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What to do if your results don't go as expected

11 August 2020

Results can throw up surprises and with this year’s exams being cancelled due to the pandemic, we are aware that things may have not gone according to plan. 

Perhaps you’ve not quite got the results that you need, or maybe your hard work has paid off and you’ve done much better than you expected.   

Either way, it might be that you need to discuss your options for next year because your plans might have changed now that you have results.  

Here’s our step-by-step guide for what to do if your results weren’t what you were expecting: 

  1. Keep calm, don’t panic 

You open your results and see grades you weren’t expecting… but not in a good way.  

Panic sets in.  

The plans you’d set out for September might not happen. You start to worry about what you’re going to do next.  


Yes, it’s disappointing to not get the results you were expecting. But there are always options open to you and things are never as bad as they might first seem. 

  1. Talk to us  

At Activate Learning, we have a team of specialists who are on hand to give you the advice and support you need to make the right choice when it comes to your education.  

If your exams haven’t gone as you expected and you’ve not got the grades that you need to get onto the course you’ve applied for, then come and speak to us.  

In August and September, we are hosting a series of Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) events virtually and at our colleges (for individuals who cannot attend virtual sessions) to help people make the right choices for them. You can find out all of the options available, choose the right programme for you, and complete your enrolment for September! 


If you have previously studied with us and are unhappy about your grades you can find out more here about advice and how to appeal.  

  1. Consider your English and maths grades 

If you’ve not got the maths and English grades that you require for the course you’ve chosen to do, you can re-sit these alongside your studies in your new programme at any Activate Learning college.  

We also offer a one-year, full-time GCSE programme at our colleges in Reading, Bracknell and Oxford for those who are ready to move on from their school settings and start life at college, but can’t yet progress to a Level 3 programme.  

  1. Be prepared to think about ALL your options 

Sometimes we might suggest a different option based on the results you have and whether you’re prepared to re-sit your exams.  

This might mean looking at other study programmes or considering one of the many excellent apprenticeships that we offer through the various businesses we work with.   

Be prepared to consider your options and come into speak to us with an open mind about what you can do next. It might be that you end up doing something very different to what you set out to do in the beginning, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t be as enjoyable or affect your chances at a great career in the future!