Disappointing A level results at AS?

In our earlier post we took a quick look at the best course of action to take if your A level results and A2 grades weren’t as expected.

But what about if you’re in the same situation a year earlier – you’ve just completed Year 12 and your AS results are not as expected or not quite as good as you’d like? Of course, your situation isn’t quite as critical as those not getting the A2 grades needed, because you don’t have to deal with the potential upheaval of a missed University place. Also, if you’ve only underperformed in an AS that you’re not planning to take through to A2 (and which, therefore, won’t be the basis of a university application) you don’t have too much to worry about.

However, you could still have some problems that you need to deal with, especially if you’re planning to go to university.

First, a generally poor performance at AS level can be a sign that you’ve picked courses that don’t really suit you. If you think that’s the case, you could be better off in the long run starting again with new AS level courses in different subjects. Your school or college will be able to offer advice on this: it’ll take another year, but you’ll be a more mature and experienced student and should stand a greater chance of success.

If you decide to go forward with the grades you’ve got, you won’t be able to retake any of the modules you’ve messed up until after you’ve put in your UCAS application. Universities vary in how much notice they take of AS level results – many admissions tutors are aware that students often go through a process of rapid intellectual and emotional maturity during Year 13, and are inclined to give more weight to predicted grades than to AS results.

All the same, a set of disappointing results can cause application problems. They can also knock your confidence and the confidence that your teachers have in you – which could be a problem when it comes to securing good predicted grades.

So what’s the best course of action to take?

  • If possible, talk to your teachers about how and where things went wrong. They may recommend trying the appeals process. At any rate, it’s important to show them that you recognise you have underperformed and you want to take action to improve.
  • When the new term starts, really make sure you hit the ground running. As well as lots of work, you’re going to be thinking about university applications. Your school or college will give you advice on how to present yourself in the best light on your application – and it’s all the more important that you listen carefully and give the application process your best shot if you’re going into it with lower AS grades than you’d wish.
  • With disappointing AS level grades, a good UCAS Personal Statement could be more important than ever. Remember that if you get stuck writing your Statement, 121 Home Tutors can help.

If you’d like to talk  about A level results, AS results and AS grades try the Exam Results Helpline on 0808 100 8000. Alternatively, if you think you might need a little extra help with your AS or A2 level studies in general, 121 Home Tutors has a wide selection of tutors experienced in coaching A Level students at both AS and A2. So if you live in the Manchester, Stockport, Macclesfield, Wilmslow & Cheshire areas then  get in touch with us today for a no obligation chat about how our tutors can help boost your A Level chances!

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17 Responses to “Disappointing A level results at AS?”

  1. Amy says:

    After getting D D E B in AS-level chemistry,maths, biology and arabic, what are the chences of me getting better grades, if I work hard (A2).

  2. Alison says:

    There is time to improve – have you considered some private tutoring to help you?

  3. Amrit says:

    Hi,

    Unfortunately, I did not achieve an ideal set of AS-Level grades this Summer. I managed to pass in all my subjects. However, I know that I am capable of achieving exceptional grades. I think I have a good idea as to where I might have gone wrong in my first year. I really wish to attend a top university, and secure myself a place on my dream degree. I am considering to start fresh, by repeating the year, so that I am able to compile a more impressive application to university. However, I am also worried about the aspect of scrapped January examinations. I will have two years of increased work load, instead of one, if I decide to start all over again. Therefore, what advice can you provide me with, regarding starting fresh? Thank you!

  4. AJ says:

    So Im waiting on my AS results, at the start of the year I was looking at the top unis for law and believed I could achieve AAA as required, I even attended an open day at Oxford. However ive been sick, during my exams i was suspected to have glandular fever, i was on strong painkiller and was having regular heart palpitations. Now im doubting that ive even passed, i need advice on how to react and what path to take after results day. HELP!

  5. Alison says:

    Hi – first is not to panic/worry… I know you’d ideally want to get the best grades at AS but its less crucial at AS than at A2.

    Did your school/college send in a report to the exam board? They can take account of circumstances that affect results?

    Also, I’m sure the universities will take account of your situation and likewise your teachers when they provide grade predictions for your UCAS application.

    I’d advise having a chat with your teachers/personal tutors since they know you.

    If you’d like further impartial advice then you’re welcome to email me – info@121hometutors.co.uk [FAO Alison].

    What AS subjects have you done?

  6. AJ says:

    Thank you so much for replying so quickly 🙂 I was put in for special consideration for some of my exams not all as the school had other issues with distruption to exams, the exams officer is the best but she could only do so much. I am taking History, English Lit, Chemistry and German. I already recieve extra time due to a hiddden disability in my joints and I type my exams. My gp hasnt yet worked out what is causing me to be so ill, he suspects I have infection around my ribs so they cant treat it for anything but painkillers which really messed my head up. Do you think unis will see tbis as a good enough reason for a retake of year 12? Is that the best option?

  7. Alison says:

    Hi – I know the Chemistry [AQA] course well and that A2 is an extension of AS and so, after studying the topics at a more advanced level student find the AS content much easier and then often want to retake the AS modules to improve their grades – especially since they are needing to go over/re-learn AS topics anyway!

