Results Day 2020 – A Levels and equivalent

Results Day 2020 – A Levels and equivalent

Sadie White No Comment

Thursday 13th August is A Level results day. It’s always an anxious time but this year there are more questions than ever. Sarah Traynor from our careers team looks at some of the questions you may have in the run up to results day and provides some of her top tips on getting prepared so you’re ready to act to achieve your further education or training goals. 

What’s your top tip for results day?

That’s easy – make a plan! You’re bound to feel stressed on the day so think ahead and make a list beforehand of all the things that might happen: What if you don’t get the grades? What if you do better than expected? What if you change your mind? Then prepare an action plan for each situation, e.g.
• Use to find out which courses still have places.
• Do some research and prepare your own shortlist.
• Make a note of university helpline numbers (published on their websites).
• Look up your UCAS Track login details.
Above all, keep the day free. If you need to contact universities, they will want to speak to you, not your parents or teachers.


‘How will I get my results?’

Check this with your school or college. They are all working out ways of doing this while following safe distancing rules.

‘Remind me how they’ve worked out my grades.’

Your teachers submitted assessed grades, based on various factors. These have been standardised by the exam boards into calculated grades.

‘Will the calculated grades look any different?’

No, they will look the same as any other year.

‘What if I’m not happy with these grades?’

The government have put in place a safety net which they are calling ‘the triple lock’. It means you can:
1. Accept your results. Even if they’re lower than you had hoped, you may still get a university place – read on to find out how!
2. Ask for your mock exam results to be used instead.
3. Re-sit exams in the autumn.

‘My mock exam grades were higher than my results, so I want to use them. What do I do?’

Tell your school or college as they need to appeal to the exam board on your behalf. They will be asked to provide evidence that the exams were held under approved conditions.

‘What will happen to my university place while I appeal?’

The government has asked universities to hold places open for students who appeal.
‘I’m not happy with my results but I don’t want to use my mock grades either. What can I do?’
In certain circumstances your school or college can appeal against the results. Start by speaking to them as they must do this on your behalf.
You can also re-sit any subjects you’re not happy with in the autumn.

‘What if I re-sit in the autumn and get an even lower grade?’

Don’t worry, if that happens, the higher grade will stand.

‘Would I get the re-sit result in time to start university this year?’

Possibly not, it’s estimated that A Level re-sit results will be published before Christmas and GCSEs in January (for English and maths) or February 2021. However, universities have said they will try to be flexible so speak to them before you decide.

‘What if I’ve taken vocational qualifications?’

Calculated results are being awarded wherever possible. However, there are complications if there needs to be a workplace assessment. If it hasn’t been possible to do the assessment safely, then these results are unfortunately being delayed. You should have already been informed if this affects you.

‘I’ve got a conditional offer for university. What happens when I get my grades?’

If you get the grades, you’re in! Log into UCAS Track and it will confirm your place.
If you don’t get the grades, stay calm, log into Track and check your status. The university may still take you, especially if you’ve only just missed the grades.
The university may make you a ‘Changed course offer’, such as a foundation year. You can accept or decline so check it out first.
If Track says your firm (first) choice has turned you down, but you have met your insurance grades, then your place will be confirmed there.
If Track hasn’t been updated, ring the university admissions department. Helplines should be open from early morning. This is your chance to tell them how much you want to study there. Universities have said they will be as flexible as they can, plus you’ve already applied for that course which shows your commitment. You can still make a very good case for yourself!
Make sure you tell the university if you plan on appealing to use your mock result (or if your school or college is appealing for any other reason). They have been asked to keep places open for students who appeal.
If Track says you’re in Clearing it means both your firm and insurance choices have turned you down. Again, keep calm – there will still be courses with vacancies and universities will want to fill them, so keep a clear head but move quickly. This is where all that preparation can pay off!

‘How does Clearing work?’

All the information is on but briefly, use the Clearing search tool to find courses with vacancies; check out the course and then ring the university / college and ask them to consider you.
UCAS has a new, optional service called ‘Clearing Plus’ which makes course suggestions based on your original application. Click on ‘See matches’ to view them. However, if you want to explore other courses, you can just browse all vacancies.

‘What happens when I ring the university?’

Let’s take a step back! Before you ring, do some research into the course and the university. Even better – do the research before results day! When you ring, be prepared to wait as lines may be busy. When you get through, state your Clearing number (which will be on Track) and your UCAS ID. They will look up your application and they may ask you a few questions. Treat it like an interview and be prepared to explain why you want to do that course at that university. The aim is to get an informal offer.
Find out if there’s an open event – these may not happen in the usual way but there may be a virtual event or tour instead.
Once you are sure you want the place, apply for it formally through Track.

‘If I get the grades but I’ve changed my mind can I apply for another course?’

If you have met and exceeded your offer, (e.g. achieved AAA when you needed AAB) then you can use UCAS Adjustment, which lets you apply for other courses without first giving up your place.
If you don’t qualify for Adjustment, you must turn down your place before you can enter Clearing. If you’re sure you want to do this, select ‘Decline your place’ on Track.

‘I didn’t apply for university – is there still time?’

Yes, if you haven’t applied or if you applied but aren’t holding any offers, you can use Clearing from 6th July.
‘I’m not sure I want to start university with so much going on. Will they hold the place until next year?’
You need to ask the university. If your place is for this autumn, they are not obliged to hold it, in which case you would have to withdraw and re-apply for 2021.

‘Ok, but if I’ve got the grades, I’d get a place next year, wouldn‘t I?’

Unless they defer your place, there are no guarantees. If a lot of students withdraw this autumn then it could lead to an increase in applications for 2021 (especially as the number of 18-year-olds is set to start rising). It’s possible that entry could become more competitive.

‘I just don’t know what to do!’

We know it’s hard. This is a unique situation and we can’t be certain what’s going to happen. There isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all‘ solution, but start by finding out what your university is planning to do, e.g. how much teaching will be online and how much will be face-to-face. Check what will happen on campus and in student halls, which facilities will be open and what safety measures will be in place. There looks likely to be disruption for at least a few months but on the other hand, if you really want to do the course, and especially if it’s selective, then weigh it all up.

‘What can I do if I take a gap year?’

Good question! You need to use the time positively, partly for your own wellbeing, but also to support your UCAS application next year. You can get ideas to research from websites such as: and
Bear in mind that activities such as travel may be restricted, and that the job market is unstable. The government recently announced a Kickstart programme for unemployed 18-24-year-olds so look out for more details.
Your own community might be looking for volunteers, so visit:

‘Is there any other way of getting a degree?’

Higher and degree apprenticeships are jobs where you study for higher education qualifications with your fees paid. They’re in a range of work sectors. Search for vacancies on:

‘Any other tips?’

Hang on in there! The signs are that Clearing could carry on longer than usual this year so don’t give up.
For more help
Sheffield Futures Results Helpline:
Thursday 13th August, 1.00-4.00pm
Friday 14th August, 10.00-4.00pm
0114 201 6644
The National Careers Service Exam Results Helpline: 0800 100 900
UCAS Clearing:
For more on calculated grades, appeals and autumn re-sits:
If the stress is getting to you, check out our Door 43 wellbeing service:

Good luck!

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