BTEC results day and Clearing: what you need to know
Eagerly awaiting your BTEC results before heading to uni? The University of Hertfordshire's Julie Kelly has some summer tips for anyone waiting on Level 3 grades
The BTEC results process is a bit different from A-levelsWhile A-level students across the UK all get their results at the same time, there's a bit more flexibility when it comes to BTEC results.
Schools and colleges will begin to receive BTEC results from around mid-July. These timings will vary depending on your course and how it was assessed. Some schools might even wait until A-level results day in August so that they can give all students their results at the same time.
Check whether you need to collect your results in person, or if they will be posted or emailed to you. Do this before you break up for the summer holidays.
- Waiting on exam results? Get a preview of results day...
You may have a Clearing advantageUcas Clearing, the scheme you can use to find universities with available course places (if you don't have one already) technically opens at the beginning of July.
If you receive your BTEC results in July – and you're not waiting on any A-level results – you can enter Clearing from this point. This means you'll dodge the roller coaster of emotions of A-level results day in August, and the rush for Clearing places that goes with it.
That said, most Clearing vacancies won't be published until August, so you'll need to wait until then for the full breadth of courses to choose from. This isn't necessarily a problem if you spot a course that looks like a perfect match, but don't simply grab the first one that comes along. If there's nothing that appeals right now, bide your time and use it to prepare properly for the Clearing peak in August.
Clearing tip: BTEC entry requirements
Confusingly, universities display their entry requirements in a number of formats. They tend to refer to them primarily in terms of A-level grades or Ucas points, which can be unhelpful for BTEC students who receive either a Distinction (D), a Merit (M) or a Pass (P).
Don't suffer in silence: if you're speaking to a university on the phone, ask for their BTEC requirements if they begin talking in A-level or Ucas points. Don’t just nod along and resign yourself to figuring it out later. Every moment counts in Clearing.
Convert your BTEC results to Ucas points with our table:
Stand out as a BTEC student in Clearing
There are a few ways BTEC students can use their qualification to their advantage when speaking to a university in Clearing.
Scott Isaacs, director of higher level learning at West Herts College, offered the following tips:
- BTEC students often take GCSE/functional skills maths and/or English alongside their main qualification. If you've done this, balancing the two demonstrates good time management and planning skills.
- Similarly, most BTEC students couple part-time/full-time work with study, which also shows good time-management skills.
- Where Level 3 students have focused on one specific subject (compared with A-level students who split their attention across three or more subjects), they may benefit from having explored wider topics and themes within that discipline.
- BTEC students are likely to have gained relevant work experience as part of their course. You may have worked on live briefs with employers, for example, among other tasks and responsibilities. You can use these to illustrate insights you've gained and how you've engaged with a subject.
- Similarly, as a BTEC student, you're likely to have developed vocational skills as part of your course. BTEC assessments are more varied as everything is coursework-based. This can include group work, presenting and using technology or equipment that schools typically wouldn't have available to A-level students.
- BTECs are a great indicator of commitment and motivation. Opting for a new, vocational route after GCSEs – often moving from school to a local college in the process – is invariably a bigger step than staying on in the sixth form. It shows a maturity and focus which is often reflected in achievement on the BTEC course.
- Don't underestimate the workload you've completed to obtain your BTEC qualification, even if you haven't got the grades you were hoping for. Not only are BTEC students assessed through a wide variety of methods, but the sheer number of assignments in those two years is significant. On average, BTEC students study eight or more units each year, with three or more assessments per unit.
- If you studied at college, you can reflect on how the learning environment is similar to that of university (compared with your A-level counterparts who remained in a school setting).
Use your (extra) time wiselyMake the most of your summer. As soon as your results are in and your uni place is confirmed, start making plans to get set for student life at your university. This includes what stuff to take, how to budget and what to expect from freshers' week – more on that in our preparing for uni section.
If you've not been to see the university you're planning to attend yet, get in touch directly or check its social media to see what events or opportunities it offers over the summer.
Even with students on holiday, many still offer campus tours in July or August. A lot of universities hold open days the weekend after A-level results day, particularly for students who've received an offer through Clearing. If you can't make a visit over the summer, virtual tours or similar can go some way towards getting a feel for your new home in advance.
Learn more about finding the perfect uni location in our guide to choosing the right university city.