Didn't get the A Level grades you need? What to do next

Didn't get the A Level grades you need? What to do next

Published at 9:20am 15th August 2019. (Updated at 9:23am 15th August 2019)

3 minute read

Not everyone is jumping for joy on A-level results day, despite what the reaction clips circulating the internet may lead us to believe.

If you're among the students feeling a little disappointed, or didn't get the grades you need to get into your first choice university, read on.

But firstly, before collecting your results, you should be equipped with a mobile phone, a notepad and pen and be prepared to apply through Clearing.

This includes:

  • Your UCAS Track number, details of conditional offers, university contact numbers and universities' UCAS and Clearing numbers
  • A copy of The Telegraph newspaper which lists the places available through Clearing
  • Your personal statement and GCSE results
Wellington Academy A-Level Results 2018
Students at Wellington Academy in Tidworth picking up their results in 2018


Do not despair - you have a few options to choose from.

  • Missed the grades by just a few marks? Talk to the university in question - they may listen to your plans to appeal any grades and may even offer you a place on another course
  • Alternatively, go through the results day Clearing process. Read more on that below
  • Consider taking a gap year and countries where you might like to work abroad
  • Think about securing an apprenticeship


Yes, you can request a review of marking or moderation by the exam boards, but you'll need to start the review process as soon as possible. It can only be done through your school or college.

Keep your university in the loop and make sure you send them your results by 31st August.


You can enter Clearing from results day onwards, with applications being accepted until 20th September.

The last date to add your choices, and for universities to make their final decisions, is 23rd October.

Be prepared to answer questions on your reasons for choosing a specific course, as universities will want to decipher if you are the right candidate.

You can also phone university hotline numbers from Thursday morning to late afternoon.

Exam Results Schools Colleges
Teenagers have been waiting for their results for the last couple of months, since doing exams

Not all universities take part in Clearing, including Oxford and Cambridge, but the UCAS Clearing website lists thousands of course vacancies from top universities on A-level results day.

To give you peace of mind, there were 41,000 courses available in 2016.

Lastly, keep calm and be patient. Universities have hundreds of applications to process, and it can take up to a day for your chosen university to make a decision and respond.


If you've had a change of heart about attending university in September, you can ask your university to defer your place for a year.

This can be done up until the start state, but the earlier you tell them, the better.

If your university does not agree to this, you could choose to withdraw your application for this year and then reapply when the process begins for the next student intake.

Good luck!

Email Icon

Sign up for exclusive news, competitions and offers.
Proper Local News updates from Spire FM

© Copyright 2020 Spire FM, A UKRD group company