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Thursday, 3 September 2009

After your A level results: popular questions

Not getting the results you expected can leave you unsure about what to do next. This page has answers to some common questions from students who've just done A levels and equivalent exams.

If you don't get the exam results you expected

What should you do if you don’t get the grades required for your university course?

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.

Track allows you to check how your university applications are progressing. To access it, you’ll need your UCAS application number and a Track username and password. These will be the same username and password you used to apply to UCAS.

For more information on Track see ‘Changing your UCAS application’.

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.

What are your options if you do better than expected?

If you not only meet all the conditions of your firm choice, but also exceed them (for example, by getting higher A level grades than you need), you can use the new UCAS ‘Adjustment’ service.

‘Adjustment’ gives you a short time to search for other courses while holding on to your original, confirmed place.

Accepting an offer from a university or college

Can you reject a firm offer of a place to take up an insurance 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As you originally made a commitment to your firm offer, you can’t simply decline your place at this stage.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, then your insurance choice can make you an offer through Clearing.

You can’t accept your insurance offer without being released by your firm offer.

Clearing

What happens if you apply late or don’t get any offers?

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 (for example, because you didn't get the required grades). Clearing is also an option if you decide to turn down the offers you receive.

Can you accept more than one course through Clearing?

No. You can speak to as many universities and colleges as you want to during Clearing, but you can only accept one course. Before you do, make sure it’s the one you want.

When does Clearing take place?

Clearing runs from mid-July to mid-September.

Re-sits and re-marks

Can you repeat your AS/A levels to improve your marks?

Seek advice from your teachers at school first, and speak to your parents. You can also talk over your options with a Connexions adviser.

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 do you 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: you can’t apply directly to an awarding body.

Gap years

What are the options for taking a year out?

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'.

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