Although most students tend to focus on A-Level results day, AS Levels results day is just as in important. For some students receiving their results for their AS subjects allow them to understand what courses they should focus on, what exams they may need to re-sit or even what subjects to drop altogether. The AS results are released in the summer during the middle of A Level subjects – halfway through the course.
The mark that individuals receive on AS results day, is seen as a standalone and recognised qualification. These grades that students receive during their first year will contribute to the full A Level grade. Some students may not have taken AS-level exams, as their college or further education institution chose not to enter them for the exams.
Not all students have to take an exam for their AS subjects, especially if their college or sixth form didn’t enter them to the exam (check out our exam revision tips) Also, some changes to the A Level scheme will mean students may not take any exam at all until their last examinations at the end of the second year. Other courses may focus more on coursework and projects that will count towards their final grade qualification.
This means there may be new course curriculum and exams at your further education college for your subject this year. Some institutions may not change their courses that much if the examining board didn’t introduce any drastic changes. But this news could also mean there are new and exciting courses at your local college that were not available before.
Similarly to GCSE results day, students need to ensure they are at their best when it comes to their AS results day. Especially as this is such a stressful time for young people and they have had to wait the entire summer to find out how well they revised in May.
Sleep is one of the most important things to help you feel prepared for the day ahead, and if students do not get sufficient sleep they may find it can affect them greatly. Feeling tired and groggy could make you emotional, moody, sleepy, angry and not being able to process the information properly.
Eating breakfast – although some may not do it – can also help on AS results day. Students may find that they spend a long time at their further education college or sixth form on the day and don’t have time to grab any food (view our guides to healthy eating for students and living a healthy university lifestyle). The heat and lack of food can make you feel ill during the summer. Also, many friendship groups decide to venture out and socialise that day, also meaning students may not be able to get anything to eat. Fuel your body, and fuel your soul!
Apart from getting some good sleep and a nutritious breakfast there are a couple more tips we would like to share with you (learn more – what to expect on results day).
Ensure all of your electronics are charged up properly for the day and take extra care regarding your phone! You will no doubt be calling every single person in your address book to tell them how you did, so make sure it has enough juice!
Lastly, give yourself a pep talk the night before and even the morning of AS results day! Talking through the options that may occur with yourself before it happens can help you keep a level head throughout the day. Understanding the different options and alternative pathways that you can take before you receive the good and bad news will able you to react maturely to your results.
If students find the grades they receive on results day are better than expected are in a really good position to analyse what AS levels to continue on to A2 level (view our advice on what A-Levels should I study). Some students may only be taking 3 A Levels and their AS-Level results will just show that the hard work they are putting in is paying off. Other individuals may be taking 4 AS levels and use results day to decide which grade to drop. If you receive good grades across the board, you can then choose the worse graded subject of your 4 courses to drop, or even find you are in a good position to drop the one you like the least. As you have received better grades than expected the decision is entirely yours.
Also, receiving higher grades than what was predicted is a good indication of what level you currently working on, and make it easier on yourself when it comes to A2 exams. As the majority of A Level subjects are made up of the AS and A2 year marks and exam grades, meaning the better you do in the first year, the less pressure you put on yourself for the second year. Furthermore, students taking 4 AS subjects and receive decent grades may even be able to continue to take those 4 subjects to A Level instead of dropping a subject. As the grades will show that you can handle the pressure of studying 4 separate subjects. Obviously, if your A-Level results are better than you expect you’ll be eligible for Adjustment (If you find yourself asking what is Adjustment? click here) when it comes to the all-important UCAS application.
Students who achieve the grades that were predicted should be proud of themselves, as it is still a good accomplishment. Studying at AS level isn’t easy, and managing the gap between GCSE and A Level can be hard to deal with for young people. Hitting targets is just as important as aiming to excel when it comes to A Levels, especially when each year counts towards your final A Level grade. Therefore, students who get the grade they wanted/needed will ease off the pressure for themselves during the second year.
For some students, the results may be lower than what they were expecting on results day. Firstly, students shouldn’t panic when they read different marks in that envelope. It may seem as if it is the end of the world – but it really isn’t. There are many options for individuals who received lower grades than expected, from remarks, re-sits, dropping a subject or taking the subject again completely. When it comes to your A-Levels and you’re applying for university, in this instance, you would need to look into the possibility of Clearing (learn more – what is Clearing).
Students are able to have their AS exam remarked if there is a probable reason to do so. You can look at the marks for each module, and what the next grade boundary would have been. For example, if you received a D and had 58 marks, and a C grade is 60 marks then you may want to get the paper remarked. Students should go through their sixth form or further education college to have their paper remarked, as they are not able to set this up themselves. Those who wish to have papers remarked will need to act quickly and should speak to their personal tutors or teachers on results day, as some deadlines for remarks are the 20th September (learn more – appeal an exam result).
Also, the sooner you make the request for the remark, the quicker you will receive your marks back, which can influence what subject you want or need to drop. There is a fee for remarking an exam, usually around £40 per module paper, and is typically paid for by the school or college. If there is a change to your grade the institution tends to be refunded.
