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A-level results day – what if you don’t get the grades?

A Level results are out, and all over the country students will be celebrating – or in a state of high anxiety. If you’ve missed out on the A2 grades you needed to get into your first choice of university you could be facing problems, as this is set to be one of the most competitive years for clearing ever.

If you’ve just finished Y12 and your AS grades were a bit ropey, you’re not under quite the same pressure as those who have been unlucky at A2 – but you still potentially have issues to deal with because you’ll be going into the university application process without the best possible grades.

But never fear – there are things you can do to rescue what might look like a dire situation! In this post we’re going to look at the most pressing problem of all – underperformance at A2. In a special post on Thursday, we’ll offer some advice for AS students.

A- level (A2) grades not as hoped
A level results are due out. If you’ve missed your A level grades for your first choice university, it can seem like the end of the world. Rather than mope around, here’s the course of action you need to take:

  1. Don’t panic! You’ve nothing to lose from being level-headed, and potentially lots to gain.
  2. Your first port of call should be a relevant person school or college – probably your Head of Sixth Form or your personal tutor. You’ll be on their priority list, and this is where relationships are going to matter: good schools and colleges will fight tooth and nail to secure places for ‘good citizens’ who are known to be friendly, committed and talented, but who have missed out by just a few marks. You’ll still get help if you’ve been a slacker or a source of trouble, but your school will find it harder to unreservedly recommend you to sceptical admissions tutors.
  3. So, even if you’ve missed your A level grades, there’s a chance that you – with the assistance of your school or college – will be able to talk your way on to your chosen course. This is much harder than it used to be, but it does still happen.
  4. If you miss both your first choice and your insurance offer, and still really want to go to university then you need to enter the university clearing system. Again, your school or college will advise you here – or there’s a useful article in The Guardian. Many students get good places through university clearing, and end up in universities that they love. But think carefully: are you so desperate to get a university place that you’re happy to head off without even visiting in advance or researching how useful the course is? Studying for a degree can be an expensive business and did you know there are other options available? Check out our post on options available to A level students – gap years, going abroad to university, doing a part-time degree or even not going to university!
  5. Think seriously about retaking and going for entry next year. You can have another go in January at the modules you messed up, and hopefully the shock of failure this time will have focussed your mind! If you only missed your grades by a few marks you could also consider going through the appeals process. If you decide to retake, you’ll have to go through UCAS again, but it should at least be a bit more familiar this time.

If you do go down the resit route, it’s a good idea to spend some time reflecting on why you didn’t do as well as you’d hoped. Did you work hard enough, spending a decent amount of time preparing for each important topic within each subject? Was there a particular skill or area of knowledge where you really fell short?

You might feel that it’s time to seriously consider getting some extra help. If you would like to talk to someone try the Exam Results Helpline on 0808 100 8000. Also, 121 Home Tutors has a team of first class A level tutors and AS and A2 tutors and can offer help in any major subject if you live in Manchester, Stockport or Macclesfield, Wilmslow, Cheshire areas. Contact us today (by email or call 01625 531 360) for a no-obligation discussion!

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