By Rachel Mortell
Today, thousands of students across the UK have found out their GCSE fate. Whether they will go on to sixth form college, straight into the workforce or onto a apprenticeship, will be determined by letters on a piece of paper. It sounds dramatic doesn’t it? While there can be a great deal of hype in the media about how exams are getting easier or harder, for the teenagers receiving their results, the only thing they care about is their future and how the grades they get today will affect their plans.
Of course, while GCSEs are an important gateway to higher education or securing an apprenticeship or work-based placement, students shouldn’t feel disheartened if they don’t get the grades they want- it isn’t the end of the world. There are options available to young people who didn’t ace their exams. They can consider re-sitting, especially English and maths, which are important benchmark in terms of basic skills. There are also vocational options such as NVQs and BTecs, which provide a route into more practical work-based learning. Students can even call a designated exam results helpline if they need advice on what to do next.
For many youngsters, GCSE results and what to do next is the first ‘grown-up’ decision they will have to make. For that reason, it isn’t surprising that most people remember their GCSE/O level results day years or decades later.
At Mango we have been reminiscing about our results day memories.
For me, results day was back in 2002, and I was luckily on holiday at the time, which removed some of the pressure. I was on a camping holiday with friends in North Wales, so I sent my dad to school to collect the envelope. From a crackling mobile phone line, my dad listed my grades one by one. I remember a massive sense of relieve when he had finished. Most of all I was just glad that I had passed maths and that I would never have to do it again!
“The one memory that sticks in my mind about getting Junior Certificates (The Irish equivalent to GCSE) was getting my best friend Margaret Mcenery to call my boyfriend’s home number to find out his grades. I knew his mum would answer and she intimidated me, so my poor friend pretended to be me instead. It didn’t quite go to plan, with my best friend being cross-examined by Emmet’s mum and having to reveal her actual identity.”
“When I went into school to pick up my results, the widely disliked deputy head passed me my envelope and with deadpan face said concernedly ‘I think you might need to talk to your parents about these’. This caused me to almost have a heart attack on the spot! Turned out he was kidding as the results were good all round, but the very first thing I said to my parents in shock through my tears as I walked out was ‘I got an A in PE!’ (This was seemingly unbelievable if you know me at all!)”
“Ohhh it’s such a long time ago for me!!!! I was on holiday so nicely away from it all. I was in France at the time and the only one I failed was French!! I think I was sent out to chat to the locals to start revising for the re takes.”
“I remember walking to school with my friends to collect our results and it felt like the longest walk in the world – it was awful. When I got to school I recall looking at all of my teachers’ faces, knowing that they had seen our results…they were obviously well-practised in giving nothing away because they gave absolutely nothing away! I was pleased with what I got and as a result partied hard that evening. The celebrations are the most memorable part of the day for me, but I’m taking that as a good sign because it obviously meant I was delighted with how I did!”