    I’m a maths/science tutor so don’t know the other courses in as much detail as to be able to comment but, in my opinion, repeating year 12 doesn’t sound worthwhile. If things go wrong in year 13 then repeating yr 13 would be an option – in year 13 you would have had chance to resit any modules you were less than happy with… and if you were on track for AAA then it sounds as if you’d be capable of doing the more modules.

    But…be positive you may have good grades! Do let us know how you get on next week 🙂

  8. AJ says:

    You can repeat year 13?!?! That certainly isn’t offered at my school (the only sixth form in a 60 mile radius) we have always been led to believe that it isn’t an option and you would have to start all over again. It is ocr chemistry that we do but chemistry is my most confident subject anyway (a surprise considering it was my weakest at the start of the year. Thanks so much for your advice and I will let you know what happens on Thursday, I’ve got to have made all my decisions on next year by Friday so Thursday will be a stressful day.

  9. Alison says:

    I’ve known a few students who’ve not quite got the grades they require and so resit modules after A2…they usually take a gap year and include time for study to revise to resit modules – so usually its not as such repeating yr 13 [though that is an option] but taking time to review/do some relevant work experience while working towards resits.

    Schools/colleges of course want students to get best grades 1st time around…there are always options open 🙂 ok, maybe not ideal and take a bit longer but I know of a few students that have taken the resit route and after a yr out got into a uni they like, doing the course they want 🙂

  10. AJ says:

    I said I would let you know but unfortunately it’s not good news. I achieved two Cs in English lit and history but unfortunately got Us in chemistry and german, this means that I am unable to progress into year 13. My teachers are devistated and I’m completelty heartbroken.

  11. Alison says:

    Hi – don’t be too disheartened, it really isn’t the end of the world [though it may seem it] 🙂 try the exam results helpline and they will chat you through your options:
    0808 100 8000

  12. Tanya says:

    Hi, I wonder if someone can advise me on what may be the best course of action for my daughter please. She just received her AS results & got a B in Drama, E in Biology & an E in Psychology which she was very disappointed with. She suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome which her 6th form is aware of. They were supposed to give her access to a laptop & allow her to take the exam in a smaller environment which they didn’t do. Her illness has now been changed to Fybromyalgia as she’s got a lot more complex issues & not just the CFS. I am wondering if it is worth appealing her results through the special circumstances path. Can anyone tell me if these grades will go forward towards her actual A level (A2) results or are they 2 seperate things & if it is possible for her to retake the 2 modules that let her down or would she have to retake the whole year again. Sorry for the long winded post, in a bit of a panic here, have tried contacting her school but there’s no one there at the moment & would like to have some info before we go next Friday (if I can convince her to go as she’s got it in her head that it’s all pointless now

  13. Tanya says:

    Hi, I wonder if someone can advise me on what may be the best course of action for my daughter please. She just received her AS results & got a B in Drama, E in Biology & an E in Psychology which she was very disappointed with. She suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome which her 6th form is aware of. They were supposed to give her access to a laptop & allow her to take the exam in a smaller environment which they didn’t do. Her illness has now been changed to Fybromyalgia as she’s got a lot more complex issues & not just the CFS. I am wondering if it is worth appealing her results through the special circumstances path. Can anyone tell me if these grades will go forward towards her actual A level (A2) results or are they 2 seperate things & if it is possible for her to retake the 2 modules that let her down or would she have to retake the whole year again. Sorry for the long winded post, in a bit of a panic here, have tried contacting her school but there’s no one there at the moment & would like to have some info before we go next Friday (if I can convince her to go as she’s got it in her head that it’s all pointless now

  14. Alison says:

    Hi – have you tried the exam results helpline? 0808 100 8000

    They would be better placed to advise as I’ve no direct experience with the appeals route.

    AS results can either be separate things (i.e. if you don’t progress to A2 with the subject and/or don’t resit) or they can count towards the A2. She can resit modules and then the best results go through/count towards the A2. So if she resits e.g. the Biology units and improves her scores then its the improved scores that count.

    It’s definitely not all pointless and I’ve had students that have improved from U’s and E’s at AS to the top grades at A2

    Hope that helps 🙂

  15. Tanya says:

    Thank you for your response Alison, much appreciated. I haven’t tried the help line, will do that tomorrow. She seems to have got it into her head that she would have to retake the whole year so knowing that she can just resist the modules is really helpful. She’s being very negative at the moment as I think she’s feeling very defeated. Doesn’t know what she wants to do with her future am hoping she’ll find her way soon. Thank you again for your help.

    Tanya

  16. Uzair Samad says:

    Hi. I didn’t get the grades i really wanted at AS with CCCD. I have dropped English Lit which i had achieved a C in. However, i achieved a D in Biology and a C in Chemistry. I think that i deserved to get a B on Chemistry and i am doing very well at the moment for A2. Is there a chance i can pull up these grades? Should i resit a module for Chemistry?

  17. Alison says:

    Hi – in my experience students can and do pull up grades and often find AS modules so much easier once A2 modules have been studied.

    Which exam boards did you do?

    If its AQA then A2 Chemistry expands on the AS and the AS content is naturally revisited and so to repeat AS modules doesn’t add much extra work. AQA Biology unit 5 is synoptic across the whole syllabus and so again resetting one modules can be helpful.

    A lot depends on why and where you went wrong – did you get your papers back? Sometimes its knowledge gaps, sometimes an omission of the technical details/descriptions required at A level, sometimes misreading questions/not answering fully enough. Most likely is a combo!

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