A Level Results Day: Everything You Need to Know
Amy studied at the University of Bristol and is our revision blog guru. She only graduated recently so understands the pressures of being a student better than most, and is here to share her wisdom so that you revise effectively, smash your exams, succeed at school and write cracking university and job applications.
The summer sun may have melt away the icy memories of exams but at the back of your mind you always know the day is coming: A Level Results Day.
The newspapers will be filled with photos of proud students jumping in the air and clutching their grades, as A Level students all around the country find out their marks. Although you’ll have experienced Results Day at the end of your GCSEs, A Levels are different as, in many cases, a university place hinges on your grades.
It may feel impossible to prepare for the day when you can’t predict what’s inside that envelope. But just like the exams themselves, having a strategy and properly readying yourself beforehand will reduce stress and help you get the best outcome.
The day before A Level Results Day
1. Have a plan
It’s important not to let yourself be sucked in by results day stress but it’s equally important to be prepared for whatever may happen. It’s not jinxing anything to consider your Clearing options and it may prove invaluable later down the line.
The summer break will have given you some much-needed distance from exams and time to think about the future and what you want. Still looking forward to going to your first choice of university, or do you prefer your insurance choice? And is your planned degree the best course for you, or have you recently been considering other options? Going to university is an exciting step but it’s also a big commitment and you want to be sure. Doing research on other courses and institutions that you might approach in Clearing can be invaluable.
2. Get some rest
Results Day will be a little stressful and emotional, so treat it like you would an exam and get some proper rest the night before! Try and have a relaxing evening and do something you enjoy that takes your mind off results: after all, worrying won’t change anything and you shouldn’t punish yourself out of fear.
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On A Level Results Day
There’s nothing worse than uncertainty so finally finding out where you stand and being able to take the next steps is a good thing.
1. Check UCAS Track
From 8am, UCAS Track will display whether candidates have achieved the grades needed to take up their place. Track tells you if your place is confirmed at either your firm or insurance university; however, not the individual grades you received.
It may also read ‘changed course offer’ – that’s if you didn’t meet your original offer but the university has offered you an alternative, such as a foundation level course, which you accept or decline through UCAS. Track might also continue to show your offer as ‘conditional’ and if this is the case, you should contact the university directly to find out why.
2. Collect your results in person from school
At any rate, Track is not enough and you need to collect your A Level results in order to have the full information and make any decisions. Your school or college will already have told you when and where you should go to get your results and the process of collecting them. If you can’t be there on the day, there are ways of nominating a substitute in your place or being read your results on the phone, but these need to be organised beforehand with the school.
So, you’ve finally got your results. What do you do?
If you get the grades
Congratulations! It’s always fantastic when hard work pays off and you get what you were hoping for. Now’s your time to celebrate and to start looking at those freshers guides in preparation for the first term.
Learn more about what to expect when you start uni here.
If you get lower grades than predicted
It’s disappointing to not get what you want, but if you received lower grades than you expected or needed for your first choice, it’s by no means the end of the world. In some cases your first choice university will accept you anyway (and you should ring them to ask) but equally, your lower grades may still meet your insurance offer. Going to study at your insurance university isn’t ‘second best’ – you chose it for a reason and there will be many opportunities there you wouldn’t have had at your first.
If you can’t meet the offers of either of your named universities there are still many options. There is a negative perception of clearing, but it’s really a system matching students without offers to the unfilled spaces on courses right across the UK. That means you can apply for different courses than those you originally applied for (although you can only apply for one at a time) and it’s organised through Track.
Clearing doesn’t just happen on Results Day, but extends beyond it, so don’t panic and feel you have to apply in 24 hours.
Other things to consider: when checking your results, you’ll find out your percentage marks for each module as well as your overall grade. If a particular exam took you off course or was just shy of a grade boundary, it may be worth considering a remark or a resit. Ask your teachers about this as they’ll know whether this would be worthwhile.
If you get higher grades than predicted
If you get higher grades than you were predicted that’s amazing news, and testament to all the effort you put in during the long revision period. It means you can start university with even more academic confidence but it also gives you another choice.
There’s a UCAS process called Adjustment which runs from Results Day until August 31 for students who meet the grades of their first choice offer. It allows you to apply for courses at universities which may have higher grade offers that, when applying, you didn’t think you could meet. The good thing about Adjustment is that you won’t jeopardise your original firm place by investigating other options, so you won’t lose out.