Education & Family

GCSE results dilemma? Our experts answer your questions

Samrita Hayer and Catherine Sezen Image copyright AoC and NCS
Image caption Samrita Hayer, of the National Careers Service, and Catherine Sezen, of the Association of Colleges, answer your questions

If your GCSE results are proving a problem and you don't know what to do next, we have experts on hand to answer your questions.

With more options than ever open to teenagers in terms of education, training. apprenticeships and jobs, it is crucial to get good advice.

Samrita Hayer, an adviser with the National Careers Service, and Catherine Sezen, a senior curriculum expert at the Association of Colleges, are offering personalised advice on what to do if your grades are different to what you were expecting.


My GCSE results were not as good as I expected, and it was a big shock to me, and now I don't know what to do. Edward

Hi Edward,

I am sorry to hear that your results were not what you were expecting. The good news is that there are many options post-16: A-levels, a vocational or technical qualification or an apprenticeship.‎ I would recommend going into your local FE college, staff there will be able to give you advice on your options with the grades that you have achieved. I am sure that you will find something that is of interest.


My son received 5 for English literature but 3 for English language. Will he need to resit language? Wendy

Hi Wendy,

First, congratulations to your son on gaining a 5 in his English literature.

As the grading system has changed, the 3 in English language means that your son has achieved a D/E. Therefore, it could be beneficial for him to resit his English language.

This could be useful when applying for courses and getting into employment.

English resits can be done in November. I would suggest speaking to the school to gain further information in regards to this. Your son could also look into retaking this GCSE alongside his further education course; the course provider will be able to provide you further information on this option.

Best of luck,


What if my predicted grades were higher than my actual grades? What happens then? Haydar

Hi Haydar,

Predicted grades are used to measure the progress of an individual student, and this is what the teachers believe you can achieve.

Your actual grades are what you have achieved, and you can use these to plan your next steps in education.

In relation to further education, you may find it helpful to ask to the school or college you would like to attend if it will accept you with the grades you achieved.

They decide who is accepted on their courses, and it is common for them to receive questions about acceptance when students receive their results.

I hope you will be able to speak to them soon.

Good luck,


What should I do if my maths grade was 4 but I need a 5 to do an A-level in economics? Lilly

Hi Lilly,

Well done in achieving a grade 4. I would suggest that you speak to your school or college about the level 5 required for economics.

They will be able to explain why they have that entry requirement and be able to advise you on the best options for you.

Perhaps there would be another A-level you could take. A-level economics will have a lot of maths content and the school or college experience may indicate that a level 5 is needed.


Do I need maths to get into college I got a 7 in English literature and 7 in English language but only got a 3 or a D in maths? Valerie

Hi Valerie,

Congratulations on your grade 7s in English language and literature.

If you achieved a 3 or a D in maths you will have the opportunity to retake it at college.

I would suggest that you contact your college and they will advise you about whether the D or 3 in maths will impact on the course you need to take.

I am sure that they will ensure that you are on a course that is right for you. Good luck!


What should I do!?!? I can't pass maths no matter how much I try!!!! Liam

Hi Liam,

Many students feel this way and it is important not to give up!

You could ask for extra support from your teachers or even look into getting a private tutor.

Extra support could help you work out exactly what it is that you are struggling with. This may also help you get the pass that most employers and training providers look for.

Alternatively you can look at GCSE equivalents such as a functional skills course. Our helpline on 0800 100 900 can tell you what your options are.

Good luck,


Image copyright PA

My son has 6 in Maths, 6 in English Literature but a 3 in English Language. Assume he must retake? Ruth

Hi Ruth,

First of all well done to your son on achieving 6s in maths and English literature.

Government guidance states that if a student has achieved a 4 or above in English literature and or English language he or she is exempted from retaking English post 16 as English literature acts as a proxy for English language.


