A Level Results Day

A Level results day falls on Thursday 17th August 2017, and for many students, it will be a daunting highlight of their summer. Some students will be dreading it, and others excitement as they find out what is next in store for them after the day ends. A Level results day can either set in stone plans that individuals have been thinking about since they sent off their UCAS application, or alter those plans slightly, and in some cases greatly for others. Although it is an important day, regardless of what you receive, or what your plans are, there are many options available to all students.

First and foremost, students should feel proud of what they have achieved and spent two years working towards when they pick up their A Level results in August.

Do I need to take an exam for my A Level?

Although not all individuals enjoy taking and preparing for exams, the majority of A Level qualifications require students to sit at least one exam during the summer term (learn more – exam revision tips). This exam showcases what information that person can either remember or how well they can utilise the skills they have learned from that subject. A number of exams a student has to take is dependent on the subject, with some requiring one or more, and others asking the students to submit a portfolio of coursework alongside it.

New A Level subjects for students to take in 2016-2017

Students who are starting their A Level courses this autumn, and will take their A Level exams in Summer 2017 or 2018 are able to study new subjects in the following areas:

  • Ancient Languages
  • Art and Design
  • Biology
  • Business
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Dance
  • Drama and Theatre
  • Economics
  • English Language
  • English Language and Literature
  • English Literature
  • Geography
  • History
  • Modern Foreign Languages (French, German and Spanish)
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Religious Studies
  • Sociology

The above subjects may already be implemented in your sixth form or further education course. It doesn’t mean that these are completely new, in most cases, it is when the examining board has changed the syllabus, or the government want the subjects to be more available across the country. Therefore, a subject could have already been at your college, but the syllabus has changed slightly, or your sixth form has a new subject, such as dance.

For more information and changes to GCSE, AS and A levels use link provided.

What do I need to do before A Level results day?

A Level results day is a big day for most 18-year-olds, as this one day is what they have been working towards for two years! Firstly, students need to fully comprehend all of their options before picking up their results, or a slight panic or dread may take over. If you enter that hall with the knowledge of what is available to you beforehand, you will not only feel much more confident and reassured, but you can then swiftly move on to the next step.

Get plenty of sleep for A Level results day

Try to get a decent night of sleep before the big day. It can be really tough to get this part sorted as your mind is fully awake, or there are so many thoughts floating around in your head. If that is the case, and you know you will find it troublesome to fall off to sleep set up a routine the week before. A routine is great for the mind and body, as we as humans love a good routine! Try to go to bed at the same time every day, and repeat the things you do before bed each and every night. For example, read a book, have a hot drink and listen to music for 20 minutes in bed. Once you set up a routine, it will be harder for your mind and body to break against it.

Eat breakfast on A Level results day

If you can, try to eat something before you pick up your results. If you are not much of a breakfast person, you don’t have to force yourself to eat a full english before heading out of the door. Just a small thing to eat before you leave will make you feel better before picking up your results(view our guides to healthy eating for students and living a healthy university lifestyle). Also, you don’t know what is in store for you when you open up that envelope. You could be wanting to call up universities and going through Clearing (learn more – what is Clearing) straight away, or going out with your friends celebrating. There are so many options and scenarios, and most of the time they can count on your friends and people you know of what you end up doing. Therefore, you might not be able to eat for a few hours, and in the hot summer sun, you need to be careful.

How to prepare yourself for A Level results day

It can be really tough to think about, but you should think about results the day before it arrives (learn more – what to expect on results day). You don’t want to wake up on A Level results day, and not understand where you are going or what any of your results and offers mean (learn more – understanding university offers. You will only be putting yourself in a more difficult position. Sit and read what each offer means from universities, what Clearing and Adjustment are and what results you need to go to the university, apprenticeship (learn more – what is an apprenticeship) or job that you want to after.

What do I need to bring with me on A Level results day?

Students can bring whatever they need on A Level results day, but we have some handy suggestions that will help you whatever your results may be.

  • AS results
  • Mobile phone
  • Notepad
  • Pen
  • Calculator – if your phone doesn’t have one
  • UCAS letter – with your UCAS number and conditional offer grades
  • Contact details of your firm and insurance university offers
  • Copy of your personal statement
  • Copy of your reference, and their contact details
  • Download the University Compare app from the iOS or Google Play store

Now that may seem like a big list of things to take, but most of the suggestions are the papers that you should put together so that they can be easily reached. Although the list is long, it is preparing you for all scenarios that can occur during results day. You may need to enter Clearing, or need to call up your university, so having all the details is handy.

However, if you want to do all of that at home, you can do. Just bring a notepad and a pen to write down helpful advice and information from your teachers and career advisors.

What will A Level results day be like?

A Level results day will feel just like AS level results day, except for the fact a lot more is riding on these letters in that envelope. It will feel busy, – the busy periods are in the morning and then in the afternoon when students go with their parents or groups of friends – and you will see most of your teachers and tutors floating about. The pick-up point for your grades will most likely be in the same place as your AS grades, either in a hall, canteen, or gymnasium. 

