What to do after your A level results
Sometimes students don't get the grades they had hoped for or do better than expected. Below is some information if you didn't get the results you expected.
Missed the grades
It’s worth checking if the institution is willing to confirm your place anyway, especially if you only just missed the grades. You can use the ‘Track’ service to see whether your place is confirmed. If you only narrowly missed the conditions of your offer, ring the university.
What Track is
Track allows you to check how your university applications are going. To access it, you’ll need your UCAS application number and a Track username and password. If you completed your application online, your Track username and password will be the same as those you used to apply to UCAS.
If you are unsuccessful with your first choice offer, but meet the conditions for your second choice, you will be accepted there.
If you miss out on the requirements for both your offers, you'll have another chance to get a place - see the section on 'Clearing' below
Accepting an offer from a university or college
Each year some applicants pass their exams with better results than expected and this may mean that some will have not only met the conditions of their choice but will have exceeded them. From 2022 onwards students can opt for self release. To change your university choice after receiving your results you should Self Release on the UCAS Hub, which will decline your firm and insurance choices immediately and enter you into Clearing.
Before you use Self Release always check and receive assurances from other universities and courses that an alternative place in Clearing is available. You should also check about important issues like student accommodation, including available places on or close to campus should you choose to go to an alternative university.
Taking up your insurance choice instead of your firm offer
As you originally made a commitment to your firm offer, you can’t simply decline your place at this stage. If your firm choice has already confirmed your place they will have informed your insurance choice - and your insurance choice may have offered your place to someone else.
Check that your insurance choice is willing to consider you through Clearing, then approach your firm choice and explain the situation. If your firm choice agrees to release you, UCAS will send you a Clearing Passport. You’ll then need to send this to your insurance offer to confirm the place. You can’t accept your insurance offer without being released by your firm offer.
If you apply late (in most cases after 30 June for courses starting in September) you’ll automatically be entered into Clearing.
You can also use Clearing if you don’t receive any offers, or your offers have not been confirmed, if you don’t get the required grade for example. Clearing is also available if you decide to turn down the offers you receive.
You can speak to as many universities and colleges as you want to during Clearing, but you can only accept one course. Before you accept any offer, make sure it’s the one you want.
Clearing runs from mid-July to mid-September.
Re-sits and re-marks
Seek advice from your teachers at school first, and speak to your parents. The next step is to contact the admissions tutors for the courses you are applying to.
Remember that they may ask for higher grades than their standard offer on a re-sit and may want all your grades to come from one sitting. There are plenty of university and higher education options available - be sure to explore them all.
How to get your AS/A levels re-marked
Discuss it with your teachers as soon as possible. The institution where you took the exam has to decide whether to apply for a re-mark on your behalf. Each awarding body will have on their websites the procedures and deadlines.
If you are still unhappy, your school or college can appeal to the awarding body and if necessary, to the Independent Examinations Board.
Before deciding to take a year out, be sure to check out your plans with the admissions tutor of your chosen course.
If you decide to go ahead, options include doing voluntary work, working abroad and taking a course. For more ideas, see planning a gap year.
Next steps after your A level results
For further help and advice, watch the video below from the Careers Service.