Students up and down the country anxiously await their A-Level and GCSE results due on August 13th and 20th respectively.
The impact of these results upon a person’s life and career is undeniably significant; for those sitting their GCSEs or A-levels who do not intend to embark on any further course of study, the qualifications conferred over the next two weeks will be what those students take forward into the job market. For those intending to study further, those results will impact upon which A-levels they are to take (for those obtaining their GCSE results), and which University they are able to attend (for those obtaining both their GCSE and A-level results, as most Universities will consider both sets of qualifications). The University a student chooses to attend, and the course of study they choose to undertake, will impact significantly upon their career and upon the rest of their lives; people often build their social circles and their futures in accordance with where they went to University.
With the increase in apprenticeships, many more students will be reliant on the grades they achieve to secure apprenticeships or meet conditional offers they have already been made by employers. For this set of students, their entire planned future career can depend on the results they achieve.
It can be an extremely upsetting time for students who do not attain the grades they hoped for; year after year there are very sad cases of students for whom the pressure has been so much that they have resorted to extreme measures in order to cope with their feelings of disappointment. It is important to remember that if you do not get the grades you want, it’s certainly not the end of the world: there are options you can consider to try and get back on to the track you were hoping to be on, or you may consider an alternative track.
Challenging the outcome you have been given
If it is the case that your examinations were adversely affected by circumstances outside of your control, it is imperative that you obtain any evidence you have in this regard and make a request for special considerations to reflect this to the Joint Council for Qualifications (‘JCQ’). Such requests are to be made by your Centre (i.e School/College) and should be made as soon as possible following an affected assessment. The following document will assist students in using this process and confirming that their circumstances are applicable. http://www.jcq.org.uk/exams-office/access-arrangements-and-special-consideration/regulations-and-guidance/a-guide-to-the-special-consideration-process-2014-2015
Submit an Enquiry regarding results:
There are four types of ‘Enquiries about Results’ (‘EAR’) available:
1. A clerical check
2. A review of the original marking
3. A review of original moderation
4. Access to scripts
You should refer to your relevant examining board procedures for more explicit guidance and be mindful of any deadlines which may arise; for example, AQA, offer a priority re-marking service for A-Level exam scripts where the student’s university placement depends on the grade obtained from the paper in question, however this request must be made by 21st August 2015: http://www.aqa.org.uk/exams-administration/about-results/post-results
Appeal the outcome of a special circumstances application or the outcome of an EAR enquiry:
You may lodge an appeal in this regard within 2 weeks of the date of the outcome being challenged; there are two stages to this process, the latter of which will involve your matter being considered by an Appeals Panel. The following guidance and links will assist: http://www.jcq.org.uk/examination-system/the-appeals-process
Look at other options
You may not have obtained the grades you wished, but this need not prevent you from pursuing other related options, for example;
If you have obtained grades at GCSE or A-Level which you are unhappy with, you may choose to re-sit certain elements in order to increase your grade.
If you have been offered a conditional place at University for which you have not met the grades, you may also wish to try and defer the place (this will usually involve an element of negotiation with the University admissions department) to allow you to re-sit with a view to commencing the course in the coming academic year.
Also, you may wish to consider appealing the decision not to admit you directly with the relevant University. You would need to refer to the terms of your offer and any available right of appeal directly with the University.
You can also look at using the UCAS clearing service. The process offers an element of flexibility; if, for example, you took an A-level in History and were intending to commence a law degree, but have since found that you have a more fervent interest in History you can choose to look for places available in the latter discipline.
Recent studies would have us believe that most students do not have a back-up plan if they do not meet the required grades for their 1st or 2nd choice of University. Whatever you are planning on doing next, make sure you have a plan as far as is possible and that you are mindful of any relevant deadlines. If you require any assistance in relation to any of the issues or processes raised, then please contact us for a further consultation.
Best of luck with the results!