How to Prepare for A-level results day 2021.
August 5, 2021
Results day is coming up soon and I remember the vivid dreams where things wouldn’t go as planned which always seemed to start around late July or August. Most of what happens on results day is now beyond your control however, having a plan and multiple back-up plans will help you feel much more prepared and confident as you await your results.
1: Clarify where, when and how.
Each school will handle results day differently so ensure you find out how you’ll be collecting your results. Most schools start allowing students in from 8am but check when your school opens for results day and plan ahead of time when you’ll need to be at school to collect your results. Another important consideration is whether you want to go alone, with a friend(s) or with a family member. Think about which option would make you feel most comfortable whether results day goes exactly as planned or slightly differently.
2: Be organised.
UCAS Track usually opens early in the morning just before most schools release students’ grades and if you would like to have a look at Track beforehand, then ensure you have your UCAS ID to hand, a charged device and all the necessary passwords.
3: Plan for every situation.
Results day is naturally one full of emotions so any forward planning you can do will be massively helpful. I found it useful to come up with 5 alternative plans if the original didn’t work out so let’s go through some scenarios together.
a. You meet your firm offer
Well done! This usually means you’ve also hit your predicted grades but either way, you’re in to the university you want to attend. If for any reason, you’re not happy with the grades you received then be sure to talk to a teacher or exam officer at your school.
b. If you didn’t meet your firm offer or you didn’t get your predicted grades
You could still receive an offer from your insurance choice. It’s also worth noting that some universities will still let you in if you’ve only missed your offer by a narrow margin. A way to prepare for this type of situation before results day would be to get your universities’ phone numbers saved somewhere accessible. If on the day you decide to refuse your insurance offer and go into clearing, it would also be useful to have some clearing numbers to hand. A few days before results day, I went through the clearing options on the UCAS website for my course and had a look at the universities and courses I would apply to if necessary.
c. If you receive an offer from your insurance university
Likewise, if you receive an offer from your insurance university and are happy to confirm your place then congratulations! All you’ll need to do is ensure your student finance application has the correct details on it and continue with the process of preparing for university!
d. If you’re not happy with your grades then there are a few options
Firstly, remember that although it might not seem like it, these grades won’t define your entire life. Before results day, I would suggest thinking about which route(s) you would like to go down if this happens. You can re-take your exams in the autumn, re-do a year and take your exams the next summer summer or decide on another route such as a degree apprenticeship or foundation year. Plan what you would do if you were in this position by considering your priorities and goals- if you really want to attend a particular university for your course, then you might consider re-taking an exam or two. However, even if you’re unsure, your teachers will be happy to help and advise you on the day.
e. You’re not happy with your university choices but you got the grades or did even better than expected.
Firstly, well done! Secondly, this is where UCAS Adjustment comes in handy. Before results day, you can have a look at the courses and universities on adjustment, see if there are any ones which interest you and do some further research into them. Choose a few courses you could apply for if you were in this position on results day.
f. If you change your mind
If you change your mind, it’s perfectly fine. It’s not necessary to go to university or to go immediately after sixth-form. If you get to results day, are happy with your grades but don’t want to go down the path you’d planned then consider your other options. If you no longer want to go into full-time work and want to do a bit more studying first then have a look at some courses on UCAS. Likewise, if you no longer want to apply to university then consider an apprenticeship or work instead. This can be harder to plan for but think about what you would do if you decided against your current post-18 pathway and then have that in the back of your mind.
A massive good-luck to you if you’re getting your results soon and regardless of the outcome, well done! You’ve come this far.