student life

Exam Results: What to do if they aren’t what you expected

Exam Results, Nadene Chandler, Student Life, Kettle Mag
Written by nadenechandler

It’s that time of year again, A-Level results day is in less than a week and students are anxiously waiting out the final days before finding out if they’ve done enough to get into their desired university. So here is a list of things to do if Thursday doesn’t bring the necessarily good news that you were hoping for. 

Don’t think everything is over.

Everything happens for a reason, if your results weren’t what you wanted, you should be pleased with what you’ve achieved. I know it’s difficult to think positively, but think about how far you have come! Some students give education up after GCSEs, some even dropped out of sixth form. You made it to the end, and you’ve got yourself some A-levels in the bag! Be proud of yourself, it’s difficult to get this far!

Check your UCAS Track

Some students find out their results before Track actually opens. They’re the lucky ones. If you were supposed to get AAB for your firm choice, and you only got ABB, still check your Track! You never know, you might have still been accepted. It’s certainly not the end of the world if the letters you receive beside your subjects aren’t what you thought you’d get. If you’re in to your firm choice, celebrate all day, and night! 

Speak to a tutor 

If you haven’t done well enough to get into your firm choice or even your insurance choice of university, make sure that you speak to a tutor back at your sixth form. They’ll be able to advise you, and will even help you to call up institutions. Every little helps, and they definitely know your strengths – potentially better than you do yourself in this situation!

You’re in! But not for the course you applied for.

Yes, there is such thing. You can log into Track on results day and see that you’ve been unsuccessful for your firm choice. Say, for example, you applied for English and Creative Writing, and the same institution may offer you a place on their Creative writing course instead. This often happens if you don’t reach the right grade for one of the subjects that you wish to study on a dual honours degree. Don’t be disheartened! This is a good outcome? That way, you’ll still be at your dream university, and will be studying a similar subject to the one you applied to. (Plus many institutions will let you switch your degree course if there is space when you get there! All is not lost!) 

Check out Clearing

Clearing opens from 00:01am on results day, so there is plenty of time to check that out before the morning. Just be careful that you don’t follow in my footsteps and panic if your firm choice is in clearing! Even students who are 99.9% certain that they’ve done well enough to get into their Insurance choice, like myself, or maybe even their firm choice will still have a little nose on clearing. You’re bound to be wide awake and counting down the hours, so why not help make the time go by and save yourself time in the morning by noting down possible universities, their courses, their phone numbers and the entry requirements. That way, as soon as the clearing lines open in the morning, you’ll be there to grab the best place possible.

You can check out clearing in the morning, but clearing places are added throughout the day so keep yourself updated. There are courses on clearing with both low and high entry requirements, so there’s something for everyone!

Stay on for another year and reapply for next year.

Staying on for another year gives you the chance to spend time to reach your desired grades. Please be wary that some universities and courses aren’t fond of this, and don’t like students re-sitting a whole year. So it’s best to check with them before you decide to do this. At least that way, you can reapply for your dream course again! A lot of students would rather go to uni a year later so they can get into their firm choice, rather than settling for somewhere else. 

Don’t let anyone bring you down

Don’t receive your results and think that your parents are going to be disappointed in you, that your friends will laugh at you and that your teachers will turn around and say “told you not to aim so high” – everyone is going to be super supportive. Some things just aren’t meant to be, maybe you really struggled in an exam that was worth 60% of your A2 subject grade. Not everyone is going to find an exam easy. 

No matter if you made it into your firm choice, insurance choice, secured a place through clearing, are taking a year out or have completely decided that university isn’t for you. You should still be happy that you made it through the two horrendously stressful years of A-levels! 

Good Luck to everyone receiving their results on Thursday from Kettle Mag