For some of you, this may be your first SQA results day; for others, it may be your last. Every year at the beginning of August, hundreds of thousands of secondary school pupils receive the outcome of what has been a gruelling few months of hard work in preparation for their national qualification exams. But have no fear! TSR is here to guide you through this time.
What happens on results day?On the day, all of you will receive your Scottish Qualifications Certificate (SQC) after the postman has made that much awaited visit. The SQC is a record of your past achievements within the SQA to this point, and acts as proof of your attained results. With your certificate comes a cover letter from the SQA; a summary of your attainment; a detailed record of attainment; and a core skills profile. On the back of each card is text explaining this part of the certificate and what everything means. For additional information, you can also read our article on understanding your SQC.
It is possible to receive your results by e-mail and/or text from 8am on the morning of Tuesday 9 August through the mySQA service. For this, you must sign up first. You can learn more about account activation on the mySQA website. E-mails and texts of Scottish exam results are sent out from 8am this year - this is different from previous years when they came out overnight. If you have signed up to receive your results by e-mail or text in previous years and have kept the same details, you will receive them by the same method this year without the need to sign up again.
Progression from S4 to S5You've got your National 5 (and maybe Intermediate 1/2) results back. Great! Attainment in these exams most immediately pertains to your progression into the courses that you chose before the summer to study at a higher level. The following are some very common scenarios:
I did not do as well in N5 as I hoped, can I still do Higher?The decision on whether to submit a student for a particular course is ultimately down to the submitting centre (your school or college). The SQA's guidance is that the recommended requirement for progression to Higher is a pass at National 5 (or Intermediate 2). You have the opportunity to convince your teacher that you're capable of passing Higher and that it won't be a waste of both of your times and the school's money, or ask them to let you begin sitting the Higher and see how you progress. Maybe you performed well in class assessment and prelim, but simply choked in the exam, maybe you were sick: this sort of evidence will (or at least, should) be taken into account in the decision-making process.
Recognising Positive AchievementsIf you received ‘no award’ for a National 5 course, but still passed all the unit requirements (i.e. NABs), then the SQA may decide to give you a National 4 course award as part of their Recognising Positive Achievement arrangements. You should contact your school for further information on this process if required.
I missed my grades! What do I do!?First, don't panic. You still have lots of options, but you have to think about a few things: Why do you think you failed? Try and work out where you went wrong and what can be improved for next year. Who can you talk to at school about your options from here? They know you best and will be able to give high quality advice. This could include a careers advisor or a mentor. Still concerned about your results? Your centre can request a clerical check and/or a marking review of the exam script, which may lead to a change in your grade.
Progression from S5 to S6The consequences, in terms of progression, of this scenario are essentially identical to the ones provided above for S4 to S5, but with different levels of qualifications. The recommended "entry requirement" for an Advanced Higher qualification is an award at the Higher level. Again, this is only a recommendation and different schools have different policies about what an acceptable grade for progression is. The unique thing about moving into S6 is that the qualifications you now hold are what you apply to university with. The following are some common scenarios:
I don't meet the entry requirements for my course; can I still apply?It can vary depending on your situation. If entry requirements are advertised in terms of "one sitting", then you would be required to take a new set of Highers in S6 if you were to try to meet the requirements of the course. If entry requirements are not advertised in terms of "one sitting", then your current set of Highers will be valid, although insufficient. For example, if your course requires AAAB, and you get AAB in 5th year, then all you’d need to do in 6th year is pick up another Higher to try to meet the entry requirements. It's extremely important you look at the entry requirements for your preferred course on the university's website and if you don't understand them, to contact the university for clarification. It's worth noting that many universities also ask for certain subjects to be taken at Standard Grade/Intermediate 2/National 5 (such as a foreign language for humanities courses), if you don't have these subjects, there's no reason you can't study them in S5 or S6 instead. National 5s don't have to be achieved in 4th year to be valid.
I don't have the required subjects for my course; will they still consider my application?Yes! However, you would be required to take this missing subject in S6. If something is advertised as a requirement, then there's no getting around it, bar exceptional circumstances. If you require to ‘crash’ a higher for a course make sure your head knows that it is a requirement, especially if your school is picky about them.
I've exceeded the entry requirements for my preferred course; should I still apply?Congratulations! There's no reason you shouldn't apply to your course just because you exceed the entry requirements. The only thing that matters now is whether you would enjoy the courses that you're thinking about applying for, and that may be one that has higher entry requirements than you thought you'd achieve, or it may be the one you had your heart set on all along.
I've made my firm offer, but I no longer want to go there.If you really don't want to attend your firm choice you should call the institution and ask them to release you. It's important to note that universities are under no obligation to release you from your offer. It is rare however for universities to deny this request. Note that upon getting news that you have met your firm offer, UCAS automatically declines your insurance offer for you. Thus, upon being released by your firm, you will be automatically entered into Clearing. If you still wish to attend your insurance choice, then you will have to call up your insurance to discuss with them that you'd still like to study their course, and whether they still have a place (and would be willing) to offer it to you. While here, you can discuss how you can go about accepting your insurance choice (e.g. through Clearing). It's advisable that you confirm they'll still accept you before you go about trying be released from your firm.
I've missed my firm, what do I do?If you've missed your firm offer, then UCAS will default to accepting your insurance offer. If you've narrowly missed your offer then you may find that you still receive an unconditional from your firm. If your Track still reads "conditional", it means the university have either not transmitted their decision, or are still considering your application. It is extremely important you contact your university as soon as possible in this case as they may be willing to offer you a place and are awaiting your call. In some cases, a university may make an applicant an offer for an alternative course, but this again, is not common. This will show on your UCAS as 'UCC' which stands for Unconditional Changed Course. You do not have to accept this offer, but you have five days to make your decision. It’s also possible for you to meet your offer via the SQA results service, and this is discussed more in our thread here.
I've missed my firm and no longer want to go to my insurance.The best thing you can do here is to call your insurance institution ASAP and ask to be released. After you've been released, UCAS will automatically place you into Clearing and you will be assigned a Clearing number. Read more about clearing here
I've missed both of my offers.As above, it's possible that the institutions may still accept you even if you miss your offer, but this is completely at the discretion of the institution. If you miss both of your offers, then you will be automatically placed in Clearing and be assigned a Clearing number.