RESULTS DAY. Yes, it’s happening, yes, where did the summer go and yes, there is no escape. The good thing is, we’ve all been there or will end up there at some point in our lives. It can be a difficult experience and regardless of whether it turns out the way you want it to or not, it will benefit you in some way. Not sure how failing or not getting the place you wanted to can be seen as a good thing? Read my post about the day I found myself on a gap year. In the mean time, I thought I’d make a quick and useful flow chart to try and ease some of the pressure of results day to help you cope with any unexpected situations. Use the letters below to get more information!


 A.   Well done, doing better is often the last thing you expect on Results Day and it’s always the best thing to discover when you open the dreaded envelope. Whatever plans you had made,  consider your new options based on your previous plan:

–          University: Look at UCAS ‘Adjustment’ – it lists courses at universities taking on students who did better than expected, so you may get to do a course at a better university than you had expected. Don’t rush into decisions though – look at the potential new universities and consider location, costs & course details.

–          Work/Apprenticeship: If you had already lined up a job speak to your prospective or current manager about other roles and positions that may now be available to you within the company with your new grades. Don’t be shy, employers will be impressed that your grades were better than expected and will admire your initiative for seeking further opportunities.

–          Gap year: If your gap year plans involved a job – see above. As for any other plans such as traveling, volunteering or getting work experience – your grades probably won’t change much. But if you’re using the time off to apply or reapply to university, make sure you update your personal statement and UCAS application with your new grades. Look into courses and universities beyond the ones you had previously explored before you knew your better grades.

B.   Results Day can be a cruel, cruel experience for many – it is stressful enough as it is having to discover your fate from an ominous envelope, but the whole situation is exacerbated by being surrounded by your friends who may have got what they wanted – but you must stay calm, don’t panic, and follow these steps:

  • Speak to your teachers: did the whole class get unexpected grades? Was your mark much lower than expected and therefore an anomaly? Discuss the possibilities because you may need to organise an emergency remark for your grade, as it could have been a mistake.
  • If you just missed the mark, you may need to consider the possibility that it was a bad day or a particularly tough paper – it’s hard news to deal with, but you must be pragmatic & take the next steps to adapt your original plan:

University – call up your university as soon as possible & negotiate as they may still have a place for you. If they don’t, or their lines are busy, get your parents to stay on hold whilst you call your insurance uni. If you’ve set your heart on going to uni your second choice is a good bet. Clearing is also a possibility if your universities are unable to offer you a place – but be very careful, it is tempting to rush into clearing to grab any course or university just so you can get a place and not feel left out. But it’s a very dangerous route – you can end up going somewhere you know nothing about and doing a course you’re not interested in, and you may end up wasting time and money if it doesn’t work out and you drop out later.

–          Instead, look at the clearing options available carefully – if you find something you like or similar to what you had before, start making enquiries and calls to those places.

–          Also consider a gap year – it could be a life saver. It’s a chance to take a deep breath and bide yourself time: you can reapply next year, consider your options more carefully, travel, earn some money, gain work experience, learn a new skill and more.

Work/Apprenticeship: it’s unlikely, but if your job depended on attaining certain grades, get in contact with your employer. If it was a whole class problem, or your result appears to be an anomaly, let them know and try and get your school to send them a quick email explaining the situation and supporting you.

Even if it turns out the grade was just unfortunately lower anyway, still get in contact with your employers and be confident – tell them why you’re still be good for the role and that your recent unexpected grade has infused you with even more motivation to succeed and do well & that you’ll put your heart and soul into the job. The chances are they’ll be so highly impressed that you have the confidence and determination to keep your position that they’ll let you keep the position, or at least offer you an alternative.

C. So you didn’t hit the jackpot, and despite wearing your lucky pants, you still ended up with the grade that deep down you knew you would get. But it doesn’t have to be as depressing as that, and you don’t have to take one letter as the final word for the rest of your life plans.

  • Retakes:  If you know you could have worked harder and still want to go into higher education, consider retakes. They may seem like a horrible option if your friends are going off to uni, but whilst they’re gone you can really concentrate on improving your work, getting extra help and possibly earning some money in your spare time to save for when you do go to uni.
  • Apprenticeship/work placement: If you know you never want to sit an exam again, you don’t and must not think that you’ve failed just because you didn’t get amazing grades or a place at uni. Loads of employers now value enthusiastic, motivated school leavers and hold apprenticeship and school leaver schemes for students not going to university, often only requiring minimum pass grades for basic English and maths. Speak to your careers adviser, get researching online, contact your local job centre and just get as much info as you can so you can apply for something worthwhile.
  • Gap year: Sometimes you just need some time, out of the school environment surrounded by pressure from your friends & teachers to sit and think. Consider the things you enjoy, where you want to see yourself in ten years and what you want to be doing – then start doing careful research into the routes you need to follow to make that goal happen. It may mean retakes or going to uni, in which case you’ll need to start planning them, but you may find your results don’t matter and you can start working straight away.

I hope this information helps, I apologise for the length but when it comes to results day, these are important decisions that could affect the rest of your life, so you need to be thorough. Please leave comments if you have any questions of further suggestions!


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