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A Level results day 2018

A Level results day is nearly upon us and it's time to prepare - make sure you know what steps to take no matter what results you get with our complete guide...

a level results day

The anticipation of finding out whether you've made it into your university of choice can be tough to deal with over the summer months. We know exactly how you feel, and rest assured you're not going it alone.

Although you might want to put it to the back of your mind, it's best to think about the different outcomes you could be faced with and what each of them mean.

Whether you get the grades you need, do better than expected or fall a bit short, this guide will tell you exactly what your next steps should be...

When is A Level results day 2018?

This year A Level results day is on Thursday 16th August 2018, and results will be available from 8am.

If you live in Scotland, SQA results day falls on Tuesday 7th August, and results will be available from 9am.

Check with your individual school or college about exactly what time you'll be able to pick up your results - some open their doors as early as 6am!

You won't be able to see your A Level results on UCAS Track, but you will be able to see your university offer status - which will give you a good idea of how you've done. Track normally updates around 8am, but can be slightly later.

How to prepare for A Level results day

nervous for results day

Credit: Disney

You'll most likely have to travel to your school or college to pick up your results envelope, so make sure you've made travel arrangements in advance. The last thing you want is to be stranded on results day morning!

You might be trying to block it out, but you need to make sure you're prepared for any eventuality. Make sure you take a few vital things along with you such as a pen and notepad, your UCAS number, contact details for your firm and insurance offer universities and a copy of your personal statement. Some tissues might come in handy too (whether the results are good or bad).

Even if you're confident you've made the grade, do take some time to do a bit of research on other universities or courses you might be interested in just in case you have to apply through Clearing.

That way you'll have some contact numbers ready and a contingency plan to put into action.

What if you're away on A Level results day?

We'd strongly advise not making any plans to be away on results day, as this can make things like applying through Clearing quite tricky. But if you're not going to be able to make it, most schools and colleges will have a procedure for this.

You'll have to speak to your own school or college for exact info, but you'll likely be able to collect your results online or over the phone, or they might be sent out to you in the post. Alternatively, you might be able to send a designated family member to collect them in your place.

For security reasons, you might need to provide some information in order to access results, so make sure you have your UCAS number, date of birth and postcode to hand.

Planning on going to some university open days? The costs can stack up, so plan in advance to try and visit a couple in one day.

A Level results day outcomes and next steps

There are a number of different things that could happen on results day, and it's important that you're prepared for all of them. This table give you a quick rundown of the most likely outcomes:

UCAS Track StatusWhat it meansNext steps
Unconditional offerYou got the grades and have been accepted into one of your chosen universitiesCelebrate! And start preparing for uni
ClearingYou didn't get the grades for your firm and insurance choicesStart researching alternative courses, and call up unis. Head to our Clearing guide for more info
Unconditional changed courseYou didn't get the grades for your chosen course, but the uni have offered you an alternative course insteadCarefully consider the course you've been offered. If it's not right for you, decline and start looking at Clearing vacancies
Conditional offerYour unis are still considering whether to offer you a placeCall your unis to get an update on the situation

You meet your firm or insurance offer

exam results success

Credit: NBC

If you get the results you need to meet your firm or insurance offer then congratulations, it's time to pop the champers!

The university must honour their offer and cannot turn you down if you achieved the necessary grades. If you log into UCAS Track you should see the offer change to 'Unconditional' - meaning you've met the conditions and your place is now confirmed.

If you miss the grades for your firm choice, but you do get the grades for your insurance choice, you will automatically be accepted into your insurance choice university - you don't have to do anything.

Your confirmation letter will be on its way (this will be handy when you get round to opening a student bank account).

If you can't contain your excitement about starting your uni adventure, start preparing what to take to university now!

You don't get the grades for your firm or insurance offers

didn't make the grades

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If you missed out on the required grades for both your firm and insurance university choices then don't worry – all is not lost! You can still apply for a space through Clearing – our Clearing guide has everything you need to know.

Before you do that, you might want to call up your firm and insurance universities to ask whether they would still be willing to offer you a place, especially if you're just one grade or a few UCAS points off. They might offer you a place on an alternative course instead.

Remember to sell yourself and come up with a list of reasons why you would be perfect for the course - focus on other strong grades, extracurricular activities or relevant work experience.

You get an offer for a different course

unconditional changed course

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When you check UCAS Track you might have a 'Changed course offer'. This usually means you didn't meet the grade requirements for the course you applied for, but the university has decided to offer you a place on a different course instead.

This won't be automatically confirmed - you'll have to look into the details of the new course and make a decision.

The new offer could be for a completely different course, but it could also mean a different start date or point of entry (i.e. you'll have to complete a foundation year first).

Don't forget to check the status of your other university offer too - don't make any decisions about the new course until you've heard back from both.

Track doesn't update

nervous UCAS Track

Credit: Warner Bros.

Your status on UCAS Track should update on the morning of results day - if it's still showing 'Conditional' by mid-morning, we'd recommend getting in contact with your university, as it's possible they're still making a decision.

When you call the university, make it clear you're an existing offer holder and not a Clearing applicant - that should help speed the process up.

It can take a while for universities to make a final decision, but if they're keeping you waiting so long that you think you're losing out on potential Clearing places in the event you don't get an offer, contact UCAS for advice.

UCAS Clearing explained

call universities clearing

Credit: Columbia

If you don't meet the grade requirements for either your firm or insurance choice, you can use the UCAS Clearing service to try and find a place elsewhere.

Most Clearing vacancies will be listed on A Level results day, and UCAS will post live updates of the latest places. It's up to you to find a new course, and contact the university to see if they can offer you a place. Some might just need your details, others might ask you to 'sell yourself' in a mini phone interview.

