If you sat your A-level exams this year, results day is just around the corner. Whether you felt all went according to plan, you studied and managed to remember everything on the day of the exam, or you’re unsure about how you have done and feel worried about what the future will bring, here are some tips on how to prepare yourself for 17 August, and what to do, no matter what your results.
Preparing for the day
Know your options
If you’ve done your A-levels and plan to go to university, watch your UCAS Track so that you’re prepared on results day to talk about your options.
Find out whether you need to confirm your place at university if you get the results that you need. What happens if you are a few points short of what you need?
UCAS are hosting a web chat on Wednesday 16 August at 4pm (UK time) to answer any questions you might have in advance of results day.
You don’t want to be rushing around in a panic on the morning of results day.
Find out everything you can from your school or college:
- When can you go in to collect your results?
- Arrange how you’re getting to school and who you’re going with.
- Write down your UCAS login details so you can log in quickly and track your offer.
- Make sure you charge your mobile phone!
Get a good night’s sleep before results day itself. Whatever the result, it’s going to be a big day, with lots of emotions and expectations.
On 17 August
From 8am you’ll be able to see your university confirmation as the UCAS Track goes live. The UCAS contact centre is open from 7.30am to 7pm on results day (call 0371 468 0 468) and you can contact them on social media from 6am for enquiries.
Your marks won’t show up when you log into UCAS, so you still need to get those from your school, but Track will update to say whether you’ve been accepted or not.
If you’ve got the grades you needed, you will be able to see your confirmation letter. Before you get carried away with the celebrations, be sure to read this letter as it may contain information on what to do next, such as confirm your place.
Today is not just another day. It's a new opportunity, another chance, a new beginning. Embrace it.
If you’ve just missed your grades, check to see if your university will still accept you, or even offer you an alternative course. You may also be eligible for Clearing, which gives students an opportunity to find a place on university courses that aren’t full up yet.
If so, you can start searching for another course online and submit your choice into Track. Clearing starts on results day on 17 August and doesn’t close until late September.
Some universities (but not all!) will let you defer your offer until next year. Or you might want to decline it, if you decide it’s not right for you after all.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions – at this stage there are no silly questions. If you’re not sure what your results mean, or even think there might be a mistake, ask your tutor. Or if you’re having doubts about whether the course you’ve chose is right for you, talk to the admissions office about deferring to take a gap year or to get some work experience in your chosen field.
Figure out your next step
Are you going to retake any tests and try again next year? Maybe you’d like to take up the opportunity of an apprenticeship or a foundation course.
The key to making an effective decision is knowing what all the options available to you are. Speak to your school careers adviser or teachers and they’ll help you figure out your next step.
It’s easy to say, but whatever your results are, whether you’re planning on going to university or not, you are not defined by your results.
Yes, this is an important day, and it’s great for those who get the results they wanted, but there are lots of options for a future career with or without university.
It’s what you do with your results that matters, and what decisions you make next.