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A-level results day 2018: what to expect

Results day is on Thursday 16 August. No matter what your results are, you have options available to you...

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Are you a Scottish student? Read our guide to SQA results day instead.

A-level results day 2018: what to expect

1. Preparing for A-level results day

A-level results day this year is Thursday 16 August.

Keep yourself calm while waiting your results by getting organised for the big day. Make sure you have all your important details to hand – this will be especially useful if your results are lower than expected and you then need to apply via Clearing.

Be ready with: 

  • your Ucas ID number (and log-in details)
  • your Ucas Clearing number – this will only be available on Ucas Track if you’ve been rejected by both your first and insurance choice, and become eligible for Clearing
  • Clearing phone numbers for universities you’ve applied to or have your eye on
  • working pens and paper – sounds obvious, but you'll get lots of information on the spot
  • phone charger
  • personal statement – universities you speak to in Clearing will be able to see this and may ask you questions based on this
  • GCSE results – they might come up.

Even if you are very confident, it can't hurt to have a plan B in place. Revisit other course options and look at your personal statement again. You could even practise mini-interview situations to prepare for the possibility of a Clearing phone call. Doing this research beforehand will allow you to stay focused on results day. 

Have a fully-charged phone in case you need to ring universities. If you're worried about your grades in the lead up to results day, look up courses that interest you and make a note of relevant phone numbers. Hannah, Birmingham

And finally – be kind to yourself and try and get a good night’s sleep! Nerves might make you restless, but do your best to keep calm and not stay awake worrying. 

2. What happens on A-level results day? 

You can collect your results day from your school or college. Contact your school for their exact opening and closing times as this  will vary. 

Ucas receives your results directly and will update Track – this is normally about 8am. The system will be very busy, so you might need to be patient to find out whether you’ve been successful. Universities may also take a while to make their decision and for this to show on Track, so it might be worth contacting them directly over the phone.

Make a plan for A-level results day with our planner:


While you can check Track to find out whether you’ve got into your university, you’ll still need to collect your results to see exactly what you got (especially if you need to enter Clearing). 

How you go about collecting them is entirely up to you. Decide whether you want to open them alone, with friends at school, or take them home and share the experience with your family.

If you can’t collect these in person, let your school know and arrange for someone to collect them for you. As long as you can get online, you’ll still be able to see your results by logging into Track (although going through Clearing is something you’ll need to do, rather than a parent or family member – universities will want to speak to you).

Watch now: Jack's results day story


3. You’ve met your firm offer

Congratulations – the hard work paid off! Once your Ucas Track status updates – this can sometimes take a few hours on busy results day morning – you’ll be sent a confirmation letter in the post from your firm choice. 

Sit back and start preparing for university.

4. You’ve just missed your predicted grades

Disappointing, but you may still get an offer from your firm choice.

Check Track and see if your status has changed to ‘unconditional’ or if you’ve been offered a place on a different course at the same university. This is known as a ‘changed course offer’, which you’ll need to accept or decline.

If you just missed out on your grades by a few marks or intend to appeal any grades, you may be able to ask your firm choice to reconsider if they haven’t accepted you. Speak to an adviser or teacher before doing so. 

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    5. You’ve met your insurance offer

    Well done! Once your place is confirmed in Track, you’ll be able to apply for your student accommodation.

    At some point before you go, you’ll also need to change your student loan details – you might be entitled to slightly more in financial support depending on where you are.

    6. Your grades are much lower than predicted

    Before you panic, check Track you may still have an offer. If the university hasn't made a decision yet, phone them to discuss your situation. 

    If neither your firm nor insurance choice has offered you a place, you could decide to apply for a new course through Ucas Clearing  read our full guide to the process.
    When looking at Clearing vacancies, I'd suggest starting with any that may be available at your other original Ucas choices, as these are universities you will have researched and considered going to previously. It'll also show those universities that you had an interest in them prior to the Clearing process.  Stella Barnes | Careers Adviser

    Watch now: Finding a university in Clearing

    7. Your grades are much higher than predicted

    A nice surprise! Do you still want to accept your firm choice or is there a different course you could apply to now with your higher grades? You can do this through Ucas Adjustment.

    As with Clearing, make sure you do your research on courses and universities properly before deciding to switch – higher entry requirements doesn't necessarily mean a course is a better match for you.

    See full entry requirements for a course (and more), search for it now

    8. There’s always another option: don't go

    Perhaps you want to reconsider your options, build up some more work experience, retake your exams or defer your place for a year? A gap year could offer you some valuable time out to get yourself into a stronger position to apply next year.

    Applicants are often stronger with "known grades" and you might find that the year out has helped you to focus on what you really want!  Wendy Hodgkiss | Careers Adviser

    Results day, done. What happens now?

    You've got your results and a university place sorted congratulations! Here's what else you need to tick off the checklist to make sure you're fully prepared for starting uni:
    See what you'll do first in your uni city with our city guides, including nightlife recommendations. If you've gone through Clearing and you're heading to a completely different corner of the country than you were expecting, start brushing up on your new home.

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