Clearing can be a stressful process, so our main piece of advice would be not to rush into anything you're unsure of. Deciding to go to university is a big commitment, so make sure both the course and university are right for you before accepting a new place. You can always reapply next year!

Head over to our complete guide to Clearing for more information on exactly how it works and a checklist of everything you'll need.

A Level exam re-marks

A level exam remark

Credit: Pemberley Digital

If you're unhappy with one or more of your grades, and think you've perhaps been marked unfairly, you can apply for a re-mark - but there are some important things to take into consideration first:

  • There's no grade protection when you get a re-mark, meaning you could come out of it with a lower grade than you started with. Make sure you speak to your teachers first, as they'll be able to give you a better idea of whether a re-mark is a good idea for you
  • Speak to your university to let them know you're organising a re-mark, and they'll be more likely to reserve a place for you. However, even if your re-mark is successful and your grades go up, there are no guarantees your university will still honour their offer - so make sure you're clear on exactly what the deal is
  • You'll need to get the re-mark process started ASAP to ensure you get your results back in time for the August 31st deadline - this is when universities need your grades by. The deadline for the priority re-mark service is August 24th, and you'll receive results within 15 calendar days
  • If your result stays the same after a re-mark, you'll be charged a fee. This is £50.30 for AQA, £49.70 for Edexcel, £45.60 for OCR and £36 for WJEC
  • You can also request access to a marked paper instead. This is free with Edexcel, but with other exam boards prices range from £11 - £14.

UCAS Adjustment explained


If you managed to snag even better A Level grades than expected, it might be worth taking a look at something called Adjustment.

Essentially, it allows you to hold your firm offer while you look for another university or a higher entry course.

How to apply through Adjustment:

  1. Talk to a teacher or adviser at your school or college first, just to make sure Adjustment is going to be worthwhile for you
  2. If you've met and exceeded the conditions of your firm offer, 'Register for Adjustment' will appear on the choices screen on UCAS Track
  3. You have until August 31st to find a new place, but you only get five days (that's five consecutive 24-hour periods, including weekends) from the moment your offer becomes Unconditional to use it - the site will show a handy timer to help you keep track of this
  4. There are no listings for Adjustment vacancies, so you'll have to browse UCAS and ring universities directly to enquire about places
  5. When enquiring about vacancies, make it clear that you're only looking for information. Only verbally agree to a new course if you're 100% sure you want it
  6. Once you've verbally agreed you'd like a place on the new course, the university will add themselves to your application in UCAS Track and your confirmation letter will be in the post!

You decide to defer or reject your place

defer university place

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If you decide you want to defer your place at university for a year (and you don't already hold a deferred offer), it's simply a case of calling up the university and asking to defer.

Most will be fine with this, but make sure you know your reasons for doing so - whether it's to work, travel or volunteer, for example. If the university aren't happy for you to defer, then you will have to relinquish your place and reapply through UCAS the following year.

If you decide that you no longer want to go to university at all, then you'll have to contact your university to explain the situation to them, and they will release you from the offer. However, be aware that this can take up to 10 days.

This means it can be quite difficult to reject a firm or insurance offer that's been confirmed as unconditional if you fancy heading into Clearing instead. By selecting your chosen universities, you're entering into a contractual agreement with them, and getting out of that can be tricky. You'll need to contact your university and explain the situation to them.

Similarly, if you meet the grades for your firm choice but would rather head to your insurance choice instead, you might face problems. When you meet the requirements for your firm, UCAS will automatically accept this offer, and let your insurance choice uni know that you'll be heading elsewhere. Reversing that can be tricky.

The only exception to this rule is if your grades are substantially better than expected, and you fancy using the Adjustment service.

How to prepare for university

prepare for university

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Once everything has been sorted and your university place is confirmed, you'll no doubt be thinking ahead to your new life as a student and, of course, freshers week!

We have loads of exclusive offers and deals throughout the year just for students, as well as top tips on how to save money and make the most of your time at university.

Here is a quick snapshot of what we have to offer to get you started:

Student deals

We collect tonnes of deals every day to help you save cash at uni - and we find the best freebies!

We have a student deals section on the site, but to make sure you don't miss out on scooping the best offers and freebies, we'd recommend you join our WhatsApp group - we'll send you a list of the best deals every day, and no spam (we promise!)

We also have a weekly student deals newsletter which includes a roundup of the week's best deals, straight to your inbox.

Join our student deals WhatsApp group »

Join the community

Find out about the latest deals first via our popular Facebook group and become part of our cash-savvy community. We're the go-to resource for national student news, the best student deals and freebies, as well as advice on how to save money as a student and make more cash!

You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Download your free student money cheat sheet

You could save up to £7,000 in your first year of university by learning top money-saving tricks as well as getting your head around the student finance system.

Download the cheat sheet »

Student discounts

As a student, you're about to enter a world of unlimited discounts and special offers!

Your uni card or TOTUM/NUS Extra card is your golden ticket to money-saving, but where can you use it? We have the UK's only up-to-date student discount directory showing you where you can use your card, so make sure you have a look!

Get student discounts »

Do your homework

Every day we add new money-saving advice to the site, so whatever it is you need to find out about, we've got you covered.

Whether it's the ins and outs of student finance and the best student bank accounts, or the drinking games every student should know and the ultimate pranks to play on your flatmates, we've got everything you need to make the most of student life.

If you're keen to get ready for freshers' week now, here's a few of our most popular guides for new students:

Any questions about results day we haven't covered? Let us know in the comments and we'll make sure to try and answer them!


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