GCSE and A-Level Exam Results Day: Everything You Need to Know

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Exam Results Day 2016: everything you need to know


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After years of hard work and revision, it’s time to make that journey into school or college to collect your A-Level or GCSE results. 

While we hope you get the exam results you need for university, it’s important to be prepared for any surprises, and that includes doing better than you expected!

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So, to help you out on GCSE, Higher or A-level results day, we’ve tackled some frequently asked questions and put together the most useful links and numbers you’ll need to explore your options. But before we begin, watch this fantastic video from OCR Exams on what to expect from your GCSE and A-Level results day:

Do I need to go into school to collect my exam results?

Some exam boards, including the SQA, will post results online if you register for them, but most students are still asked to go into school to collect them.

Alternatively, you can contact the school and authorise someone else to collect them on your behalf or provide a stamped addressed envelope to your exams officer to get them posted to you.

Your school might even post them to you out of the goodness of its own heart but it does mean an extra couple of days waiting…

Remember too, you might need to speak to a teacher if you don’t get the results you expected, so it’s a good safety net to go into school on the day, as you might not be able to get them on the phone right away.

What if I don’t get the exam results I need?

Two students reading exam results

If you don't get the exam results you need, the first thing to remember is not to panic

First things first - don’t panic. It happens.

For GCSE results:

If you needed to get certain grades to get into sixth form or college, you must check with them to see if they’ll still accept you.

You might have to take resits, which can be done as early as November, or you may be able to take up your place on a different course.

If not, you can apply to other FE colleges and schools in your area or for an apprenticeship or vocational course, like a BTEC.

For A-level results or Highers:

You should check on Ucas Track or contact your university first to see if your offer still stands.

Other options include applying to university through Ucas clearing (you could even get into the same uni on a different course), taking a year out to resit your exams or applying for a higher apprenticeship.

Have you seen our top 10 universities for getting a job? One of them may have a space available through clearing – and it could actually end up being the ideal place for you.

But if you can’t get a place through clearing, or you decide university is not for you, there are lots of other options. We’ve put together five practical alternatives to university to give you some ideas.

What if I do better in my exams than I expected?

Girl celebrating her exam results

If your GCSE or A-Level results are better than expected, you may need to adjust your course choices.

For Highers and A-Level results:

If you get better grades than you needed for your first choice course, you can apply to universities with higher entry requirements through UCAS adjustment.

Adjustment gives you up to five days to hunt around for available courses and you won’t need to give up your original offer until you accept a new one, so there’s no harm in taking a look.

If you have your heart set on a new uni and course and it’s full up, you could reapply the following year and concentrate on getting work experience to support your application.

Remember you must register for adjustment through UCAS Track.

For Nationals and GCSE results:

You may be able to take higher level qualifications than originally planned or switch courses, so speak to your school or college about this directly.

What if something is wrong with my exam results or I want to appeal?

If an individual grade or paper is suspiciously low compared to others, you are very close to a grade boundary or if you think there is something missing from your results, speak to your school immediately and they’ll contact the exam authorities on your behalf.

If you’re asking for a remark to try and make your university place then request a priority remark. You must let the university know this is what you're doing too.

Can I defer my university place after exam results day?

To check if you can defer your offer, you'll need to contact the university directly

There is no specific rule about this, you’ll need to contact your university directly and ask if you can defer.

It will help if you have a reason, like a job or placement. If the uni says no then you can also give up your place and reapply next year.

Useful links and numbers

Call the exam results helpline for free, independent advice: 0808 100 8000.

Visit the Ucas website.

Not going to university? Read our advice to get you ready for the world of work.

Find out more about apprenticeships.

Related posts:

What Options do I have After Taking my GCSE Exams?

How to Prepare for Going Back to School

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