How to handle A-level results day worries

Students looking at exam results

Can't stop thinking about A-level results day? Try these confidence-boosting tips

A-level results day is a nailbiter. After weeks of awaiting your results, the big day arrives and you finally discover how you’ve done. 

It’s tense. 

If you’re feeling a bit jittery about finally finding out your grades...well, you’re definitely not the only one. 

Understanding all your options is a good way to feel more confident so that you’re ready no matter how results day itself plays out. 

To find out more on how to handle results day, we enlisted the help of an expert - Swansea University’s head of admissions Helen Wright.

Making - or missing - your grades

So here’s a thing. Even if you miss your offer for your chosen university course, you might still get the place you’re after.

Universities get to see your A-level grades several days before results day, and they spend this time making decisions on offered places. The grades you get will be just one aspect of that decision, explains Helen.

“We understand the commitment that students have made to us by making us their firm choice,” she says. 

“We have chosen to make them an offer as we feel they would suit not only the course but the environment and community at Swansea University, which is why where possible we will try to accommodate those who have missed their offer.

"At Swansea University we take pride on our flexibility and look at each applicant as an individual."

Keep searching

While you’re waiting for results day to come, you can ease your nerves by preparing for every eventuality. 

“Before applying, you researched possible university courses in a rational, logical way,” says Helen. “But if you don’t get the right grades on results day it’s easy to panic.

"Keep calm by preparing yourself with a thorough knowledge of alternative courses now. If you miss out on your firm and insurance choices, or decide your offers are no longer suitable, then having defined ideas for what else you could do will stop you making any rash decisions on the day itself.”

You can work on these ideas by looking through the Clearing options listed on the Ucas website (more about this below). Work up a shortlist from there, so you’ve got alternative choices that you can feel good about if you need them.

You’ll also have the option of using the Ucas Clearing Plus service, which you can use before results day to get suggested courses that match your profile and grades.

Get your head around Clearing

If your results mean you aren’t offered either your firm or insurance university place, you will be released into Clearing - and this is when all that preparation will come in very handy. 

“Clearing offers you an opportunity to see what else is out there, once you know your results,” says Helen.

“Apart from those already oversubscribed, most courses will still have places available, so don’t accept the first one you come across. 

“It’s a three, four or five year commitment you’re making so it’s crucial you take your time to find something you’re really happy with.”

Medical pharmacology student Rose joined Swansea University through Clearing.

“There are many paths that can be taken to reach your end goal so don’t give up," she says. "Try to visit the university and speak to current students if you can because they can answer your questions from the view of a student and make it easier for you to imagine yourself at the university.”

Look further down the road

If you find you’re stressing out about results day, try shifting your focus. Yes, it might be easier said than done - but try to remember that however your results come out, you’ll always have options. 

Within a couple of months, you’ll have your results and you’ll be looking ahead at a whole new adventure. 

About our sponsor

Swansea University is renowned for its research reputation, teaching excellence and employability prospects. 98% of its students are in employment, study and/or other activities 15 months after graduating (HESA 2022).

The university also boasts two beachfront campuses and comprises three faculties that offer hundreds of undergraduate, postgraduate and research degrees with opportunities to study abroad. Both campuses offer an impressive range of facilities to enhance your student living experience.