There is huge pressure on students these days to get good GCSE and A level grades in order to give them the best chance of getting a great career in the future, but the pressure on parents can also be intense. You don’t have to sit the course personally or slog through the revision; you are spared the sitting of the mocks and exams themselves but unfortunately, you are not spared the fallout from the examination results. Even if you do not have to open the envelope when it falls on the mat you are still going to feel as sick as your child if the results are less than expected or hoped for. You need serious careers advice. You have to share the disappointment, but be objective and have the correct careers advice at your fingertips.
You may be lucky and have some prior warning; it is all too easy in an examination to fail to interpret what a question was asking. Many students do not read what the question is asking but rather what they want to answer. Your child may already realise that they have done that.
But all too often there is no warning. Assuming that your child has done the course and completed the revision he or she should have attained a pass mark. However, there are lots of reasons why they might fail. The first step is to have an honest conversation with your child as to the real reasons why they have not got the grades expected.
This conversation may actually yield surprising results: some children will fail because they have done too mush revision. Our brains can cope with a great deal of knowledge, but unfortunately it has a limited attention span when it is processing information. Sitting and studying for twelve straight hours can be counter-productive.
To have studied efficiently, it is necessary to have enough sleep and a balanced diet. Some aspects of studying can be boring and seem pointless.
If the course was too academic, it may be that there is a more vocational hands-on approach that would suit your child better.
It may be that the exam results were not good enough for their first choice for higher education, but may meet the requirements of the second choice. Refer to UCAS if you require more options for higher education. Grades simply not good enough will mean either a re-sit in January or June or a career path rethink. Remember that a re-sit will only postpone the problem if your child is not studying the right subjects in the first place. Speak to Career Analysts if your child needs help in picking the right subjects.
If there are good reasons why your son or daughter has not acquired the necessary grades at A level, why not speak directly to the university and see if they are willing to hold the place open. They may offer a conditional place for the following year (conditional upon certain education requirements being met)
A gap year can provide time to consolidate options and develop essential life skills. Sometimes opportunities to go to university can be deferred. It is no accident that many distance learning opportunities start their academic years in February.
All is not lost because examination results are not up to scratch. What is necessary is to make informed decisions quickly and make the best of different education or career choices.