Although the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted study and exams, students will still get GCSE results. Read our FAQs for everything you need to know.
When is GCSE Results Day in 2020?
GCSE Results Day will occur on 20th August 2020.
In Scotland, National 5 Results Day will occur on 4th August 2020.
Will students still get a certificate for their GCSE results?
Yes. All GCSE qualifications will be graded using calculated results this summer, since most exams and assessments in 2020 have been cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Students will get certificates for the GCSEs and other Level ½ qualifications on Thursday 20th August.
GCSE results this year will look the same as they have in previous years.
How are the GCSE grades for 2020 calculated with no exam results to go by?
Although exams were cancelled this year, students will still get GCSE results based on predicted grades.
Students’ grades will take into account a range of factors including (for example) homework assessments and mock exams. Schools and colleges are asked to use fair judgement based on professional experience to outline the grades they believe a student would have achieved if they had sat their exams this year.
To keep grades fair across all schools and colleges, the exam boards put all centre assessment grades through a standardisation process using a system develop with the independent qualifications regulator Ofqual. What does that mean? It means that Ofqual has provided clear guidance to all schools and college on how to assign GCSE grades fairly and using the same grading methods.
Once schools and colleges have done this, the Heads of Centre have to sign a declaration to say that the centre assessment grades are fair, then check the data to make sure it’s accurate, then they submit the grades to the exam board.
When students get their GCSE grades, these are the final grades that have been produced by the exam boards based on the centre assessment grades that have been submitted to them.
What about students with special considerations?
Sometimes students make special considerations when taking their exams – for example, due to traumatic situations and events that might have an affect on how they do in that exam. As there were no exams this summer, schools and colleges have been told to bear it in mind if illness or other personal circumstances might have affected a student’s performance in their mock exams, since that will form part of the evidence for the final grade.
Are 2020’s GCSE grades worth having?
Yes. Very much so.
If you’re a student worrying that your GCSE results will hold less value because they didn’t involve exams due to Coronavirus, please don’t worry too much. The grades awarded will have equal status to grades in previous years. Your GCSE grades should also be treated the same way as they always have been by universities, colleges and employers.
Do students have to collect their GCSE certificates in person?
Students will want to feel safe, but it’s natural to want to have that big feeling of celebrating and acknowledging the hard work that has gone into the last couple of years!
The process for getting results depends on your place of education, so check with your school, college, or other provider.
Because of social distancing, a school/college may email GCSE results directly to students so that there is no need to collect them in person. Students can talk to their school or college to get results by email. Emailed GCSE results will be available by 8am.
However, some schools and colleges may open to students on Results Day 2020. This means that they will see students in person in a way that keeps to social distancing guidelines.
If a school or college is open for the big event, students can collect their results in person in the morning (usually from around 10am onwards).
What do students need to bring if collecting their GCSE grades in person?
- Mobile phone (you’ll probably want/need to make lots of phone calls on getting your results)
- Phone charger
- Pen and paper to note down any key info on the day
- Some form of ID along with any acceptance letters and contact details for any sixth form or college that you’re interested in attending (you may want to get in touch with them on getting your results, so have everything you need on you)
What do the new 9-1 GCSE grades mean?
They used to be graded by letter, from A* to U.
They are now graded by 9-1 (highest to lowest), with U grades for marks that were too low to be classified.
So you can explain it to your parents or carers who might not know:
- An A* is in the middle of new grades 8 and 9
- An A is a 7
- A C is a 4
What can students do if they’re unhappy with their GCSE grades?
It goes without saying that it doesn’t feel nice if you find you didn’t get the GCSE grades you were hoping for. But all is not lost.
If you really don’t think that GCSE grade was a good match for your ability, you will have the opportunity to take exams in the autumn series or in summer 2021. If you choose to do this, you can use the higher of the two grades as your final, official GCSE grade.
And, as a student, you can take exams in as few subjects as you like – if it’s just one GCSE grade you don’t think feels fair, you can choose to take exams for just that subject, not all your GCSEs. You will have to take all the exam papers for any subject you decide to sit exams for in autumn, though.
Students who are unhappy with their grades can also contact Ofqual, the regulator for the exam boards.
It’s a bit early to say for absolutely certain, but it’s currently expected that students who decide to sit their exams in e.g. November would get their GCSE grades for February, and the results for GCSE English and maths would come through in January. It all depends on when exactly the autumn exams would take place.
What about GCSE students who’ve transferred to a different school/college?
If you’ve studied previously with a school or college but didn’t enter for exams there, it might be that your previous school/college will submit their proposal for your GCSE grade/s. Sometimes, the Head of Centre where you’re currently studying may consult with your previous place of education to make sure their proposal for your GCSE grades is as accurate and fair as possible.
What can students do after getting their GCSE grades this summer?
Students will have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to education, training or entering the world of work after they get their GCSE results.
We’ve included some options below, but please be aware that some of them may be disrupted by social distancing measures due to coronavirus.
GCSEs don’t have to lead to A Levels. Students might find that vocational qualifications like BTECs are a better option because they’re a practical springboard into a career that involves hands-on learning.
GCSE students can check with their current school or college to find out what’s involved in studying A Levels during (or just after) the pandemic.
Apprenticeships are a way to combine earning a salary, building experience and learning to gain a qualification.
You have to be in some form of recognised study or training until your 18th birthday – so GCSE school leavers can do Apprenticeships and Traineeships, for example, but couldn’t go straight into a full-time job.
Students might think it’s impossible to do an apprenticeship in times of coronavirus, but Youth Friendly Employers like Coca-Cola European Partners are standing by their apprentices and making sure they can work and study from home, and will still complete their apprenticeship. Talk to a school/college careers advisor or research online to find out more about apprenticeship opportunities during the pandemic.
Thinking about university?
Whatever happens next, any next step you make can still keep your options open for doing a degree at university or some other form of higher education. Apprenticeships, vocational qualifications and A Levels. The qualifications from each of these choices can all give you UCAS points which will help students pick up the entry requirements for their chosen degree subject in the future.
Congratulations for getting your GCSE results on the big day! You’ve dealt with a really tricky situation, and in spite of the pandemic you have achieved your GCSEs, so a massive well done to you!
Give yourself some much-deserved time to celebrate, whatever your results were, and then you can approach all your options for next steps with an open mind.
Remember that there are a million ways to happiness and a career and future that’s a good fit for you. You don’t have to put yourself on the spot and you have a lot of potential opportunities to explore with our Young Professional free skills training, Careers Hub and Young People Hub.
CONGRATS! You’ve taken on GCSEs like a champ and the best is yet to come!