A-level results 2015: The 10 most common questions on grades, Clearing, and university answered

Jack Wallington, community director for The Student Room, answers the most common student questions ahead of tomorrow’s A-level results

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The Independent Online

As almost 260,000 eager students wait for their exam results arriving early tomorrow morning – which will determine the course of their future – some may be seeking reassurance to those all-important last-minute questions.

Here are the most common ones answered to ensure a smooth results day:

1) Is there anything else I should do before results day?

Definitely. Even if you’re feeling confident about your results, you can take away some of the stress from results day by understanding all your options.

Take the time to explore alternatives, such as universities you could apply to in Clearing, or perhaps gap years and work experience options should you choose to take a year out.

I’m sure everything will go well, but it’s reassuring to have prepared in advance for all outcomes.

2) Do I need anything on results day?

A hearty breakfast to keep you going! Importantly, you need your Ucas Track login and password (check it all works).

A fully-charged phone is handy for celebratory selfies as well as making important phone calls should you find yourself in Clearing. In fact, in case you do enter Clearing, have two phones handy: one for making calls and one for receiving them so you don’t block any universities trying to reach you with an offer.

Also have ready a pen and paper for notes, a bottled drink, and a good laptop with Internet access for research.

3) If I don’t get my grades, is there a chance my university will still accept me?

If, on results day, your conditional offer turns into a rejection on Ucas Track, the university will already have scrutinised your results carefully and it’s unlikely they will now accept you.

If you got the grades you need for your insurance offer, then you can accept that; if not, you can choose to enter Clearing to apply to an alternative university.

4) I’ve got the results I need and met my university choice’s conditions – is there anything else I need to do?

Nope! You’re in – relax. Celebrate and await more details from your university in the coming weeks.

5) I’ve actually managed to do better than expected!

Massive pat on the back – you worked hard and it paid off.

If you have exceeded your offer, you can consider Adjustment to ‘adjust up’ to another university with higher entry requirements. Take some time to research a university to adjust to and then give them a call to discuss it. But only confirm it in Ucas Track if you’re completely sure, otherwise you could lose your place at your unconditional offer.

6) I’ve done worse than I expected…

Don’t worry: you still have tons of options ahead of you.

If you missed a place at your firm and insurance university, you can enter Clearing where universities offer the remaining places on their courses.

It’s not as complicated as it sounds. UCAS publicises the list of universities offering Clearing places from 6pm on the day before results day for you to browse through.

7) Clearing has so many options – what am I supposed to do?

Firstly, you need to enter Clearing with an open mind, exploring universities you hadn’t previously considered and being flexible with the course you will do (it’s worth looking at closely related alternative courses).

Start by searching for the course you would like to study and then keep an eye out for similar options. You can now start making a list of the universities that offer places for the grades you have achieved.

Talk through this list with your teachers and other experts. The Student Room is a great place to seek views from a wide range of knowledgeable people quickly, including universities and trained advisors.

8) I only just missed my grades – is there anything I can do?

If you feel your results aren’t quite right and you were very close to achieving the necessary grades to get into your chosen university, you can apply for a priority remark.

Speak to your teachers first to hear their view and to get their help. If they agree, they can arrange the priority remark for you and you can inform your university to make sure they will accept you on a remark. You have until the end of August to complete this process.

9) I didn’t get my firm or insurance and I just don’t know what to do now

You’ve worked hard and making a decision about your future is tough. It’s important not to rush into something if you aren’t sure, and one option is to take some time out of education with a gap year.

You can use it to go travelling and gain life experiences, or to enter the world of work and try out a career. Whatever you choose to do, it gives you some time to reapply next year.

10) I’ve decided university isn’t for me – what else can I do? 

Applying for a job, taking a gap year to go travelling, applying for an apprenticeship, studying different subjects to take your future career in a different direction – there are lots of different routes you can take.

University is fantastic, but it isn’t for everyone and people can be just as successful in the long-run without going.

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