GCSE Results Day 2019 – How are students feeling?

85% of students are feeling worried about GCSE Results Day 2019

Thousands of UK students are getting their GCSE exam results this week. But how are they feeling about GCSE Results Day 2019?

We’ve spoken to over 2,400 students to gauge student sentiment across the country. In this blog, we’ll share proprietary research on how students feel about exams their post-16 pathways.

How do students feel about GCSE Results Day?

The good news is over half of the respondents said they were feeling positive about Results Day. However, 42% of these students were also feeling a little worried. Students told us they were nervous about not getting their desired grades, but that they had done their best. A certain amount of exam-related anxiety is normal, but 52% of respondents said they were feeling very worried about their results.

student group

Mainly, students didn’t want to let themselves down (82%) or let their families down (72%).

“There was a lot of pressure put on me in school and during exams, so now it feels like I’d be disappointing people including myself if I don’t do well.”

“I am afraid that I would have put in so much time and effort revising and tried so hard only to have failed all of my exams. I feel a pressure to impress my parents, my school and myself and have been told consistently since I can remember by my school that I have to do well in my exams in order to succeed.”

teaching class

Some were afraid they would not get into the sixth form.  Others worried their grades would be too low to study their preferred A Levels.

“I worked very hard for exams and feel like there’s a lot of pressure for me to do well to get onto my A-Level courses.”

“It determines your future. If you fail your GCSEs you will not get into a good college and university, so you will not be able to access your career plans.”

Where do students go for support if they are worried about their exams?

Encouragingly, a high proportion of respondents said they felt their schools (84%), families (81%) and friends (77%) were supportive during their exams.

“I know I worked hard for my exams and I thought most of them went well. No matter what my results I know I did all I could, and my parents know that too, so I don’t have to worry about how they’ll react. I am looking forward to seeing whether my revision paid off.”

Although 26% of students said they would speak to no one, 17% said that they could get support from their teachers. Concerningly, 37% of those who said they were feeling ‘very worried’ about Results Day also said they wouldn’t talk to anyone about it. This suggests that the most emotionally vulnerable students are also the least likely to seek or receive support.


Did students do enough revision to prepare for their GCSEs?

Our research showed that Year 11s are less motivated to revise for exams than Year 13s. This makes sense when you consider that universities primarily base their offer decisions on A-Level predicted and achieved grades. That said, 80% of Year 11s said they felt either ‘quite motivated’ (44%) or ‘very motivated’ (36%) to revise. This shows the majority of GCSE students are taking their studies seriously.

guy studying

“Some people did more revision than me, though I worked as hard as I could whilst maintaining a healthy balance and happiness. I will be disappointed if I don’t achieve my target grades.”

“I am excited to get back the results that I think I’ve done well in, as I worked very hard, but I am worried about a few where the exams were more difficult.”

Are students aware of all the post-16 training and study options?

Unsurprisingly, nearly all the students we surveyed (97%) were aware that they could take A-Levels after GCSEs. By contrast, only a small percentage of students were clued-up on alternative post-16 pathways like BTECs, apprenticeships or work-based training. 43% of students said they didn’t know much, or they knew nothing at all, about BTECs. A further 45% said the same about apprenticeships.

When it came to professional training routes awareness levels were even lower: 45% didn’t know anything about vocational qualifications and over half (54%) had never heard of traineeships. These are significant findings for apprenticeship and training providers.


    If you found this GSCE Results Day 2019 blog useful, you might also enjoy reading our Options 2018/19 report  on how students think, feel and behave. You can also read more student insight blogs and research.

    Did you know that we can carry out bespoke student marketing research or campaigns for you? Call 0800 999 3222 to speak to our team.

    Research and data sources

    We teamed up with TSR Insight, our market research consultancy service to send an online survey to members of the Student Room community who had just completed Year 11 or Year 13. 2,477 community members responded, 1,045 had just completed Year 11.