A-Level Results Day: What three students wish they had known

Be prepared, retain some perspective and do not panic, say students who've been through it all

Wednesday 17 August 2016 17:38
Thousands of students across the country await their exam results this month
Thousands of students across the country await their exam results this month

A-Level Results Day is just around the corner and it’s all too common to feel under pressure. Three former students share via The Student Room the tips and advice they wish they’d known going into Results Day.

Zoe McMillan, 26, University of Southampton (Achieved grades)

“Having always been academic, I felt a lot of pressure around Results Day and can still remember waking up with that nauseas feeling in my stomach. One of the biggest learnings for me from getting my results was to actually have a bit of faith in myself.

“On collecting my envelope, I slipped away to a private staircase to open my results alone because I was worried that I wouldn’t have done as well as I wanted… it turned out that I got the best grades I could have hoped for but ended up having to be excited and celebrate on my own. I didn’t trust myself to be in the crowd of celebrating students and I really feel like I missed out.

“Another tip I would give is to write down three rational reasons on a scrap of paper why perfect grades aren’t the be all and end all before you go to get your results. This way if you do feel disappointed, just take a look at what you wrote earlier on and remind yourself of what grades really mean and put them into perspective.”

Luke Salter, 21, University of Sussex (Missed grades, still got accepted)

“The university I wanted to go to was the University of Sussex to do a history degree. To get there, I needed AAB.

“When Results Day came around I managed to get BBB. I was disappointed as I hadn’t met my target and thought I would have to try and get in through Clearing.

When UCAS track eventually came online I was greeted with the news that I had still been accepted! The relief of the stress that had been building up the day before results (or should I say the week) was amazing.

“My first piece of advice would be to make sure you get enough sleep the night before. You may feel too stressed out to get to sleep but it is crucial that you’re operating at full capacity on the day. Otherwise, when you need to make calls to Admission teams, you will be bumbling all over the place. What I told myself was that the next day was just that, the next day.

“Be ready for every possibility. I can’t stress enough if you feel like there is even the slightest possibility that you will need to go through Clearing then have the numbers for the universities you might want to go to on hand. Write them down on a notepad, and make sure your phone is charged. This will give you a head start on the thousands of students who will be doing the same thing.

“And lastly, don’t panic. It’s easy enough to say and my past-self would be shouting ‘hypocrite’ at me right now, but it was something that I wish I could have drilled into myself back then. I remember shaking due to the excitement and nerves. Whatever happens, there are always options. It’s not the end of the world if you go through Clearing. Yes, it is disappointing, but you can move past it.

“Show the admissions teams what a fantastic person and student they will be receiving. To do this, you have to stay calm.”

Paul Cernicharo-Terol, 30, University of Aberyswyth (Nearly went through Clearing)

“My biggest piece of advice for choosing to go to uni and particularly going via Clearing, is to make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. University is an important, challenging and hugely fun 3-4 years of your life. It’s vital that you go because it is what you want, not your parents, teachers, society or a smoking hot brunette called Elin.

“I went to university in those halcyon days of £1000 fees, I was accepted into Aberystwyth to study International Relations and was all set to go… then results day came along and in the euphoria (sic. beers) during Results Night out, after months of flirting, I finally kissed Elin who was going to Swansea. The next day I decided to call Swansea and apply via Clearing - they offered me a place with an hour to consider and let them know.

“I spoke with a good friend of mine who told me that I was being ridiculous and to stick with my first choice of Aberyswyth. For many reasons it was the best decision I made. I had the best time at Aberyswyth and I would’ve always regretted changing university for a girl especially if it had ended badly.”

"My advice? It’s your life, your degree and your future. Whatever you choose be it university, apprenticeship or a gap year – do it because it’s what you want.”

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