Education & Family

GCSEs 2016 - ask an expert

Catherine Sezen Image copyright AoC
Image caption Catherine Sezen of the Association of Colleges answers your questions about GCSE results

GCSE results day has finally arrived and many teenagers will be celebrating success, but others will have very different emotions if they do not receive the results they were expecting.

Places on many school sixth form or college courses depend on achieving minimum grades at GCSE - so if your marks did not meet expectations, getting good advice is crucial.

Catherine Sezen of the Association of Colleges is on hand to give advice on what to do following unexpected results.


My son only got three C grades and all the rest of his GCSEs were Ds. The school he has been attending for the last five years have said that, as he only got three good GCSE's and they require at least five for sixth form, they cannot offer him a place to stay on. Where do we stand as he really wanted to stay there for sixth form? Catherine

Hi Catherine

I am sorry to hear that your son didn't quite achieve the grades that he wanted, but I am sure with there will be a course for him, perhaps at a different school or college.

All schools and colleges have entry requirements which ‎they need to apply consistently to all applicants.

If your son wants to stay at the same school it is worth asking if they have another option for him there. I would also suggest contacting your local FE college to discuss what they might be able to offer. College based vocational or technical courses have good career progression opportunities - or they might suggest an apprenticeship.

If your son is worried about moving to a different school or college it would be good to find out why. All schools and colleges will have induction programmes to help students settle in and make friends.


I've missed a large amount of my secondary education (almost 3 years) due to mental health issues and although it was a struggle, I managed to achieve 4 A*s, 1 A, 2 Bs, 1 C and a D. Unfortunately this D was in drama, the subject I want to focus on in college, and although the college didn't need any specific drama grade on entry (only an English grade at C or above and I achieved A*s in both literature and language) I can't help but feel this might affect my chances. Any advice? Kat

Hi Kat,

Well done on your GCSE results. You have done really well to achieve such good grades. The college would be best placed to advise on your drama grade though, if the entry requirements specified English grades (which you have exceeded), I don't think there will be a problem.


I've just got my results, I got 3A*s and 8As. I thought I could have done better but they are OK. Do you think I can still get into medicine?

Thanks, Musa

Hi Musa

First of all congratulations on an excellent set of results - well done! Each university will have its own entry requirements for medicine as for all subjects.

I would suggest that your GCSE results would indicate that you have a very realistic opportunity to go on and be successful in your chosen field, but if you have a particular course or university in mind you could look at their entry requirements online to check what they would be looking for.

Good luck with your further studies,


I am disappointed with my results. I think exams are unfair because some people are unlucky when they take exams. I received an A for media studies - but because I only got a C in English language I am told I'm not allowed to take it at A-level.

I was also told I could not take psychology, a totally new subject to me, because I have not got Bs in English and maths.

Shouldn't people's work ethic be taken into account more when it comes to what courses they can apply for next and shouldn't coursework be a large part of the courses to make it fairer?


Hi Danny

Well done on getting the A grade for media studies. I would see this as an opportunity to think hard about your next steps. Why don't you contact your school and local further education college to see what options are available to you with the grades that you have achieved?

BTEC courses for example include more coursework and still provide excellent opportunities for progression into work or to higher education.

I am sure you will find a course which suits you and your career aspirations.


My son received GCSE D grades English and maths but has already started working on an apprenticeship scheme which is full time, five days a week.

I understand that if grade A-C is not achieved in English and maths then it is the law that the child must continue in education until they are 18 to try and achieve grade A*-C. Is this true in all cases such as if they are on an apprenticeship which isn't offering day release?

I am delighted to hear that your son has secured an apprenticeship. If he has achieved Ds in English and maths I think that he will need to continue studying these subjects as part of his apprenticeship. I would suggest that you contact his apprenticeship provider to check whether this will mean retaking GCSE or taking Functional Skills qualifications in English and maths which are more work related.


Image copyright PA
Image caption Results envelopes can bring surprises

My son is normally an A student bordering on A*. He just received his GCSE results and is heartbroken. He spent many hours studying and he got just one A in maths and Bs in every other subject. His lowest percentage was 72 so why did he fail to get As across the broad?

Hi Leon

First of all congratulations to your son that he has done so well in passing all his GCSEs. I appreciate, however, that he may feel disappointed if he was anticipating higher grades in many of his subjects.

I would suggest in the first instance that you contact his school to get their view on his grades. It may be that they will suggest a re-marking for some of his papers.

However, with the grades that he has got, your son should be able to get on to the course of his choice at school or college.

I wish him well in his future studies.


My son did not get the required grade A in his AQA biology - he got a B. What are his options with this result? I am not sure what to do really.


Hi Lynd,

It sounds as if your son may well have achieved the grades he needed in his other subjects, which is great and congratulations to him.

I would suggest contacting the school to discuss his biology grade. If he was close to the required A grade you could ask for a review of marking for that subject.

The school may also consider allowing him to take the A-level and monitor his progress over the first few weeks. However, do bear in mind that there may be other young people in the same situation and the school will need to be consistent in their approach.


My son has achieved grade C in GCSE science. His mark equivalent is 273. He got 87A in practical and in the papers he got 98C and 88C.

I want to know please where a grade B will start from as he was predicted a B and I'm wondering whether to appeal this result if it's really close to a B grade.


Hi Nasima

I would suggest contacting his school to ask whether they think a review of results would be a good idea. They will have an overview of his results and his work throughout the year and would be best placed to advise on a re-mark.

Good luck to your son in his future plans.


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