A-Level results day is rapidly approaching on Thursday, August 17th! As you prepare yourself for the outcome that will guide your path towards university or other pursuits, the weight of expectation may naturally become overwhelming.
Predictions indicate that this results day may be one of the most difficult for students in recent memory. Given the government’s goal of returning to traditional exams rather than depending on teacher assignments, which were used during the pandemic, students need to be prepared that this year’s results will be significantly lower. The government is predicting 100,000 fewer A and A* marks than years previously, which could result in up to 50,000 students missing the mark on their predicted scores.
Where and When You’ll Receive Your Results
Many students opt to find out their results online. This is a good way to give yourself some time to process your results, and your options moving into evaluating your offers. You can find your exam results online by using your examination board’s website.
UCAS receives your A-Level results even before you do, and will use them to update the UCAS Hub – usually around 8 AM – BUT don’t be alarmed or frustrated if you aren’t able to access your offers straight away. Thousands of students across the UK will be flocking to the site, giving it a fair deal of work to do! It can take a while to load, so be patient.
Your school or college should let you know where and what time you can pick up your results. Most schools and FE colleges allow students to collect their results any time after they’ve been announced at 8 AM.
What You’ll Need
On results day, it’s a great idea to have a few things on hand to streamline what can be a stressful experience. We recommend:
- Mobile phone (and charger!)
- Your AS and GCSE results
- Your UCAS letters with your conditional offers, your UCAS number, and the numbers for your chosen universities UCAS and Clearing
- A copy of your reference and the contact details of your referee
- A copy of your personal statement
As UCAS and universities receive A-Level results before you do, you can expect to see decisions from your university choices fairly quickly after getting your marks. You can’t add choices to Clearing until 2 PM, ensuring you have enough time to consider your options before making any rash decisions. Your offers on UCAS may show the following:
- Unconditional- Congratulations! Your spot on the course has been confirmed by the university.
- Unsuccessful- You’ve missed the mark for a spot on this course, but you can now enter Clearing.
- Unconditional Changed Course- The university is suggesting a course similar to the one you applied for, requiring lower marks. You’ll have 5 days to consider this offer, and can go through Clearing if you choose.
If You Don’t Meet Your Offer
Try not to be too disheartened, you are one of a great number of students who fell short of their predicted score. The good news is there are a lot of options for you!
If you missed your offer by just a few marks, it’s definitely worth reaching out to your university of choice. While they’re not obligated to accept you, showing how passionate you are about attending their establishment might go a long way. If you plan to appeal some of your results, let them know.
However, if your first or insurance choices don’t change their minds, the Clearing process is open to you. You could also choose to resit your A-Levels, take a year out of studying, or explore options for apprenticeships.
If You Meet Your Offer
If you’ve met the requirements for your offer(s), you will see your offer change from conditional to unconditional.
You’ll receive details of what to do next from your university or UCAS. You may need to provide evidence of your qualifications.
If You Exceed Your Offer
Some students will find that they’ve done better than their predicted scores. If you’ve gone above and beyond, congratulations! You may feel conflicted about this, and that’s completely normal. Spend some time considering if you’re happy to go for your firm offer, or if you’d like to explore a course that demands higher marks.
You have access to Clearing should you wish to set your sights higher. You’re able to decline your firm and insurance offers to opt into the Clearing process.
How Clearing Works
By effectively matching students with universities that still have available positions, Clearing offers a pathway to students who would otherwise be disheartened. UCAS Clearing isn’t just for students who didn’t initially secure an offer; it’s also beneficial if you’ve had a change of heart about your original course preference. This flexibility allows you to explore new academic avenues and change your mind.
How To Use Clearing
It’s up to you to find a place in Clearing. Start by searching UCAS or university websites for your chosen course, and once you’ve spotted a potential match, reach out to them via phone, and express your interest. If they have an available spot, they’ll likely let you know very quickly whether you’re accepted. Here are some tips for making the most of the Clearing process:
- Draft a list of preferred UCAS Clearing courses and universities, this will help you streamline your search through the Clearing’s list upon release.
- Keep an eye on UCAS Hub. When you’re eligible for a course, you’ll have the option to ‘add Clearing choice’ and confirm your place.
- Explore joint courses for increased choice, rather than limiting yourself to single subjects.
- Vacancies tend to fill rapidly, especially for big-name universities, so make sure you’re acting swiftly and making timely calls.
- Keep your UCAS Clearing number accessible for your phone calls with universities. You can find your Clearing number on your UCAS Hub welcome page.
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