External or Private Candidates are particularly vulnerable on results day as they are usually “on their own”, without the back-up of an exam officer and a set of teachers who know them well and can offer advice. Also, exam officers are frantically busy with their own students at this time and may not be happy to explain things to someone who is not one of their own students.
AQA provide a useful guide to explaining your results which can be found on their website (www.aqa.org.uk)
If you are a Private Candidate who has submitted coursework as part of your exam, unlike pupils in school, you will not already know your coursework mark and it will not be identified separately on your “Candidate Statement of Provisional Results”, otherwise known as your results slip. All you will see on results day is the overall grade that you have been awarded. This can be frustrating and confusing, particularly if you have not done as well as you expected and it is easy to become annoyed and frustrated. However, there are things that you can do which may help.
Always look at the results slip carefully, since for Private Candidates, a common cause of a lower than expected grade is an administrative error at the exam board which means that your coursework mark may not have been included in your grade. If you see the hash symbol “#” next to the grade it means that part of your mark is missing. This is usually the coursework and (as long as you did your coursework and submitted it correctly) it can easily be rectified. You just need to calmly show your exam officer your results slip and explain that there is a problem indicated. If you are an Oxford Open Learning or Home Schooling student, then contact us, as your Student Adviser will also provide reassurance and help.
If there is not a hash symbol (or possibly an “X” which indicates absence) then unfortunately the chances are that you really did not do as well as you expected. In this case you need to stay calm and consider your options in consultation with other people, especially your tutor and/or Student Adviser. Please remain polite and always remember that it is not usually anyone else’s fault, even though you may want to take your immediate frustration out on someone.
For most students everything goes well and results day is a great relief, if it doesn’t then try to stay calm, there are people to turn to even though your exam officer may be very busy.
Oxford Open Learning