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    • TSR Support Team
    • Thread Starter

    TSR Support Team
    In this FAQ you can find answers to the most commonly asked questions about the UCAS application process. There are loads of other resources on TSR to help you, so do make use of them as well! :hello:

    Special thanks to Minerva for writing this FAQ which has been adapted for the 2019 entry.


    15 October: Oxbridge/Medicine/Dentistry/Veterinary Medicine applications
    15 January: All other courses for guaranteed equal consideration
    30 June: Final deadline, applications submitted after this date are automatically entered into Clearing

    Once the 15 January deadline has passed there are no guarantees that a university will consider your application. If you are planning to apply later than 15 January, check uni websites and with the Admissions Office concerned to make sure that your application will still be considered.

    All deadlines are 17.59 on the date in question - but it's generally a good idea not to leave it that late.

    Note: All parts of your application (including any supplementary materials required - which are sent directly to the university concerned) must be completed by the deadline. If you are applying independently, this means that your referee needs to have provided your reference before you can submit your application. It is not a good idea to leave it until the last week to ask them for it.

    Other Important Dates
    UCAS Key Dates 2019

    Applying Early: the pros and cons?

    Some advisers will tell you that applying early always gives you an advantage. It doesn't, necessarily. There are risks attached to rushing your choices. If you are sure then there's no reason not to apply early, but if you are in doubt then it is better to take your time.

    Applying early does not necessarily mean that you'll get all your decisions in quickly. Every year there are cases of applicants who sent their application in September not hearing back until April, or later. This is particularly true of competitive courses such as History, English, Law, Economics. This can happen even with less competitive courses and universities - some unis have a policy not to look at anything until all applications are in. Others will do a preliminary screening which will weed out the obvious no-hopers and keep all the other applicants waiting for months. In short, there's no knowing when you will hear back from a university, so don't rush your application.

    If I apply before 15 October, will unis think I've applied to Oxford or Cambridge and reject me because of it?

    Applying early is not a recipe for rejection on the basis that you *might* be applying to Oxbridge. Universities do not see where else you have applied until all your decisions have been made**. All those myths about how Durham will reject you automatically because they think you have applied to Oxbridge are just that: myths. It is possible for someone to be accepted by a top ten uni and rejected by others - the reason for this is that unis look for different things in their applicants. No uni is going to turn away a good applicant just because they might have applied to a competitor university!

    **However, because you have to enter the details of any special admissions tests (BMAT, UKCAT, HAT, LNAT etc), if the test concerned is specific to Oxford or Cambridge, your other unis will be aware of that.

    What does 'equal consideration really mean? Surely if I apply later all the offers will have been made and I'll miss out?

    Another issue people get really bothered about is 'equal consideration', and how this can possibly work if offers are given out earlier than the January deadline. Some people say that admissions tutors told them to apply early or miss out. This is nonsense. The number of offers a university makes for a specific course is not the same as the number of places they actually have. Unis know, through long experience, what proportion of the offers they make will convert into 'bums on seats' in September/October. So, even Oxford and Cambridge make more offers than they have places (Maths at Cambridge is a particularly good example, as quite a number of their offer holders fall foul of the STEP requirements and don't actually get their place in the end). They probably reckon that their conversion rate from offers to enrolments is 97% or higher - but still not 100% - and it will vary from course to course. Other unis, where a fair proportion of offers that are made don't get accepted in the first place, whether as a firm or insurance choice, will need to make far more offers to make sure that they fill the course. Let's say uni A is recruiting for course X. They know from experience what grades are needed to do well on the course, and may have a particular view about what they are looking for in the personal statement and reference. They also know that they have needed to make at least 4 offers for every student who actually arrives on campus. So, if they receive applications in October that tick all their boxes, they aren't going to hang around until January before making offers. If an application is obviously above their particular 'line' an offer will be made whether the application was received in October or at 17.59 on 15 January.

