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Preparing For A-Level Results Day

Published: Wednesday 7th August 2019

For many students, 15th August 2019 will be one of the most important days of their life; it’s A-level results day. The day when every A-level student finds out if they secured their first choice university place, or if they’ll be going to university at all this year. Clearly, all of this can have a huge impact on your future, particularly when it comes to career success. So, understandably, it can be a very anxious time – even if you’re confident about doing well.

Female A Level College Students Opening Exam Results

Be prepared

One thing that can put your mind at ease is looking at all the options open to you depending on the results you expect to receive. Do your research for the best and worst-case scenario. You may discover that the options are better than you expected, which can make you feel more relaxed.

On the day itself, make sure you’re prepared the night before. Charge your phone and make sure you have your UCAS ID number/login details at hand, as well as your Clearing number for UCAS Track. You’ll also need the clearing phone numbers for universities you’ve had your eye on. Some universities might need to your personal statement, so make sure you have it with you.

After that, it’s all about getting a good night’s sleep. You’re going to need it! The UCAS call centre opens at 7.30am. Set an alarm to give yourself time to shower, dress and have breakfast.

Inspirational motivational quote. If you fail to prepare then prepare to fail.


How did you do?

Track goes live at 8am, but you won’t be able to see your grades there. You’ll need to pick them up from school. However, some universities may email you before this time to confirm whether or not you have your place. If you’re on holiday, you can arrange for someone to collect them for you, but you’ll need to make sure you’re contactable to go into clearing.

Later in the morning, UCAS Track will tell you if you’ve got your first choice and you can view your confirmation letter. If this is you, congratulations! If it isn’t, don’t panic, you have options. If you’ve missed the grades for your first choice, the university may show leniency if the course isn’t over-subscribed. And if you’ve just missed the grades narrowly, it might be possible to get a fast priority to re-mark – which may, or may not, reverse the decision. Speak to your school’s exam officer about this.

If you’ve done better than expected, you may have the opportunity to ‘upgrade’ your initial choice in a process called Adjustment. Look at the UCAS course finder to see if there any other vacancies that might be better for your needs. You can also call universities and have a direct conversation.

Boy hiding behind the back bad test results.

Clearing and other options

If your results are much lower than expected, you may have to go through Clearing. Don’t worry, you’re not alone: 14% of all university applicants go through Clearing. UCAS will give you live updates on what’s available, so stay online and research the universities and courses that interest you. You can even call them directly.

Of course, if you’ve missed your grades and no alternative courses/universities appeal, you could consider a year out, to travel and have a rethink, or to re-sit your exams. You might even consider a different qualification. Some students opt for an alternative route into their chosen career, such as an internship, apprenticeship, or entry-level job. That’s entirely up to you.

If you choose to begin your job search on A-level results day, a good place to start is with a search on Zoek. You’ll get first-hand access to over 180,000 UK jobs from all different industry sectors. Simply register today and start applying.

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