8 Productive Ways to Spend Your Summer Holidays (After GCSEs)

You studied hard, poured over textbooks and set texts, and sat the exams. Now what?

The summer after your GCSEs can seem endless, and it’s easy to start feeling adrift. The enticing freedom can soon lead to boredom, so it’s a good idea to have a plan. 

With that in mind, here is our quick guide with ideas on what you could do with your time after the summer GCSEs.

Spend Time With Friends 

After your GCSEs, some of your friends may be going to different colleges or undertaking apprenticeships, so this may be the last time you are all together.

Take this time to make memories with your school friends. These can be big or small events, go to a music festival together, visit a theme park, plan a picnic or organise a game of football in your local park.

Whatever interests you share, now is the time to fully embrace them.

Get a part-time job 

While some activities are free, others require some funding. You may have an allowance from your parents, but the best way to ensure you have money in your pocket is to find a part-time job.

Look for help wanted signs in your local businesses such as shops, cafes, and restaurants.

Think outside the box, is your local theatre or library hiring? Are there dogs in the area that may need walking? Could you cat-sit while someone is away? 

Neighbours with children may welcome the chance to have an evening out. If they know you are responsible and take good care of the children, they may recommend your babysitting services to their friends.

Offer to do odd jobs for your neighbours, such as cleaning cars or cutting the grass. You may also get paid for doing extra jobs at home.

Find Work Experience 

If you have an idea of the career you wish to go into or even if you’re not sure, this is a good time to find work experience

Many businesses and organisations are happy to have enthusiastic helpers join them in the Summer holidays to learn the ropes. 

Work experience allows you to see first-hand how a particular business or organisation is run. You can learn new practical and interpersonal skills and make contacts.

It also looks fantastic on college or apprenticeship applications.


Earning a wage is great but making a difference to your local community (or elsewhere) brings its own rewards. In the Summer after your GCSEs, you will have plenty of time to get involved in local community groups or volunteer further afield. 

From litter picking and big brother/sister programmes to The National Trust, many organisations are crying out for volunteers to help them continue their work.

As with work experience, you can upskill, while making contacts and adding to your CV. 

Voluntary work shows potential future employers that you are willing to work and aren’t just in it for the paycheck. 

It can help set you apart from other prospective candidates and give you a head start in adjusting to a new environment. 


Speaking of new environments, now is an excellent time for a change of scenery. 

This may be your first opportunity to travel beyond a typical family holiday and if circumstances permit it, leaving your hometown, even for the day can give you a whole new perspective. 

If it is a family trip, ask for a little more independence so that you can do some solo sightseeing and really get a feel for the place and its people. 

Have a go at speaking at least a few words of the local language and head to spots off the beaten track. Sites such as Tripadvisor can help you find locals’ tips to get beyond the typical tourist experience.

Getting outside of your natural habitat can help you gain confidence in your abilities, and you can see firsthand other ways of living and working.


You may be thinking: ‘Oh please, no more PE!’ but it’s important to stay active.

Many young people in the UK stop exercising when they leave secondary school. It’s a big problem for girls, in particular, who tend to be less active than boys of the same age.  

Don’t worry, we’re not talking about running marathons here – unless that’s your thing, in which case, go for it!

The good news is you don’t need to do much to make a big difference to your overall health.

Taking a brisk 10-minute walk every day can make your heart healthier, build stamina and burn calories, but you can also ride your bike.

There are lots of fun activities that count as exercise. 

Go for a hike or tackle the nearest climbing wall. Shoot some hoops with a friend, take a frisbee to the nearest green, or visit a nearby trampoline park. Swimming is another good way to exercise if you are not naturally athletic.

As long as your body is moving and your brain is engaged, you’ll feel better for it in the long run (no pun intended).

Take Up a New Hobby 

The Summer holidays are also a great time to join a class. You may find local venues that offer classes, such as languages, dancing, cooking, martial arts, DIY, and many more. 

You can also enjoy solo hobbies, such as painting, gaming, crafts, and fishing.

Read books for fun rather than credit, and make something with your hands without worrying whether it’s good or not. 

Some hobbies may become lifelong passions, while others may not last beyond the Summer.

You could learn a new skill or just have fun with a new group of people. One of the benefits of classes is they tend to have a diverse mix of attendees. Interacting with people outside your usual age bracket and background is beneficial to your growth as a person. 


If you like to be ahead of the game, now is the ideal time to start preparing for college or an apprenticeship

If you are going for an apprenticeship, find out when the next intake is and start working on your application. This may involve some of the tips above, such as gaining relevant work experience or volunteering.

You may also need to build a portfolio if your apprenticeship is in a creative field such as photography or digital design.

Going to college? See if you can find out your assigned texts and get a head start on your reading. Buying supplies, such as stationery, can also help you feel ready for the next stage of your education.

Feel like you may have performed poorly in one of your exams? Firstly, don’t panic, you may have underestimated yourself. But if you want to be prepared, find out when resists will be held and hit the books again. 


Finally, don’t forget to relax and unwind a little. We’re not talking about spending every day in bed or in front of the TV, but preparing for your GCSEs can be intense. You’ve worked hard, and you are allowed to relax now that they are over. 

You can’t change the results, and you won’t find out for definite how you’ve done until GCSE results day.

You’ll be back to studying soon enough, so take some time to rest your mind and body.

Good luck with your results!