    It is noticeable that the unis that have 'form' for keeping people hanging on for news for several months are those where a large volume of high-quality applications will have been received, and in that case all of them will be held over until after the equal consideration deadline - this approach is known as the 'gathered field'. At that point, every application will go through some kind of scoring process in order to rank them as objectively as possible.

    Choosing unis and courses

    By and large, the best advice is to go for what really interests you and you are good at. Avoid applying for a course just because you think it will guarantee you a high earning power in due course. If you fail it or end up dropping out because you hate it, all you will have is dented confidence and debt issues. Equally, don't dismiss a minority interest course at a lower profile uni out of hand - if this is what you really want to do, go for it. Remember that grade entry requirements are often an indicator of popularity/fashion rather than quality, so don't assume that it's a rubbish course because the entry requirements are 'only' BBC.

    Is taking your time over making your choices a good idea?

    A major advantage of not rushing to get your application in early is that this gives you time to consider your choices carefully. The number of threads posted on TSR from June onwards from people wanting to change their minds both about courses and unis demonstrates just how much things can change for you, even in a couple of months. So don't rush it, even if your school is pressurising you to get it done early. There's a long time between mid-October and mid-December - you will be two months further into your A2 courses by then and will have a much better sense of how the work is going and whether that A2 in Economics is quite as interesting as you thought it was going to be. Give some thought to what really matters to you - it's not just about the social life - and make full use of the massive amount of information that is available to you, both on TSR and off it.

    Keeping your school/college happy:

    If your school or college is being very insistent about you doing everything before the middle of October and you really aren't sure about what you want to do, talk to them about it. One of the main reasons why schools and colleges get on your case about uni applications is that they don't want you leaving everything until the last minute, as this makes things difficult for them too. If you can show that you are making progress - draft PS, discussing choices with them - they are more likely to cut you some slack.

    The importance of carefully checking entry requirements - and how to interpret grade ranges:

    It can happen that unis update their standard entry requirements in-year, so it is really important to check the uni/department website (not UCAS or a printed prospectus) for the latest information before confirming your choices This could save you an unexpected rejection and a wasted choice.

    If universities quote a grade range, you should assume that they will make an offer, if at all, at the higher grades unless you are eligible for a 'contextual offer' - e.g. you attend a low-achieving school. See this thread for more information about what this means.

    Adding in Choices

    The uni and course codes are clearly shown on the relevant UCAS pages: check that you have entered these correctly. Course codes especially can be very similar to one another. You can enter your choices in any order; the system may rearrange them alphabetically, but this doesn't make any difference. All your choices are considered equally and independently by the universities concerned.

    Remember that you only have fourteen days after you apply in which to change your mind about your choices, and you can only change each choice once.

    Can I enter choices at different times?

    Yes. You do not have to enter all your choices at once. It is possible (and can be a good move) to add choices in later, and provided you meet the 15 January deadline you are still guaranteed equal consideration. Bear in mind though that your personal statement can't be changed (although unis will sometimes accept an updated PS separately) so it makes sense to ensure that this is as good and as relevant to your course choices as it can be. Remember that if you have paid the £18 for one choice, you will need to top this up to the full £24 before you can add any further choices. You also do not have the 14 day 'cooling off' period for choices added in after you submit your initial application, so it's really important to make sure you are happy with your choice/s before you confirm them on UCAS.

    UCAS Technical Stuff

    Registering with UCAS:

    You will need to enter a 'buzz word' to register an application that will go through a school or college. If you have by mistake signed up as an independent applicant this can be changed - just talk to your UCAS coordinator; if need be UCAS can help to sort it out.

    Entering grades:

    You must make sure that you entered your grades for all your certificated qualifications correctly. If it comes to light that you have entered incorrect grades on your application form, you must tell UCAS (via the dedicated email [email protected]) and the universities concerned immediately. Any offer that has been made to you could be withdrawn if it was made on the basis of wrong information, so it is very much worth your while to get this right at the outset. You can find more information and advice here. If you are still not sure, contact UCAS directly for clarification.

    Entering Module grades:

    Although entering module grades is optional, my advice on this one is

    (a) check whether any of your choices requires module grades or UMS - if they do, and you don't enter them, you are asking for a speedy rejection. Unis with lots of applicants to choose from generally won't bother to email you to chase up missing information.

    (b) bear in mind that people almost always declare good grades. If you don't declare yours, unis will ask themselves what you're trying to hide. It is far better to give them the information rather than force admissions tutors to speculate - a lot won't bother, but if they do it's unlikely to be to your advantage.

    (c) it is always a case of declaring all module grades, or none; never try the 'pick and mix' approach.

    You cannot enter both grades and UMS against the same qualification - if you try to, the system will not be able to 'read' it, because it is programmed to 'see' either letters or numbers, but not a combination of them. In general, grades are preferred, but occasionally unis will specify in their prospectus/online information that they want to know what your UMS were - these are entered in the "other" box, in which case the box for a grade cannot be used.

    Problems with entering resits:

    If you are a resit candidate, you may find that 'the system' won't let you enter the resit date. This will be because the last education establishment you have entered has an 'end date' which is before your intended resit date. If you are attending a different school/college to resit your A levels, then you need to enter this establishment with the appropriate dates and your problem will be solved. Otherwise, your options are:

    (a) enter your school/college again, this time marking your attendance as 'part-time' with the relevant start and finish dates if you are taking classes, or, if you won't be attending classes but will be taking the exams using them as the examination centre, enter the month of your first exam as the start date, and the month of your last exam as the end date (doesn't matter if they are the same).

    (b) if you are taking the resits somewhere else, even if you are not receiving any teaching there, you still add the exam centre to the Education list, showing your attendance as part-time and giving the dates (ie month and year) of your first and last exam/s.

    Grade Predictions - why realistic predictions give you a better chance of getting into university:

    I've seen a few examples on here of teachers making unfairly low predictions, but generally the "But I know I'll be able to improve from a C at AS to an A at A2" approach doesn't cut any ice, for good reason. If a school gets a reputation for consistently over-predicting, this doesn't help anyone, least of all you. What is the point of ending up with offers you stand little or no chance of meeting? Much better to be realistic and pitch your application at universities where you meet the entry requirements, with perhaps one (or at most two) higher risk choices.

    Insist on knowing what your predictions are, however, as this is an important part of making sure your applications are pitched sensibly. Your referee is responsible for entering them on your application.

    Before you start 'negotiating' with your teachers about predictions, remember that if a uni states that its typical offer is ABB, a lot of successful applicants will be offering better than that, first time round. If your AS grades were BCC, even with multiple resits unis will think it unlikely that this will improve to ABB at A2, and probably reject you in favour of someone whose A level predictions are in line with actual grades achieved at AS. However, if there are specific and credible reasons for underperformance at AS these need to be confirmed by your referee in your reference.

    The reality of getting offers based on over-predictions is that the chances of you ending up in Clearing on Results Day are high - you are then left with making rapid decisions which may or may not work out. If it turns out that your grades are better than your firm offer, you will have the option of Adjustment or re-applying.

    Golden rules for your Personal Statement:

    If you aren't sure how to get started, check out the Personal Statement Builder, the How to write your personal statement article, Personal Statement FAQs and the Subject Guides to writing a Personal Statement.

    Whatever you do, do not post your PS, or bits from it, in the open forum (or indeed, anywhere online) as the UCAS plagiarism detector will find it. It is also a really bad idea to PM your personal statement to another user - you don't know who they are, and they just might help themselves to your ideas. If that user then submits their application first, you are the one gets hauled up for plagiarism.

    Remember that UCAS removes all formatting and simply cuts off the end of the PS if you have exceeded the line/character limits. Unfortunately the Word line/character count doesn't work for UCAS, so CHECK using the preview function in the UCAS form that the PS has been entered properly, and also that you haven't left behind parts of previous drafts - it happens!

    Finally, although you can change your choices if you do so within fourteen days, the PS cannot be amended in any way once your application has been submitted. Minor typos won't be a problem, but it is well worth taking the extra time to check, for instance, that you have got your facts right/spelt an author's name correctly.

    Your reference - how it works:

    Referees should be able to comment on your academic abilities. If you have not done any recent (ie within the last five years) study an employer may be OK, but if in doubt check with the unis as to what they'll accept. Otherwise:

    (a) Quality matters far more than quantity. A short reference is not a problem as long as it includes all the necessary information.

    (b) If you are applying through a school/college centre, you 'send' your application to your referee, who will then add your reference and submit your application directly to UCAS. You may have seen your reference before it is submitted, but your school does not have to show it to you. If you want to see it, you can pay UCAS £10 and make an application under the Data Protection Act to do so (once your application has been submitted, of course). See the UCAS Privacy Policy.

    (c) If you are applying independently, see here. Remember to give your referee plenty of time to provide your reference, as this has to be completed before your application can be submitted.

    I changed a UCAS choice but they've now sent me an offer?

    When you substitute a choice within the 14 day 'cooling off' period, it can take a day or two for the news that you have withdrawn your application to reach the university concerned. This sometimes results in you getting a letter or an email stating that you are being made an offer. However, there is no mechanism for this offer to land on your Track, and therefore it is not valid. If you decide you want the offer, after all, you can try ringing UCAS to see what can be done, but it's unlikely that you'll be able to undo the changed choice.

    What is my Fee Status?

    If you are not sure what yours is, check with Student Finance before you submit your application. Offers will be dependent on your status and a change could mean that your offer is withdrawn, so avoid that disappointment and get it right before you start.

    I have a changes in circumstances, what should I do?

    If anything changes (e.g. you move, you decide to drop a subject or pick one up) make sure you tell UCAS and the unis straight away. Do not just drop a subject in the hope that it won't matter - just because it's not included in your offer doesn't mean that the uni didn't take it into account when they made the offer to you. The email address to use to notify UCAS of any changes in your qualifications or exam plans is [email protected]

    Do I need my exam certificates?

    Yes! A surprising number of people seem not to bother to collect their certificates from their school or college, who are not obliged to keep them for you indefinitely. Make sure you collect these or have them posted to you, as you will need them, and not just for uni applications. Employers these days are much more likely than they used to be to check all those claims you made on your CV. It can be extremely expensive to organise 'duplicates' from the individual Exam Boards, so once you have the certificates, keep them safe.

    Correcting Mistakes

    Remember that you signed an undertaking that the information you provided on the form was complete and accurate. Do not be tempted to tell lies, whether by 'forgetting' to put down that D grade GCSE or the AS result you didn't like or by putting down a higher grade than you actually got. You will be found out – eventually – having wasted a lot of people's time, including your own. You can even be stripped of your degree if it subsequently turns out that your application was fraudulent.

    Mistakes on the Form (but it hasn't gone to UCAS yet):

    Just spotted that typo in the Personal Statement? Forgotten to put down that resit? Entered a choice wrongly? Ask your referee to send the application back to you, and you will be able to make the necessary amendments and resubmit it for the referee to send off.

    Mistakes on the Form (and it's gone to UCAS already):

    Typos/other mistakes in the PS: there's nothing you can about this now, and it really isn't worth wasting any energy on worrying about it. It's not going to mean that your application is rejected outright.

    Exam grades/plans: if you have made any errors (wrong grades, wrong exam board etc) notify UCAS and the unis immediately. You agreed to do this when you submitted your form. Unis can withdraw or change an offer if it turns out that the information you gave was wrong. Email the details to [email protected] and to your unis.

