Pupils are today waiting for the GCSE results that can set them up for A-levels and university or a life after school.
For the first post-pandemic exams, pupils had some advance information on topics and grades were to be marked more leniently.
But it is still a high-pressure end to school life for some pupils that will be a day of emotion — joy, misery or somewhere in between — depending on their grades, the grades their friends get and what comes next.
What time are results released?
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, pupils will receive their GCSE results from 8am today, Thursday, August 25.
Some BTEC qualifications and Tech awards will also be released.
How are results released?
For most pupils, it is a case of going to their school and picking up a sealed envelope containing their results. Just rip it open.
Some pupils have arranged to have them delivered online or for a friend to pick up their results.
How have pupils been graded?
It was back to traditional exams being marked by graders, but there has been a nod to the difficulties pupils have faced while learning during the coronavirus pandemic.
Pupils need fewer marks to make a grade. A pupil close to the grade boundary is likely to be marked up to the higher one.
Some courses gave advice on recommended areas of revision and some parts of the curriculum were cut.
Overall results are expected to be lower than the past two years — when grades were based in teacher assessments — but higher than in 2019.
What are the grades?
The numbered system, introduced in 2018, remains.
- 9 — High A* grade
- 8 — Lower A* or high A
- 7 — Lower A grade
- 6 — High B grade
- 5 — Lower B or high C
- 4 — Lower C grade
- 3 — D or high E
- 2 — Lower E or high F
- 1 — Lower F or G
- U — Ungraded
Can pupils appeal?
Yes, the first step is to talk to the school, which can contact the exam board to ask for a review.
If a pupil is still not happy with their grade, they can appeal to exams regulator Ofqual.
BTEC candidates can appeal directly.