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10 Aug

Thursday 13th August is A-level results day – and it will have been a nerve-racking wait for most of you.
After lasts year’s fiasco with the OCR exam board almost unable to complete the marking and issue the results on time (BBC News), there is some speculation that increasing numbers of students will have their papers poorly marked and be awarded the wrong mark (The Telegraph).
Here’s some clear, concise and straight-to-the-point advice about how to deal with results day:

  1. UCAS TRACK: Check UCAS Track anytime after 8 am on Thursday (13th) morning, to see if been accepted by your FIRM choice – even if you narrowly missed out on your offer – if TRACK says your offer is now UNCONDITIONAL, then you’ve got your place anyway. Cool!
  2. ADJUSTMENT: If you significantly exceeded your offer and want to try for a better course / university then firstly register for ADJUSTMENT, through UCAS Track. Next, start ringing around the universities that you’d prefer, and tell them you are looking for a place through ADJUSTMENT (not clearing). While you are doing this, your original firm place will be safely held for you – for 5 days. If, after exploring the alternatives, you decide to stick with your original firm place, then, just to be on the safe side, it’s worth letting them know that you want to keep the place…
  3. UNSUCCESSFUL: If track says you’ve been UNSUCCESSFUL, then it means you’ve been turned down. At this stage, it is only worth calling the university if you narrowly missed your offer AND you intend to get your papers remarked. In that case, tell the university that you are getting the papers remarked and tell your school you want to apply for a PRIORITY REMARK, to ensure you get the results back before 31st August. You university should accept you if the results come back in your favour (before 31st August).
  4. STILL CONDITIONAL: If you narrowly missed out on your offer and TRACK still shows your place as CONDITIONAL, that means that the university is still deciding what to do with your application. Now, it is worth ringing the university hotline; as they only have your module grades and not your UMS scores. Explaining to them how close you were (and any extenuating circumstances) might just make the difference…
  5. CLEARING: If your place is showing as UNSUCCESSFUL, or if you didn’t have a firm offer to start with, then at this stage, you should enter CLEARING to see what places are available. A word of advice here: Your friends are mostly off to university, so it is quite natural that you’ll want to just settle for whatever’s available. But if you accept a course/university that undervalues you, it will set you on a different path than you could have had, for the rest of your life. Leaving your peer group and heading back to retake your A-levels might seem emotionally painful, but in the long run, it might be the making of you…

Best of luck to Math’scool students. Last year, we had a record number of students achieving the top (A*) grade – a smashing 11 A*s, 7 As and 2 Bs. Finger’s crossed that we’ll be there or thereabouts again this year…