Picking up your GCSE results can be just as worrying for you as collecting A-level results, and not just for you.
How important are GCSE results?
GCSEs are the first big educational gateway you need to get through. For most Level 3 courses, whether they’re vocational or academic, you’ll need to have passed GCSEs in English and maths at grade A* – C. Most university courses will require you to have these basic qualifications too, so they are likely to be the subjects you’ll be most worried about passing.
What shall I do after GCSEs?
Your plans after taking your GCSEs might include taking a vocational course of study, doing A-levels, doing a combination of A-levels and vocational study, or doing an apprenticeship. We’ve covered all these options in the results Day Guide but let’s start with those of you moving on to A-level study.
Do I have to do A-levels?
What are you studying for, ultimately? I mean, sure, you might have a goal in mind, like getting a place at university but you’re also studying to increase your choices and put yourself in a good position to go into the right job or career when you finish formal education.
There are plenty of ways that you can prepare yourself for work besides doing A-levels and going to university, so you shouldn’t feel that A-levels are the only option. Your school might offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) as well as NVQs or National Diplomas and if they don’t then your local college of FE will. The other option is an apprenticeship, which combines part time study with employment and on the job training.
Are your a-level subject choices the right ones?
If you are going to be studying A-levels with a view to going to university, it is really important that you check the entry requirements for the course and universities that you are interested in and make sure that you are studying the right A-level subjects to be accepted onto that course. Worryingly, recent surveys show that a third of university students wish that they had chosen different A-level subjects.
If you are not yet sure what you want to study at a higher level, it’s a good idea to take at least one of the facilitating subjects, such as English literature, history or maths.
Understanding the new A-levels
Most A-levels have been reformed. The biggest change is that AS-levels have been separated from A-levels. This means that the marks that you gain in your AS exams will not count towards your final A-level grade, so you can’t underachieve at AS and hope to make up the marks in your second year.
Are you ready for A-levels?
Most students find the leap from GCSEs to A-levels a hard one. There’s a lot of reading, a lot of thinking and a lot of writing. You’ll also be expected to master referencing your work properly.
All of this is a great challenge of course, but if you want to get a head start, it will never hurt to get novels and textbooks early and start having a read in the run up to September.