After years of studying hard, scribbling revision notes and last minute swotting, exams results day is nearly here.
Catherine Sezen from the Association of Colleges has provided some top tips on how to handle GCSE exam results day on Thursday, August 25 and the important decisions that follow:
Confirm your place - once you’ve received those all-important results, make sure you contact the college or training provider where you want to study to confirm your place.
Seek out advice - if you haven’t quite got the grades you wanted, don’t panic! Talk to your school or local college and ask for advice about all the options out there – there will be a course or training programme that is right for you.
Consider all the options - once you’ve asked advice about the options, the choice is yours. At college you could take a technical or professional qualification, which may lead directly to the career you are interested in. Colleges offer technical and applied qualifications, such as BTECs, as well as A levels at Level 3 and qualifications at other levels to meet your individual needs.
Research apprenticeships - apprenticeships are a great way to earn and learn. Many local and national companies now offer apprenticeships. Colleges can help you find the right one for you and you can search for apprenticeships at www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship. You will work and earn while spending time learning your trade at college too.
GCSE English and maths - If you didn’t achieve a grade C or above in GCSE English and maths, you will retake these subjects alongside any other qualifications you do. Colleges will be able to support you through this.
Understanding the levels language - After GCSEs, it seems as if there is a whole new language to learn about qualifications. If you know what they all mean then you’ll be able to understand what you might want to do next:
Levels - Entry level – suitable for students who have gained no GCSEs; Level 1 – equivalent to at least four GCSEs below grade C; Level 2 – equivalent to at least four GCSEs at grade C or above; Level 3 – equivalent to two or three A Levels (depending on size).
You may be offered a 16-18 study programme and this includes: a technical or professional qualification or A levels employability skills, such as work experience, CV writing and preparation for interviews; English and maths, if you do not have a grade C or above in these subjects.
And finally, don’t get disheartened. Whether you have received the grades you wanted or not there is something out there that is right for you and will help to get you on your chosen career path. Keep calm, look at all your options, do your research and get as much advice as you can.
Catherine Sezen is senior policy manager for 14-19 and curriculum at the Association of Colleges (AoC), which is the membership organisation for colleges in England.
She added: “This may seem like a really scary time as you are moving on to something new. Choosing the next steps in education and training can seem like a big decision. By staying calm and making sure you have access to information about all the options available to you, you’ll be able to make the best decision for your future.”
Further education colleges provide high-quality technical and professional education and training for young people, adults and employers. They provide nearly three million students with valuable employability skills, helping to develop their career opportunities and strengthen the local, regional and national economy.
Sixth form colleges provide high-quality academic education to 16 to 18-year-olds enabling them to progress to university or higher level vocational education.