephen Coventry is former headmaster of three different schools including one in Gibraltar.

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