School pupils are anxiously awaiting GCSE results day on Thursday, when many young people will find out if they're off to college.
But don't panic if you don't get the grades you were hoping for, because here's a survival guide for if Thursday doesn't go to plan.
Still go to college
If you had a conditional offer at college, ring them or go as soon as you can to see if they'll accept you. If you weren't too far off, they may still decide to give you a place and calling up to ask shows that you've taken the initiative which may impress them
Consider all the options:
You may be able to get a place on another programme which has lower exam grade requirements, or even do a different course! Once you’ve asked advice about the options the choice is yours. You could take a technical or professional qualification which may lead directly to the career you are interested in. Colleges offer BTECs, NVQs, City and Guilds and also A-levels.
GCSE English and maths
If you didn’t achieve a grade C or above in GCSE English and maths, you will have the opportunity to re-take them alongside any other qualifications you do. Colleges will be able to support you through this.
Consider an apprenticeship
Apprenticeships are basically a job with training. You'll get paid a wage and you'll also study towards a qualification. Usually you'll work four days a week and have one day for studying. The main benefit is that you'll get plenty of practical, on the job experience but you'll also get a qualification too, without racking up lots of students debt.
Ask for a re-mark
If one of your grades or papers is suspiciously low compared to others, or you're really close to a grade boundary, speak to your school straightaway and they'll contact the exam authorities for you.
Do bear in mind though that while some students get a higher grade as a result of a re-mark, many don't so it's important to be realistic and not to pin all your hopes on this.
Resit your exams
You could consider retaking one, or more, of your exams. This can be done as early as November.
When you're preparing for a resit, the most important thing is to understand where you went wrong the first time. Put together a study schedule, think about the areas that need improving and focus on the ones that you struggle with – whether that's a particular subject matter or exam technique overall. Ask your tutors for help with these areas.
And finally, don’t get disheartened. Whether you have received the grades you wanted or not, don’t be disheartened as there is something out there that is right for you and will help to get you on your chosen career path. Don’t panic, look at all your options, do your research and get as much advice as you can. College are there to help.