GCSE results day 2023: What happens if you fail, how to appeal & when you can resit

Today is GCSE results day but not everyone is happy with the outcomes the first time - here’s what you can do.

As thousands of students throughout England and Wales pick up their GCSE results on Thursday, August 24, they will finally learn whether their months of hard work have paid off. However, some may be left disappointed if the outcomes aren’t what the students were hoping for.

After the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, coupled with controversies and disruptions to learning including a series of strikes by teachers over a pay dispute with the government, this led to a significant number of students receiving unsatisfactory GCSE results.

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But first things first, students need to remain calm if the results are not in their favour. Examination board WJEC said there are ways to appeal the grades or even resit their exams, which allows students to improve their grades and demonstrate their knowledge and skills.

WJEC said: “Results Day is a big day for learners, but it’s important to stay relaxed and to keep things in perspective.Whether you’re collecting your GCSE or A-level results – remember that you’ll have a range of options and pathways available to you, whatever your grades!”

Even if you have failed your GCSEs, many experts have said that this does not have to be the end of the world for children. According to a tutoring website, Tutorful, there are other options available. For instance, other than retaking the exams, they can also take an alternative qualification such as a BTEC or a vocational course.

Here’s what you can do if you’d like to appeal your grades or resit for the examinations, according to the Government website.

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How to appeal your GCSE results

According to the Government website, you need to contact your school or college to challenge a GCSE grade where you can request that the exam board review the marking of your exam entry.

If you’re a private candidate you can contact the exam board directly, or contact the school or college that submitted your exam entry. You may have to pay a fee if you ask for a review and your grade is not changed as a result. Check with your school or college before they contact the exam board.

Here’s what you can do if you fail your GCSE  exams.  (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images) (Photo by Peter Nicholls/Getty Images)Here’s what you can do if you fail your GCSE  exams.  (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images) (Photo by Peter Nicholls/Getty Images)
Here’s what you can do if you fail your GCSE exams. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images) (Photo by Peter Nicholls/Getty Images) | Getty Images

The exam board will then check your work for marking mistakes. If your mark changes your overall grade may also change. Your new grade could be higher or lower than the original.

If you still think there’s a mistake, you can ask your school or college to appeal the result. The exam board will then look at your work again and decide if your mark or grade needs correcting. If you think the exam board did not handle your appeal properly, you can request a review from Ofqual.

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How and when can you resit for GCSE exams?

Not everyone is happy with the results the first time so worry not, as you can always resit for GCSE exams to get the outcomes you are hoping for. According to the Government website, resitting the exams is usually free the year after you get your results. But if you attend a private or independent school, you may need to pay.

Here’s what you can do if you fail your GCSE  exams. (Photo by Peter Nicholls/Getty Images)Here’s what you can do if you fail your GCSE  exams. (Photo by Peter Nicholls/Getty Images)
Here’s what you can do if you fail your GCSE exams. (Photo by Peter Nicholls/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Those who are wanting to resit for two core subjects - English and Maths - can do so in Autumn. For all other exams, you will need to take them next year during the usual exam period and you can usually retake any exam you want.

However, you’ll have to retake GCSE English and maths if you’re under 18 and did not get at least a grade 4. Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible to take functional skills qualifications instead.

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