Everything you need to know about GCSE results day

GCSE results day Credit: PA Images

Hundreds of thousands of teenagers across the midlands will be waking up today with a knot in their stomach waiting to get their GCSE results.

We've compiled a list of advice on what to expect and what you can do before and after opening that envelope to try and help settle your nerves.

What does GCSE actually stand for?

General Certificate of Secondary Education. In short, your grades will shape those first few steps you make, post-Year 11 and can make a difference when applying for sixth-form, university, an apprenticeship or a future job.

Before you head out the door make sure you:

Pack a bottle of water and some tissues regardless of what you get these will come in handy! Make sure you're not running on an empty stomach so grab some breakfast before you head to school.

And check you have your mobile so you can give your parents a call and so you can take those all important jumping photos with your friends!

Students celebrate with the classic jumping in the air pose! Credit: PA Images

Where can you find your results?

If you're collecting your GCSE results today it will probably be the first time you've ever picked up formal exam results. Many people advise picking up your results in person from your school.

But if you're on holiday or cannot collect your results in person, your school may post or email them to you. If you're unsure on the day ring your school.

You can also arrange for a friend or family member to go in and collect your results for you but they will need a signed letter saying you’re happy for them to do this and a form of ID to verify who they are.

Opening results with friends can be fun but don't feel pressured to do so. Credit: PA Images

Where should you open your envelope?

Some people like to go off quietly to open their envelope on their own, whilst others will open it in front of friends and teachers. Remember everyone's different, so make sure you're not peer-pressured into doing this.

It's good to have your teachers nearby in case you need their advice but you can take the envelope and open it at home if you prefer.

Oh and you might find there's a photographer or television cameras wanting to capture the moment but again walk away if you're feeling nervous.

Make sure you let your loved ones know your results, they will be nervous too! Credit: PA Images

The big question...what do you do if you don't get the results you wanted?

DON'T PANIC. It's not the end of the world. If you've missed out on the C grade, especially narrowly, you'll want to consider applying for a remark or retake.

English and maths aside, having one or two poor GCSE grades is not a disaster. So if you've managed to get into your college of choice regardless, look forward and don't dwell on your results.

Now might be the time to think about whether going on to further study is the right thing for you. There are others qualifications on offer such as a vocational BTEC diploma or look into the kinds of apprenticeships on offer or training programmes.

How do you appeal?

If you're not happy with an exam result or you think it may be incorrect, make sure you talk to your school or college straight away. Students can’t make enquiries directly with the examination board, so it will be up to your teachers to decide.

Don't panic you can always resit exams or look at the other options available. Credit: PA Images

Be aware of the changes next year:

The new GCSEs, taught from September 2015 with first exams in June 2017, will mean students who sit an exam in the November must have reached the age of 16 on or before 31st August. This will be the first time that an age restriction applies.

How can you retake?

You're allowed to retake English, English language and maths in November, as you need these to proceed to A-level or other studies. With other subjects you'll have to wait until the following June but you may be allowed to proceed with your studies and do revision in the meantime.

This will be up to your sixth form or college to decide, based on your grades and other factors. But you'll need to be committed to the extra study time.

Most importantly good luck!

More advice for students: