SQA results day 2020

student checking results on phone

Exam results are published in Scotland on Tuesday 4 August 2020. Here's the lowdown on everything you need to know for results day

Exams were cancelled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic – but if you were due to sit any, you'll still be getting your results on 4 August. This year, your results will have been decided by your teachers and then checked for fairness by the SQA. 

"Together with Scotland's education system, SQA remains committed to delivering results to learners, in as fair a way as possible, at this exceptionally difficult time.

"We want to ensure that young people across Scotland get the results they deserve, so they can progress to further learning or work," commented SQA's chief executive, Fiona Robertson, when the announcement about this year's grading was made. 

Here's what to expect from the day and how The Student Room can help you.

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 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 guide to understanding your SQC

Alongside your posted certificate, it's also possible to receive your results by email or text from 8am on the morning of Tuesday 4 August through the mySQA service. To get an email or text on results day, you need to sign up and activate your account on the mySQA website. 

If you've already signed up to be texted or emailed your results in previous years and have kept the same details, you'll receive them by the same method this year without the need to sign up again.

Progression from S4 to S5

You've got your National 5 results back – great!

Attainment in these exams determines progression into the courses you chose before the summer.

Here are some common scenarios that you might be looking for answers to:

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 your school or college. The SQA's guidance is that the recommended requirement for progression to Higher is a pass at National 5.

You have the opportunity to convince your teacher that you're capable of passing Higher and that it won't be a waste of your time and the school's money, or ask them to let you begin sitting the Higher and see how you progress.

stressed boy

I missed my grades! What do I do!?

Your first port of call should be your school to talk through your options. They know you best and will be able to give high quality advice. This could include a careers advisor or a mentor.

Students who were still unhappy with their grades would usually be able to request a clerical check or a marking review of their exam, but as exams were cancelled this year that won't be an option. 

You will, however, be allowed to appeal if the SQA gave you a lower grade than the estimate submitted by your school, as long as your school has evidence to prove that you should have been given your estimated grade. 

If you appeal, you could end up with a higher grade, the same grade or a lower grade. 

"For 2020, we are offering a free appeals (post-certification review) service for National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher courses. Your school or college can use this service to request a review of your grade, if the grade you have been awarded is lower than the estimate grade your school or college submitted to us, and they have evidence to show that you were performing at the level of your estimate grade," the SQA website says. 

Here's more about how to appeal your grades and what to do if you're unhappy with your SQA results

Progression from S5 to S6

The consequences of this scenario in terms of progression 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?

This will depend on the course you're looking at, and the entry requirements that were needed. Some courses ask for your results to be achieved in 'one sitting' if you've missed this particular requirement it could be helpful to check the website of the university and contact them if needed. There may be an alternative option for you.   

If entry requirements are not advertised as 'one sitting', then your current set of Highers will be valid (although not quite enough). For example, if your course requires AAAB, and you get AAB in 5th year, then all you’d need to do in the 6th year is pick up another Higher to try to meet the entry requirements.

Before making any decisions, make sure you've double-checked the entry requirements for your preferred course on the university's website. If there's anything you're unsure about, contact the university for clarification.

It's worth noting that many universities also ask for certain subjects to be taken at National 5 level. 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.

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 which course you would enjoy the most. 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.

student working at laptop

I've made my firm offer, but I no longer want to study the course

If you really don't want to attend your firm choice, you can use the Ucas 'decline my place' button. 

There is no need to call the university to release you.

Make sure you are doubly sure this is what you want to do, as clicking the button will automatically place you into Clearing.

For more information, go to our guide to the 'decline my place' button.

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 see whether they still have a place, and would be willing to offer it to you. Here's our guide to switching your firm and insurance choice of university

If you want to go to another university, call them up and discuss your situation with them. Take a look at our top ten tips for Clearing to help you make the most of your phone call. 

It's a good idea to get them to confirm that they will accept you before you get 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 has either not submitted its decision, or it's 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. You do not have to accept this offer, and you'll have five days to make your decision.

I've missed my firm and no longer want to go to my insurance

The best thing you can do here is use the 'decline my place' button to release yourself from your insurance choice.

Once you've been released, Ucas will automatically place you into Clearing and you will be assigned a Clearing Number.

We've written an introduction to Clearing and a guide to Clearing to explain the process of applying to universities through Clearing.

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.

I've met and exceeded my offer; can I choose a better course?

If you have both met and exceeded your offer, this means that you're eligible to register for Adjustment via Ucas Track. Read more about Adjustment here.

For more help and advice, check out our dedicated SQA forums.

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