    Uni and/or course choices: you have 14 days in which to correct any errors/change your mind; after that, you are stuck with it. So make sure you check your 'welcome' letter from UCAS carefully and contact them at once if there is a problem. Remember that technically you can only change a choice if a decision has not been made, so don't delay. Some unis reply very quickly! However, if you have received such a quick decision and still want to change the choice, it is worth a call to UCAS as you may be allowed to do it. Also, remember that a choice substituted after the relevant deadline will be treated as a late application, so you would need to check with the uni concerned that your application will still be considered.

    Fee Status: notify UCAS and the unis if this has changed immediately.

    Understanding your Offer

    What are conditional offers?

    Conditional offers may be based on grades or UCAS points and sometimes a mixture of both (or an offer may be expressed in both grades or UCAS points, in which case you must achieve one or the other). You may be required to achieve a particular grade in a specified subject. Certain subjects may be 'excluded' from an offer - e.g. General Studies, Critical Thinking, a mother tongue language. If you don't understand your offer email the university admissions department and ask for clarification. Email is better because then you have a written record of their response should there be any query later.

    What are unconditional offers?

    Unconditional offers mean that the uni has accepted whatever qualifications you have achieved already as sufficient to meet their entry criteria. It used to be the case that someone who is still doing their A2s or equivalent was unlikely to get an unconditional offer unless they already had achieved A2s in some subjects, or they are resitting but the grades they already have are sufficient for that uni. More recently, some universities have been making unconditional offers to applicants who make them their firm choice. At first glance this is attractive, but it has its 'down' side, as you won't be eligible for Adjustment. The benefits are as much for the uni as for the applicant, perhaps more so.

    How will I know when a uni has made a decision?

    Some universities acknowledge applications, others don't. Sometimes even between uni departments, different acknowledgement arrangements apply. A lot of acknowledgements come by email, so check those spam folders regularly. (NB: this is not the time to have a 'joke' email address - set up a sensible one if you need to and check it at least once a day.)

    Once my application has gone in, how long does it take for my Welcome letter to arrive?

    Usually within a few days if you are UK based. Once your application has been fully processed, you can usually get into Track without having your letter to hand, using your UCAS ID number without spaces/hyphens and hitting the 'lost password' button if your existing password doesn't let you in.

    How do universities decide if I'll get an offer, and when will they tell me?

    No-one can say. Sometimes people who on paper should get an offer don't, and vice versa. However, you can reduce substantially the risk of ending up with more rejections than offers: How to Avoid Getting 5 Rejections

    On its arrival, an application generally falls into three categories: Yes, No, and Maybe. The 'yes' category will include people who very clearly and significantly exceed the standard required. These people are likely to get early offers from unis unless there are further selection procedures e.g. aptitude tests and/or interviews required. The 'no' category will be people who simply do not meet the course entry requirements and/or their application is not strong enough compared with the expected standard; these people are likely to get a quick rejection.

    The people who can end up waiting a long time for a decision are in the 'maybe' group: those whose applications meet the essential requirements and the minimum standards expected, but where there are far more applicants than offers to be made. These go through a process of assessment which may include structured scoring systems for the paper application, aptitude tests, and 'informal' interviews. Which of these will apply depends on the course and university.

    Remember that high entry requirements or so-called 'prestige' are no guides to how long it might take for a decision to come through. It can and does happen that Kent will take longer to send a decision through than Durham. Some people get offers within days, others will wait months for a rejection. A browse around the forums would show up that Manchester and Sheffield, for example, have tended to be quick off the mark, whereas Edinburgh and Warwick have tended to take their time (and then some!).

    What are Track updates and when do they happen?

