A-Levels: What Happens if You FAIL?

What if, after all of the hours of studying, the pain of the exams, and the agonising wait for results, they aren’t what you hoped for?

Keep in mind that it’s not the end of the world if you miss your place at university or even if you fail all together. It’s heartbreaking, but try to keep an open perspective on the future ahead.

Here are some things you can do right now instead of beating yourself up:

UCAS Track

At this point, you’re probably quite familiar with UCAS, as you will have used it to submit your applications to your university choices. Head over to the site after you’ve received your results, as sometimes universities will still offer you a place if you weren’t far off your predicted results. Alternatively, they may offer you a place on a different course. Think carefully before accepting or rejecting any offers! Don’t rush into any decisions based on your disappointment with yourself.

If your choices have rescinded your offer and cited your marks as the reason, there’s likely very little you can do to change their minds. Occasionally, you’ll hear a success story of admissions staff letting a begging student in. We won’t tell you it’s not worth a try, but make sure not to get your hopes up too much (or harass staff!) as you’ll likely have better luck attempting entry through the clearing process.

Starting the Appeals Process

If you disagree with your marks, the best thing you can do initially is discuss it with your teachers. Book a time with them to go over your marks and discuss whether they agree they reflect your work in the subject throughout the course. You might find that they don’t disagree much, or maybe they’ll encourage you to contest the score. Regardless, the choice is up to you, and chatting about it will give you a sense of your potential for a successful appeal.

You can then request an appeal from the exam board. You’ll have to contact your school or college to find out what their appeals process is, as many of them will contact the exam board on your behalf.

Consider Clearing

You may believe you’ve already found your perfect universities—the ones you applied to initially. However, more students than you think end up at their university through clearing, and nearly all of them love their experience, even if it wasn’t their original goal.

So if you’re dead set on attending university this year, clearing is your best bet! Start by using the UCAS search engine to find courses that suit you (and will accept your marks). Reach out to the institutions offering the course and ask if they’ll accept you. If they say yes, be sure to confirm how long they’ll hold that place open. Usually, universities will extend an offer for two days, giving you some time to consider your options.

The good news is that you can collect as many verbal offers as you want. So have a sift through and explore all your options. It’s a bit like window shopping for a degree! Once you’ve made a decision, update UCAS Track using the codes given to you by the university, and voilà! Congratulations! You’re going to university.

Resit Your A-Levels Online

If you still have your heart set on your original university choices or need specific A-Level marks for other opportunities, there are many options for you to resit them. You can contact your school or college and ask them to talk you through their resit process, and they will help you.

If you’re feeling a sense of dread about returning to college without your classmates or want to start working alongside your studies, you’re able to study online.

Here at Association of Learning, we make sure our students are supported throughout their online A-Level course and guide them to achieve the best A-Level results possible for them. Our team of dedicated exam experts takes the time to give you in-depth feedback and tips you can use during exam season, and we’ll even help you book your exams at the most convenient location for you.

Studying online gives our students the flexibility to study on their own terms, alongside full-time jobs, gap years, and whatever else they set their minds to. Without the stress of classrooms, deadlines, or set schedules. We truly believe that learning doesn’t have to be stressful and that the best marks come from being supported and moving at your own pace.

To find out more about studying A-Levels online, check out our online A-Level courses. 

Have any questions? Reach out using our contact form, and we’ll get back to you ASAP. 

For more A-Level advice, student success stories, and help guides, head to our blog.


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