After months of eager student anticipation, A-level results day is almost here, and with it the promise of exciting plans for the future.
While most will receive the grades they need to win places at their first-choice colleges, others won’t be so lucky and will have important decisions to make about their next steps.
To prepare parents and students for whatever the day holds, we’ve detailed everything you need to know about test scores and college compensation.
When is A-level results day?
All students will be able to collect their results starting at 8 am on August 17. A-level, AS-level and T-level results will be available on that day.
Results can be submitted via email or post, but most schools would recommend going to collect results, where students can access support from teachers.
You can also arrange for a family member or friend to pick up your results. They will need to bring a letter signed by you and a form of identification for themselves.
How will exams be graded after the Covid disruption?
Ofqual, England’s examinations regulator, has asked boards to aim for the proportion of top marks to be in line with levels seen in 2019, equating to a drop of 11 percentage points in As and A*s. .
Grade inflation occurred during the pandemic when tests were eliminated and results were based on generous teacher evaluations.
This year’s A-level cohort in England received the highest GCSE grades on record in 2021, and will be the first Covid cohort to experience a return to pre-pandemic grading standards.
Last year, 36.4% of UK entries were awarded A* or A, down from the record 44.8% in 2021, but considerably higher than the 25.5% seen in 2019.
Returning to 2019 levels in England this year would mean around 95,000 fewer qualifications are awarded in the UK compared to last year.
What should you do with your A-level results?
Does it meet your qualifications?
If you met your qualifications, UCAS will update to let you know if you got into your company or insurance university. Check for emails from colleges about whether there is anything extra you need to do, which should be described within the offer terms. If your student’s finances are in order, it’s time to celebrate!
If you narrowly lose your grades?
If you just lost your grades, don’t panic. Universities still accept students who have not fulfilled their offer, but decisions are made at the discretion of individual course providers. Speak directly with the relevant person at the university or college to see what your options are.
However, this scenario is exactly what your choice of insurance offers, and your scores could be tailored to your second-choice institution.
Alternatively, your chosen university may offer you a slightly different course, which you will need to accept via Track. If this doesn’t happen, go to Clearing, where you can apply for other courses, either at the same university or at a different one.
You can also seek appeals with the examination board; more details below.
If you completely lose your qualifications?
If you lose your grades by a significant margin, check to see if your insurance option will accept you in a course.
If not, you’ll need to start marking the courses in Clearing that are on your contingency list and within the relevant grade range.
Most importantly, don’t worry. There are many different options available to you beyond your chosen course. You may want to consider taking a gap year or exploring apprenticeships if you decide not to change your plans.
Talk to a teacher or trusted adult about what you might want to try next.
What if you scored higher than your predicted grades?
Congratulations – if your grades are much better than you expected, you may want to change your college options.
Unfortunately, clearing is no longer an option as of 2022, but you can still decline your place and free yourself up in Clearing to choose alternative institutions.
It is also possible to apply or re-apply to universities after receiving your A-level results, and many students do this every year. Talk to your school or university to plan how you can manage your UCAS and personal statement requests.
How to appeal your A-level results?
Talk to your teacher, test officer, test center or the national careers service exam results helpline (0800 100 900) to request an examination board review. This must be done as soon as possible.
Your school or university can do this before deciding whether to request a review to see if it believes there was an error during the grading process.
Talk to the university of your choice and ask if they are willing to reserve your place (if possible, do this in writing). It is important to check with your school or university about the internal deadline for stage one of the appeals process.
The examination board determines the deadline for a priority appeal (students who were not accepted by their firm choice university as a result of their scores) and for stage two of the appeal process. The latest information can be found below:
North Ireland – guidance on the appeals process will be on the CCEA website.
Can I defer my place?
If you have changed your mind about going to university or want to take a gap year, you should call your university’s admissions team to find out if this is something they can offer.
What is Clearing and how do I apply it?
Compensation is the system of matching students with slots in college or university courses. You can enter Clearance to search for a course if you have not met the qualifications indicated in your offers.
You can also use the system if you are considering changing to a different course because your grades are better than anticipated, after declining your original place.
The clearing will be open from July 5 to October 17, but some courses will be closed before this deadline depending on their popularity.
More than 50,000 students find places through Clearing each year, according to the Ucas.
What are the grade limits?
Each individual examination board develops a system for determining what grade a student will receive on their A-level examinations or courses.
Score limits are set for each exam after grading has been completed, so no student is penalized if the year’s tests were particularly difficult compared to previous years.
The grades for passing the A-level exam are A*, A, B, C, D, and E. Anyone who fails their exam will receive a U (which stands for “no grade”).
There are different exam boards with their own individual grade limits. They are the following:
CCEA grade boundaries can be found here.
Pearson Edexcel rating limits can be found here.
OCR grade limits can be found here.
AQA grade limits can be found here.
Scottish Highers grade boundaries can be found here.
Will the results be adjusted due to teacher strikes?
No. A-level results will not be adjusted to account for the disruption caused by a series of teacher strikes between February and July of this year.
Ofqual expects an increase in the number of appeals this year due to a return to pre-pandemic grading standards, but any disruption caused by teacher strikes will not be taken into account.
What if you get different grades but the same number of UCAS points?
It depends on the university and will be decided on a case-by-case basis.
UCAS points are used by around a third of universities when making offers, so instead of asking for B, B, C grades, for example, a university might ask for 112 points.
However, not all universities use tariff points. The more traditional the college, the more likely they are to make an offer stipulating grades and not points.
When is BTEC 2023 results day?
BTEC National results are generally released to students on or just before the A-level results day. The exact date depends on your school or university.
Some individual unit grades will already be released to BTEC students. It is the responsibility of the school or university to inform students how and when to collect the remaining results.