The results are in! How to manage A-level and GCSE results days

Exam results days are so important! Whatever your son or daughter wants to do, and however hard – or otherwise – they have worked, results day is the end of one era and the beginning of another.

In this article we take a quick look at:

  • What to expect on results day.
  • How to support your son or daughter on results day.
  • What happens after results day.

What to expect on results day

A-level results day this year is Thursday 18th August, and GCSE results day Thursday 25th August.

Make sure your son or daughter checks well in advance the arrangements with their school or college. Most will be open for results to be collected in person. 

It is important to know the right time to be there, as the school or college may only be open for a short period of time. For A-level results, it is particularly important to be there early, because if your son or daughter has applied for Uni but doesn’t get the grades they need, this gives them time to start calling other universities as soon as Clearing is open. We look at this in more detail later.

When your son or daughter goes to their school or college, they will be given an envelope containing one or more printed sheets showing the grade they have achieved for each subject. 

You will probably want to be there when they collect their results, but check whether the school or college expects this, and also whether your son or daughter wants you to. They may prefer either to go on their own, or with a group of friends. 

If the school or college is not open, or your son or daughter is unable to attend, they can arrange for their results to be given to them another way, usually by post or email or online. It’s usually also possible for another person to collect the envelope, as long as you have arranged this in advance.

How to support your son or daughter on results day

However laid back your son or daughter appears to be about results day, they are still likely to be nervous and worried about it. There are a few things that you can do both beforehand and on the day itself to support them during this time.

Three things to do before results day

  • Plan lots of fun activities to do, to take their mind off results day approaching. Even if you are not going on holiday, a few day trips, movie evenings and sleepovers with friends can all help. If you need a bit of extra funding to make this happen, check out Munzee’s online loans.
  • Let them know – in as many different ways as you can – that you are there for them, and that you love them and are proud of them whatever happens. Create opportunities for them to talk to you about it if they want to, but don’t force this or they could feel pressured.
  • If your son or daughter is really not coping with the stress and anxiety, try and get them a bit of help and support; for example from the school or college, friends, or specialist charities such as Childline.

Three things to do on results day

  • Help them get up and organised nice and early. Favourite breakfast may help, if they are not too nervous to eat. Be ready to offer lifts if needed. Ensure you stay calm and positive. They will be under a lot of stress so try to defuse this as much as possible.
  • Make sure they have everything they need. For example:
  • Some form of ID in case needed.
  • Fully charged mobile phone.
  • Pen and paper.
  • For A-level students, details of Uni offers, contact details, and UCAS login details.
  • Whatever happens on the day itself, plan a fun family celebration. Even if they do not get the results they were hoping for, this brings you together as a family and will give them hope and encouragement that, with your support, something better is just around the corner.

What happens after results day

As we said earlier, results day is the end of one era and the beginning of another. Your son or daughter will be leaving the school or college where they have spent at least the last couple of years. They are now ready to move onto something new. But what?

Here’s what generally happens after A-level and GCSE results day:

  • After A-level results day

If your son or daughter has applied to Uni, UCAS – the University admissions service – will receive their A-level results directly and will update their UCAS Hub (account) around 8am to indicate whether or not they have got into one of their chosen Unis.

If your son or daughter has got into the Uni(s) of their choice, 

But if they have not got the grades for the Uni(s) of their choice, they could apply for another course through UCAS Clearing – see details on the UCAS website here.

However, there are also other options to consider. Your son or daughter could:

  • Retake their A-levels next summer and reapply for Uni entry in September 2023. In the interim they could either work or take a gap year;
  • Look for a non-degree course at a college instead;
  • Find a traineeship or apprenticeship;
  • Go straight into full-time employment.

There are plenty of options available, and your son or daughter will need your support and understanding in helping to find the best one for them.

  • After GCSE results day

Hopefully your son or daughter will have achieved the grades they need to do what they want to do next, for example 6th form college to do either A-levels or Btecs, or to combine work and education by doing an apprenticeship or internship.

But if your son or daughter has been planning to do A-levels and does not achieve the grades they need for the college or course of their choice, the first thing to do is to speak to the college as soon as possible. The college may still either accept them on the course, or be able to offer an alternative.

It could also be worth looking either at different A-level subjects or colleges as there may still be places available to do something slightly different.

Another option would be for your son or daughter to resit one or more GCSEs and go to college next year instead. The school will be able to advise further on how to go about this.

It is also possible to appeal against a result if your son or daughter achieves an unexpectedly low grade in a subject. Again, speak to the school, who will advise on the appeals process.

We hope that this article gives you some helpful information about how to prepare for results day and what to do on the day itself and afterwards. 

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