My A Level grades are better than I expected

Well done! Achieving higher than your predictions is fantastic, and there are more options for you. Students can either accept their firm offer, their first choice for university and feel happy about it. Or, there is the option of choosing an entirely different university and/or degree course that requires higher grades which you now have, check out the highest rank universities, or you can search for universities in particular areas that may interest you by using our interactive UK university map. Students wanting to change their decision because they received better grades than expected can go through Adjustment (learn more – what is Adjustment?).

My A Level grades are what I expected

Congratulations! It isn’t easy taking A Levels and achieving what you expected or what you needed is still fantastic. Now you can look at your university offers and decide which university to go to and what offer to accept. You may find you start to like your insurance offer greater after a few university open days during the summer, and that’s okay too. You don’t have to stick with the first choice if you don’t want to.

Also, if students want to go through Clearing as they have changed their mind regarding the university or degree, they can go through the same process as other students. However, students should be aware they will have to state a reason to their firm and insurance offers and complete the admin process through UCAS Track (learn more – what’s UCAS Track). Universities can take up to two weeks to release their offer and for you to receive your Clearing number. If students know prior to results day that they have changed their mind about that specific university or degree (check out – subject degree gudies) they should start this process as soon as possible, so they can get onto Clearing as quickly as they can.

My A Level grades are lower than expected

All is not over in regards to your university, life and career. Although it may feel terrible to get grades lower than you thought, there are still so many options for you. Firstly, don’t panic or cry – if you really want to you can do that later! – You have work to do! Students who receive lower grades than predicted can enter UCAS Clearing and find themselves a university and a degree course.

The first thing to do is for students to check their UCAS Track  as their university may have accepted them regardless of the lower grades. Or if you only received a lower grade in one subject. Students should call their firm choice if they still want to attend that institution, and speak to an advisor because they may still accept you after talking with you (learn more – what are the different types of offers from universities). You can explain why you think the grade was lower than expected.

Next, if you don’t want to go to your firm choice, or your offer has been withdrawn from the university, students can enter Clearing. Students are able to find out which degree courses and universities have spaces available, call them up to speak to someone, and that university can offer you a space on the phone. However, students should be careful during Clearing, as whatever course they place on their UCAS Track is the one they HAVE to accept – there isn’t much give at this point. But students don’t have to accept the first offer they receive. Once you receive an offer, spend the time to think about it, Google where it is, if it is close enough to try to visit for a few hours!

For more information for students, teachers and parents, visit our Clearing page.

Am I able to have my A Level exam remarked?

Students are able to have their exams remarked, but there are many factors to consider before requesting this. Some schools will pay the fee required to have your exam remarked, and then they can be reimbursed from the examining board if there is a change to your mark, or not, if the mark appears the same. Also, the school may ask the student to pay for remarking – so ask all the questions you need to before going head first!

Remember, most importantly, your grade can change in either direction, your grade can go up or down. This means you could end up being worse off and having a lower grade if you have your paper remarked. Students should only have the grade remarked if they were extremely close to the higher grade boundary or feel that you should have received a better mark, or even if your teachers read your paper and agree with you!

Students shouldn’t have their paper remarked when they received the right grades needed for university or a job, but are just unhappy about the grade – because it won’t affect your next steps in any way. Students should discuss the options with their teachers before going through with having their exam remarked.

Am I able to re-sit my A Level exam?

Re-sitting A Levels isn’t as easy as you may believe it to be.

If a student wants to retake exams during a gap year, its essential to research into this first, as it will take preparation and planning, it would be useful to use gap year agencies to help manage the gap year.

Studying for your A Level again will be just as hard – or even harder – the following year. If you do decide to work, then studying for your A-Level will be tough to do alongside a full-time job. Also, it will be extremely unlikely to study for the A Level during your degree, as you degree is more important and overreaches the A Level anyway.

Students should consider re-sitting their A Levels if Clearing doesn’t work out for them, and they decide to take a gap year (learn more – should you go on a gap year?). However, there are lots of options and scenarios to think about, and individuals can speak to their teachers, family and personal tutors about the possibility or re-sitting their subject.

Am I able to spend an extra year at Sixth form or Further Education College?

Students can decide to spend three years at their further education college or sixth form, but this decision should be made months before the end of the second year. This decision also requires a lot of thought and planning. Not all sixth form or colleges offer students the chance to stay on an extra year, and this could be down to courses available and a number of new students they receive each year.

Students may wish to stay on for an extra year because they started new AS levels during the second year, and wish to continue them on to receive full A Levels. It could be their career path has changed dramatically, and they need different qualifications, which they can either study for the AS and A2 at the same time, or because they need to re-sit an exam. There are many reasons to study a third year at college, but not many students do it.