There is nothing more nerve-racking than waiting for exam results, though competing for an Olympic gold is certainly up there (not that we would know). This year, A-level results day falls on the 10th of August. Even if everything goes to plan, the day is extremely nerve wracking and exhausting. We’ve compiled a list of our top ten tips to make the day go as smoothly as possible – fingers crossed.
The night before:
- Make plans
Make plans with family or friends to distract yourself. You could go to the cinema, a restaurant or order a takeaway and watch a film. Frankly do anything that is going to stop you thinking about that dreaded 8:30am email.
- Have the numbers of your firm and insurance university on hand
If you take one piece of advice, let it be this. Have the numbers of both your firm and insurance helplines written down. If you find you need to call them, then it is very stressful to search for the number on the day. Take 5 minutes to do it now instead!
- Know what time UCAS will be updated
Officially, UCAS updates at 8am. However, it often updates before that. You can either start checking at around 7:30 or tell yourself that you won’t check until 8. Either way, UCAS may be slow, so be patient.
- Have your UCAS login details written down
It is not unusual for UCAS to crash and log you out so make sure you have all your details written down.
- Understand what UCAS track will show
In the heat of the moment, it can be hard to understand what UCAS track is actually telling you. UCAS will say one of the following:
i) Unconditional (‘Firm choice’) – this means that you have secured the grades to go to your firm choice university
ii) Unconditional (‘Insurance choice’) – this means you have not met the offer for your firm choice but have met the offer for your insurance
iii) Unsuccessful – this means that you have not secured the grades for your firm or insurance choice
iv) Unconditional changed course – this means that your firm or insurance university have offered you a place but on a different course. You will need to accept or reject this in Track.
- Understand the clearing process
You may think you won’t need to worry about the Clearing process. But, it can put your mind at rest if you have a plan in place. Start by looking at whether the universities you applied to in UCAS have places available. Write down the clearing phone numbers for a few of these universities and have them on hand just in case. Here is a useful clearing guide to find out more.
- Understand the appeals process
If you are not happy with your grade, you have the right to appeal but must do this through your school/college. If your university place is dependent on your appeal, then you can apply for priority appeal. You must let your university know that you are appealing so that they can hold a place for you. Always refer to your school’s guidance on the appeals process.
On the day:
- Celebrate no matter what
This has not been a normal year. No matter what your grades are – celebrate! You made it. Take a moment to enjoy the fact that you have finished your A-levels.
- Prepare to call your firm choice
If you do not meet the offer for your firm or insurance choice by a few marks, you can call them and they might still take you.
That being said, most students think that just calling is enough. If you’re not ready to plead your case then calling may not get you very far. Ask to speak to admissions, stay calm, be ready to sell yourself. It’s not always easy and you’ll probably need to fight your corner.
To prepare for this you can make a list of:
- Your GCSE grades
- How far off the target grades you were
- Other achievements that make you a great candidate
- The reasons why you want to study that particular subject
- Your UCAS ID number
- Open your results at school or college
Teachers are probably your most useful resource on results day. Open your results at school (or in the car outside) in case you need their help with appealing a grade or need advice on clearing.
So, if you follow these simple tips, whether you end up popping champagne corks, or incessantly refreshing the Clearing website, you’ll be prepared! We wish you every possible success on 10 August and for the future whatever your results. Good luck!