My son has just received his GCSE's and is rather disappointed (one A, three Bs, two Cs and a D, plus a 7 and two 5s). Should we consider remarks? Pete

Hi Peter,

Your son's results are very good and I hope that he got the results that he needs to go onto the post-16 course of his choice.

However, if he feels that he would like a remark for any of the subjects it would be a good idea for him to talk it through with the school.

They will be able to give a fair view of whether his results were as expected or whether he should consider any remarks.


How can I find out my exact marks for each paper? Will the school give them to me, and if so when? Chris

Hi Chris,

Have you been to collect your results slips from your school?

All the information that is available to your school should be on the results slips.

If you have any further questions I am sure that your school will be able to advise.


In view of a 3 in maths, is it compulsory to re-take this exam? Have guidelines been published for parents? Alex

Hi Alex,

In England, individuals under 18 who have not passed English and maths GCSE must continue to work towards the qualification alongside further education studies or as a separate resit.

A 3 is equivalent to a D/E grade while grade 4 is seen as a low pass and a grade 5 as a strong pass.

Most employers and training providers look for the A-C/9-4 in maths.

You might find the government's GCSE factsheet for parents useful.

I would also suggest speaking to the school to gain some further information on next steps.

I hope this helps,


How do I apply for a remark for my maths paper that has the new grading system? Vaitheke

Hi Vaitheke,

Requesting a GCSE remark will be done by your school or college, but it comes with a fee that you or your family may have to cover.

You could speak to a teacher or the examinations officer at your school to look into getting a remark for your maths paper as they will be aware of the next steps.

Best of luck,


I got maths grade 6, English 3 and biology, chemistry, physics C. What are my options? Umayr

Hi Umayr,

Firstly, congratulations on your results.

The options available will all depend on what you want to do next.

It will probably be useful for you to resit English as the 3 you have gained is the equivalent of a D/E grade and most employers and training providers look for at least a grade 4.

If you are interested in further education courses, you could speak to the college or sixth form that you wish to attend and ask them if you can retake English alongside their course. For further guidance, contact our helpline on 0800 100 900.


Image copyright Tim Ireland

I failed my English and maths and I am going to college to do car mechanics. What should I do? Liam

Hi Liam,

Most further education course providers and future employers look for passes in English and maths GCSEs. As the college set the entry requirements you should ask them if you can re-sit these GCSEs alongside the course, or if you would need to gain them to get onto the course.

Good luck,


I got grade 3 in maths and English Language. I want to know if I can still study a level 3 extended diploma course. Abdullah

Hi Abdullah,

It's likely that these GCSEs will need to be taken again either through a re-sit or alongside the diploma you would like to do. Contact the college for information about your options.

All the best,


Which is the best exam board to resit GCSE English language in November? Ismail

Hi Ismail,

In order to resit your English language GCSE in November you will have had to have taken it in June.

The exam boards all aim to be equally robust to ensure an equal playing field whichever board's exam you sit. If you are resitting your GCSE at a school or college they will be able to tell you which exam board they use. Good luck!


Image copyright Getty Images

I have received a grade 3 in English and am at college. I needed a C grade to study a BTEC level 3 in college Does this mean I can't continue? Marie

Hi Marie,

I am sorry to hear that you didn't get the grade you wanted for your English exam. I would suggest that you speak to your teachers at college. They will be able to advise you about next steps and how they can best support you.


Do universities accept a C grade at GCSE? Mahmoud

Hi Mahmoud,

Universities have different entry requirements depending on the course. Most course providers and future employers accept a C grade as a pass but it is difficult to say for definite if you would get a university acceptance.

You could also contact our helpline on 0800 100 900 for further guidance.

I hope this helps,


My son is 15 and took English a year early but only got a 1. I understand he will resit next year. What advice to you have? Don

Hi Don,

It would be a good idea to speak to your son's school about what extra support teachers can give to help him pass his GCSE English next year.

Another option could be to get a private tutor if your son feels he would find this helpful.


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