A-level results day 2012: lower grades but room to move

So, how has A-level results day been for you? Hopefully you got the grades you wanted (or needed) and can celebrate with a cheeky half later on tonight. But, if it didn’t quite happen for you today, we’ve got a stack of help and support on going into clearing or considering other options.

As the dust settles on results day, here’s a round-up of today’s big trends.

The stats

  • At the start of today, 357,915 people had been accepted for university courses this year. That’s down 7% on the same time last year.
  • On top of those people, an additional 79,000 UK applicants were still awaiting results from other exams or decisions.
  • A total of 629,140 people applied to higher education institutions this year.
  • Over 25,000 courses are available in Clearing this year.
  • The number of A-level entries awarded the top two grades (A*, A) has slipped for the first time in 20 years. In total, 26.6% of A-level entries were awarded the top two grades. That’s down from 27% last year.
  • For the first time since the A* was introduced in 2010, boys outperformed girls at this grade. The number of A* grades issued to boys was 8% compared to 7.9% for girls.
  • The overall number of pass grades increased slightly, with A level grades A*-E increasing by 0.2% from 97.8% to 98%.

What we’re seeing on The Student Room

  • Universities are being flexible. We’ve heard stories of people missing offers, but still getting into their first choice – even when they’ve missed by a lot. One student reported getting into their AAB place, despite their actual grades being BBC. We’ve even heard stories of students getting into the likes of Cambridge and Edinburgh, despite missing their offer.
  • Some people are in limbo. Several universities are holding out on people who just missed their firm offers – and asking them to wait until tomorrow afternoon for a definite decision.
  • Adjustment is becoming better known as an option. Universities can now recruit as many students achieving AAB+ as they like, so they’re free to attract people who have moved into that band by getting higher grades than expected. Talk around the forums indicates more users than usual are considering it.
  • The Student Room today saw a record number of users online: 16,500 of you!
  • TSR users were asked to compare a 1968 O-level paper with the A-level exams they have just taken. More than half (56%) felt the difficulty was about the same. One in five (18%) thought the O-level paper was easier than today’s exams.

...and finally
British Olympic bronze medallist Tom Daley was a big winner today. He achieved an A* in A-level photography and an A in Spanish, as well as an A in his maths AS-level. Well done, Tom!