A Guide to A-Level Results Day

Education News, Tips for Students
Mary Lonsdale
A-Level Results Day is both exciting and nerve-racking for many students.

One of the most important dates in any student’s life, A-Level Results Day can be both an exciting and nail-biting experience – particularly if you’re waiting to see if you have achieved the grades necessary to proceed to your chosen university. With so much to absorb, it can be tricky to know what to do once you’ve received your results (especially if these have come as a shock).

In this blog, we’ll give you all the information you need to ensure your A-Level Results Day goes off without a hitch.

What to do if… you exceed expectations

First of all: congratulations! If you receive your grades and have been pleasantly surprised, you should take a moment to feel very happy with yourself. When you’ve had time to digest, it’s worth considering your next move carefully: you may have some new options.

If you’re happy with your firm choice of university, there’s not much to do (see below for more). However, if you missed out on an offer from your top choice university, or would like to see if new doors are now open to you, you might want to try Adjustment. Our helpful guide to Adjustment has more information about this process; but, in brief, you have a limited time window in which to contact other universities and find out if places are now available on your desired course. You can only accept one adjustment offer, and your UCAS track will need to be updated accordingly.

Remember there’s no harm in exploring this process, as your firm choice offer will be held for you until you receive – and accept – another concrete offer.

What to do if… you achieve your predicted grades

Achieving your predicted grades is a big achievement, and you should feel free to enjoy time celebrating with your family and friends. Fortunately, there’s not much that will require your attention in the next few days: you need only keep an eye on your UCAS track and make sure it has updated to reflect your results. Look out for the postman, too, as you should receive a confirmatory letter from your chosen university.

What to do if… you don’t get the grades you’d hoped for

If you get a bit of an unpleasant shock when you open your A-Level results, please don’t panic. Even if your grades don’t meet the minimum requirement stipulated by your chosen university, you have plenty of options available to you. If you really want to go to university, there may still be a way for you to attend this year; if not, you could take a year out and do something exciting whilst you re-apply.

Here are a few of our recommendations:

Contact your first-choice university

This is the first -and most important – step to take; because even if you have not quite made the grades outlined in your conditional offer, your chosen university may still offer you a place. Contact the admissions department as soon as you possibly can and explain why you think they should give you a chance. Practise what you’re going to say before you call, and remain calm and patient. This is a very busy time of year for universities, meaning that all members of staff are extremely busy. If you can make your case as clearly and succinctly as possible, you have more chance of making a good impression.

Try clearing

If you are keen to attend university in the autumn but would consider a different college or course, clearing might be the best option for you. Check out UCAS Clearing for more information: they’re the main body overseeing the clearing process, and it’s easy to use their facility as they already have your details on file. Clearing is available from July to October, but don’t be tempted to delay: places get snapped up quickly, so contacting UCAS in the near future will increase your chances of a successful match.

Consider A-Level retakes

If your heart is set on a particular university or course, your best bet might be to delay your entry to university until the following year and retake your exams in the meantime. Whilst waiting for another year might feel disappointing, it’s not always a bad thing: it gives you more time to plan, to experience new things, and save money – if you so wish.

Study abroad or gain real-world experience

One option that not many students consider is the possibility of studying abroad. Though your A-Level results might mean you’re not eligible for studying at your top choice UK universities, there may be attractive options for you abroad. Studying abroad gives you the chance to enjoy a first-rate education whilst broadening your horizons, experiencing a new culture, and learning a new language.

Alternatively, you may wish to spend a year working abroad or in the UK. Gaining experience in an area related to a future career or course of study, or working abroad (perhaps in a vocational field), can enhance your prospects going forward: not only does relevant experience look great on your CV, but it often appeals to both university tutors and future employers.

However you’re feeling on results day, do be kind to yourself: take time to think carefully and calmly about your options. Seek advice from a tutor, teacher, or advisor, or chat with a family member or friend about how you’re feeling and what your plans might be.  Whatever you decide, the future is bright!

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