With Ofqual taking the unprecedented move of shifting the boundaries of science papers to stop a landslide of Us being issued, students – for whom the pressure has been increasingly ratcheted upwards over the last year – are likely to be somewhat on edge. Waiting, endlessly waiting to discover what other horrible surprises tomorrow may throw up. However. All of this is white noise, a buzzing fly for the thousands of anxious students, parents and teachers for whom these results are, up until this moment, to be the crowning glory of their, or their young charges academic lives or a nasty gut punch after toiling for the last two years for what will feel like no good reason.
It’s important to remember that no matter what happens with your GCSEs, it remains a stepping stone and nothing more. A sort of gateway exam as it were. Obviously some of the recent changes around numerical/alphabetical have thrown up confused and mixed messages and a consensus still can’t be reached around what a pass looks like exactly. For many who are possibly university bound, the boundaries that were once so simple differ magnificently from one university to another. What this means, hopefully, is that schools will be forced to look at university entry and offer advice earlier than usual. With certain institutions and courses stipulating what now constitutes a grade C when in old money it was pretty obvious, it may be you’ll need to revise your plans and either do a resit or re-examine where you want to study post A levels. The same is true for certain HNDs, BTECs, Internships etc. who may have minimum requirements in English and Maths but what that shakes out to be in new money is somewhat subjective.
Your results on Thursday will necessarily impact the choices you make next, but, and it’s an important but – good or bad, nothing is permanent. As much as it feels like the most important thing in the world right now, as long as you’ve done well enough to keep your options open you’ll be just fine. My business partner is one of the smartest people I know, BA from Durham, MA from Warwick, PhD from Columbia, he had lousy GCSE results comparative to his ability and pretty unremarkable A levels if we’re getting into finger pointing. Equally, people I went to school with who performed astonishingly at GCSE level were middle of the pack come A level. As worried as you might be you are only ever really judged on your highest level of accomplishment, so as long as you do well enough to not close down avenues, things will work out just fine if you apply yourself and move forward in a positive fashion.
The person who made your GCSE choices two years ago, was a comparative child next to the person who’ll be picking up the results tomorrow and the same is true a couple of years from now as you pick up your results from A levels, BTECs, HNDs etc. I say this just to try and offer you some sense of perspective, what’s happening now, tomorrow, will recede into the distance, it will in time become just a thing that once happened. What’s important, the only thing that is important in fact, is how you respond to tomorrow’s news. If you’ve done enough to keep your options open, no matter how unremarkable just dust yourself off and crack on with the next challenge. If you’ve done slightly worse than that, resits remain an option, often alongside other higher studies. Don’t go to seed, try and see the bigger picture – despite the rhetoric and pressure all this is, all it ever was is an exercise to see where you are up to now – that does not dictate where you could go or what you can achieve. Maybe you’re a late bloomer, maybe your aptitudes lie in one very specific field that GCSEs cannot accurately reflect.
So no matter whether you’re the big winner or the wooden spooner come Thursday morning try and hold on to the fact that it is, comprehensively, not the end of the road, just a bump in it. You may need to slightly adjust certain plans to accommodate your new circumstances but don’t submit to feeling like a failure, nor should you be too smug. It all shakes out in the wash and if you know where you want to be, I guarantee if you focus on a goal then Thursday is just another day.
Good or bad – if you want some guidance about ordering your thinking for the next steps have a look at the book – https://edducan.com/is-your-school-lying-to-you-get-the-career-you-want-get-the-life-you-deserve/