student life

Understanding Clearing and Adjustment

Receiving A-Level results different to what you were expecting can either make you smile or frown. For those with a big, smug look on their face, you may have achieved higher grades than what you were expecting. For those who can feel their heart sinking, their grades are below what they wanted.


Never fear though, UCAS has you covered in either situation. Here are Clearing and Adjustment explained…


Clearing is a service offered by UCAS from July to September each year. Through Clearing, you can search and find courses with unfilled spaces. This is an excellent option for those students who have applied for university late, didn’t recieve any offers or their results have not cut the mustard.

UCAS has a handy search tool for those looking for course. It allows you to tailour your course results by course, provider and/or location. 

If you’re eligible to use Clearing, discuss your options with unis and colleges who have vacancies. If they verbally offer you a place you can add the Clearing choice in Track.

If you havent received the results you needed, you can use Clearing on results day. Information about free places on various courses is updated regulary directly by univeristies and colleges. 


UCAS advises that, if you do not get the results you want, you should speak to an advisor at your school, college, etc. Let them talk you through what your next step will be and perhaps consider differnt subjects or alternative courses.

Once you have found the courses that might be right for you, get in touch and see if they will accept you.

For more indepth directions and to use Clearing, visit the UCAS web site.


Adjustment is also offered by UCAS and is for those who have achieved better than they had expect in their exams and now have the opportunity to aim for a different course or university.

This service is available from results day until 31 August and is optional.


You may find that some courses will be full, but it is always worth a shot to see if there are any free spaces. If nothing catches your eye through Adjustment, you will still keep the course you secured on results day.

You only have five 24 hour periods (including weekends) to use Adjustment. This time begins when your conditional offer changes to unconditional offer or on results day. 

Remember to ask for advice and do not make a verbal acceptence of an offer unless you are certain it is the right one.

For more indepth directions and to use Adjustment, visit the UCAS web site.

What do you think? Have you been through the Clearing or Adjustment process? What advice would you give? Have your say in the comments section below.