However, don’t forget that your grade can fluctuate up and down when it is sent to be remarked. This means you might not have your grade go up, but down! If you are just unhappy with your grade, but find you don’t need a higher mark to enter the A2 level of your course or for university (check out what UK universities are available and what courses they offer), it might not be the best option to have the paper remarked.
Re-sits are for students who either want more time to study for their exam, find that the grade was much lower than expected, or that they don’t want to have their paper remarked. Re-sitting an exam gives students a chance to completely re-take the AS exam either in the following January or June. This will be decided either through the exam company or for your school, as it is still a controlled exam they will need to have invigilators and follow the correct exam conditions for all original and re-sit exams. Therefore you might not be able to re-sit your exam until the following summer.
Students should consult with their tutors and teachers regarding re-sitting an exam, as it isn’t necessarily the right decision. If a student doesn’t require a higher mark to reach the A2 level or university then it may not be in their best interests, especially if the re-sit occurs during the summer, the same time as their A2 exams. Having to revise for an AS exam alongside A2 tests increases the pressure and stress a student is under and can affect your other grades.
There are many factors regarding which subjects to continue onto an A2 level, and the decision should be a personal one reflecting that individual. If you already know what degree and/or university you want to study, you should have researched and found out what the UCAS entry requirements are for that degree course. Choosing the right university and course is essential, as it will the place and subject you will be studying for 3 years minimum!
When you know the entry requirements it should be easy to know the important subjects to study at A2 level. However, if you only need one or two subjects for your degree and are left with a personal choice, stick to what you enjoy and the subject you excel at most. Candidates also should look into their insurance universities to see what they are asking for from students, as there is a possibility that you might be studying there.
Students could also study the subject that is more relatable to their other subjects, such as if they need Accounting for their degree course, keep on the Banking or Mathematics course as they compliment each other. That being said, it will also depend on your future job prospects, if you plan on becoming an Accountant say, you will need to have an idea now so that you are able to take the appropriate degrees. Obviously, for something like Accounting, you will need to take either an Accounting degree or a Mathematics degree.
Another important factor to help to choose which AS level to drop is whether or not you enjoy the subject. If you are taking Film Studies (Which will obviously help you with a Film degree) but found it isn’t what you enjoy studying and do not need it for the next stage – employment or university – then you don’t have to keep it. Even if you do well in a subject, don’t continue studying it if it makes you really unhappy. Your happiness is what is important and you should study subjects that keep you passionate and enthusiastic.
Also, students in most cases are able to completely drop and pick up a new subject, if it doesn’t harm their employment or university plans. If you find that you despised two of your four subjects at AS level you can drop them and take up a new one. Some sixth form or colleges don’t like to do this as it can put more pressure on the student or worry that it is a big risk. However, if you are still taking all the important subjects and can argue your case for starting a new subject it shouldn’t be a problem.
It can be really tough for certain students who find that they did well and enjoyed all of their AS level subjects. If a student is studying 4 AS subjects they may be able to continue with all 4 subjects to A2 level as they can prove that they can handle the academic pressure. However, some students take 5 AS subjects in the first year with the intention of dropping one and should be advised not to take more than 4 A levels in the second year. Studying 4 subjects at A level is very demanding and is more than the standard of taking 3 A levels. The pressure will increase, especially during exam season with having more exams to prepare for and more coursework to complete. If you don’t want to drop any of your AS subjects you should speak to your tutor and teachers, as timetable issues may arise which can stop you from doing so.
Choosing to study 4 or more A Level subjects could do more harm than good at the end of your A2 year. As there is more studying, pressure and time-management needed to make it work, students can find that they receive slightly lower grades across all of their subjects and that all or one greatly suffered. Whereas students who take 3 subjects are able to allocate their time and manage their revision more effectively, especially if students want to work part-time whilst study.
Furthermore, as mentioned above, if you need to resit your AS exam during A2 exam season, taking an extra A Level and studying for an AS exam will make your study leave hell! Additionally, if you are hoping to study English Literature at university, fighting to take your Photography or Graphic Design A level course won’t help your chances when it comes to being accepted into that course. Universities don’t appreciate just the number of qualifications that a candidate has, but whether they are relatable and if they received a high grade from it.
Also, some universities, such as UCL, University of London or the University of Cambridge, place a note next to subjects that they consider unrelatable or ‘soft’ (their words not ours!). For example, if a student is applying to study Economics, but hold a Media Studies A Level, they may ask you about it and your decisions behind it.
If students still feel unsure about what subjects to carry onto an A2 level, they should speak to their personal tutors, course teachers or their favourite teachers for advice. After this, if still feeling uneasy they can speak to the universities they are thinking about attending the following year for their degree course for advice (learn more – visit university open days, this can help you decide what institute you attend and what course you will study for more help view, what should I do at a uni open day). Careers and admission teams are really helpful with prospective students and can even talk to you about what that university likes to see in their students to help you with the decision. At the end of it all, the decision should solely be yours alone. You should seek help from your loved ones and academic tutors but don’t let them force you into studying a subject that you don’t want to, or at least enjoy on some level. Perhaps you want to go university but want to stay local, or you want to move away and experience something completely new, by using our interactive university map of the UK you are able to see what university and courses are available in particular areas.
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