A-level results day 2021: what to expect
Here’s everything you need to know about getting your A-level results and uni offers. No matter what your results are, you have options available to you...
Find out more about what’s happening with cancelled A-level exams in 2021 with this article.
- When is A-level results day 2021?
- Preparing for A-level results day
- What happens on A-level results day
- You've just missed your predicted grades
- You've met your insurance offer
- Grades are much lower than predicted
- Grades much higher than predicted
- What happens next
A-level results day is on Tuesday 10 August.
In Scotland, SQA results are also due to be released to students on Tuesday, 10 August 2021.
You can pick your results up anytime from 8am, or whenever your school or college opens on the day.
A-level results day is two weeks earlier than planned - the release of results had previously been scheduled for 24 August.
Bringing results day forward is intended to provide more time for students to appeal against any results that may have affected their university application.
Find out how to appeal your teacher-assessed grades here.
These decisions about exams and results day have been based on a public consultation run by Ofqual. The consultation had more than 100,000 responses - you can find more details about what the consultation covered here.
A-level results day 2021: what to expect
1. Preparing for A-level results day
The secret to keeping calm while waiting for results day? It's being prepared and organised.
As student Febi from Derby told us:
Make sure you have all your important details and information to hand – this will be especially useful if your results are lower than expected and you then need to apply for a new university place 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 choices, and become eligible for Clearing
- Clearing phone numbers for universities you’ve applied to or have your eye on – you can find these on their website
- working pens and paper – sounds obvious, but you'll get lots of information on the spot
- a phone charger
- your 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 cool and focused on results day, and hit the ground running if you need to rethink things.
And finally – be kind to yourself and try to get a good night’s sleep! Nerves might make you restless, but do your best to keep calm and not stay awake worrying.
Students and parents who went through results day last year share their stories and tips – take a look.
2. What happens on A-level results day?
You can collect your results 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 around 8am. The system will be very busy, so you might need to be patient to find out whether you’ve been successful.
While you can check Track to find out whether you’ve got into either of your choices, you’ll still need to collect your results to see exactly what grades you got (especially if you need to enter Clearing). There are definitely benefits to going into school or college to collect your results, as student Kirsty from London points out:
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. However, if you need to go through Clearing, this is something you’ll need to do, rather than a parent or family member – universities will want to speak to you).
If Track doesn't update
If Track still has not updated by mid-morning on results day, you'll need to phone the university because it suggests they are yet to make a final decision on your application.
The hotline phone number may be listed on the uni's website, or it might have been sent to you in advance. If you haven't got a special number then just phone the uni's normal number and make it clear you are an existing offer holder, not a Clearing applicant.
Sometimes unis can take a long time to make a final decision – it could even be more than a week after results day. If it reaches this point and you are still waiting, phone and ask when they expect to decide. Keep calm and remain polite – the person answering the phone may have no control over this process so taking your frustration out on them is futile.
That said, universities are not supposed to keep people in limbo for too long, so if you think they are being unreasonable and causing you to miss out on places elsewhere via Clearing then contact Ucas for advice.
3. You’ve met your firm offerCongratulations! Once your Ucas Track status updates (this can sometimes take a few hours on results day morning as things get busy) you’ll be sent a confirmation email post from your firm choice.
Sit back and start preparing for university.
4. You’ve just missed your predicted gradesDisappointing, 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 wish to decline your offer, you can go into Clearing. You can self-release into Clearing if you wish to decline your offers.
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.
If you miss your firm offer, and the university will not accept you
You have several options, which your school/college will be able to talk you through with specific regard to your circumstances. These include:
- Accepting your insurance place
- Applying to different universities through Clearing
- Retaking A-levels
- Reapplying for next year
5. You’ve met your insurance offer
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're now going to study.
Wait for your confirmation email to arrive and think about sorting out accommodation at your new university.
6. Your grades are much lower than predicted
Realising that neither your firm or insurance university will accept you can be very hard, especially if you’re surrounded by friends who are celebrating their success. Your school has seen students in exactly this position before and can help. Don't fall into the trap of thinking 'my entire life is over'.
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.
And there are other options available to you too. You could:
- Take your A-level exams in the autumn
- Take your A-levels next summer and reapply for next year's entry to uni
- Forget about uni for the moment and either get a job, go to college to do a non-degree course, or do a traineeship or apprenticeship.
Applying to uni through Clearing? Here are some top tips from uni admissions experts.
7. Your grades are much higher than predictedA 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 much more), search now
8. There’s always another option: don't goPerhaps 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.
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:
Sort out your accommodation Don't wait around as the best of what's left will get snatched up quickly. Our guide to finding accommodation in Clearing might help.
Get your finances in order These include expenses you need to factor into your budget and how to cut your costs at uni.
- Finally, get a preview of your next few weeks See how Dan spent his last few weeks at home or what Chloe's first week in Edinburgh was like.
If you've gone through Clearing and you're heading to a completely different corner of the country now, start brushing up on your new home.