    When your Track changes you will get an email from UCAS. Track itself is updated pretty much constantly as decisions come in from the unis. This can include weekends too. It may be that you'll check Track and find a decision when you haven't had an email to alert you to it. Also - not all emails saying that your Track has updated mean that there is a decision, though most do. If there isn't a new decision, something else has changed - the terms of an existing offer, a course code, whatever. Look around and if you can't work out what the change is contact UCAS to find out. Rejections will show up on Track as 'unsuccessful' against the uni choice; you generally won't get a letter from the uni itself (unless it's Oxbridge, in which case you'll normally get the letter first). Offers will also show up on Track, but most unis will write or email you to say that they are making you an offer. It's a race to see which you get first. If the offer is on Track, you can find out what its conditions are by clicking on the course code. Quite often unis won't tell you in the letter or email what the conditions of the offer are, and when this information gets to UCAS depends on the Admissions Office staff sending it through, which can sometimes take a few days.

    Wiki Articles that might be of interest

    UCAS Apply
    Tracking and Replying to your Offers
    Understanding Conditional Offers
    UCAS Tariff Points Calculator
    Late applications

    And finally....

    Even if you are one of the 'lucky' ones whose decisions are all in early, do not be tempted to rush into making your Firm and Insurance Choices. Everyone has at least until early May to make their mind up. The number of people we see on here in June regretting the offers they declined, sometimes because they didn't think they'd make the grades, should convince you that picking your firm and insurance months earlier than you need to is a bad idea. Seriously.
    • TSR Support Team
    • Thread Starter

    TSR Support Team

    The first rule of declaring grades is:
    You MUST declare ALL qualifications you hold - yes, even that random NVQ you took 3 years ago or that GCSE you took early and you did really badly in. It doesn’t matter if you think it’s not relevant. That’s up to the university to decide. Hiding grades and pleading ignorance later is a really bad idea. It can result in you losing your place even after you’ve enrolled at uni. You won’t be rejected - even by a top ten uni - just because of one anomalous poor grade.

    All the following must be entered in the Qualifications section of the UCAS form:
    • All GCSEs graded A* to U (yes, including that embarrassing D for ICT you got in Year 9).
    • All your AS Levels (A-E, and any U grades). AS levels are now routinely certificated as a qualification in their own right except by a (very) few private schools. Therefore, even if you have taken the full A level in the same subject, or are planning to resit, these AS Level grades need to be declared.
    • All your A level grades (A*-E, and any U grades).
    • IB overall score, subjects and levels and points achieved
    • Any other certificated qualifications, even if they are vocational, or weren’t sat in the UK.

    We'll say it again:
    • Remember that AS levels are a qualification in their own right, even though they can also contribute to achieving the requirements for a full A level. This is why they have to be entered separately.

    Entering Resits
    • If you have completed resits and been awarded a new grade (better or worse) for an individual AS or A level, or IB, or anything else, you need to enter BOTH results.
    • If you are planning to resit, you need to enter the subject twice, firstly with the original overall grade, and secondly with the overall grade shown as pending. You enter the module details and grades for both, leaving the grade/s for the module/s you plan to resit as pending when you enter the subject for the second time.

    Tempted to leave something out or lie?
    It is not worth trying to hide things you don't like or don't think look great on your application. by 'forgetting' about them. Doing this is considered fraudulent, and can result in your offer or your place being withdrawn. Additionally, if your results don’t exactly match the ones you’ve entered on your UCAS form, this can cause delays around Results Day - which is something you definitely don’t want!

    If you want to know how unis might find out that you've lied and what the consequences might be, check out PQs posts on the subject here and here.

    Submitting your UCAS application means that you are confirming that all the information required has been provided, is complete, and accurate. If you make a genuine mistake, you should contact UCAS ASAP at [email protected] and correct it.

    U Grades/failed qualifications
    U grades at GCSE or A-level or other failed qualifications don't technically count as qualifications, and in the past there has been a lot of debate about whether you need to declare them or not. UCAS advice on this in the past has also been contradictory.

    Currently, TSR understands UCAS' position to be that you should declare everything - including U grades or failed qualifications. Although UCAS only states qualifications need to be declared, to avoid any problems, we suggest declaring any exam/qualification you've ever attempted. It's almost as if in some circumstances UCAS views U grades as a qualification.

    Module Grades at AS/A-level
    TSR's advice on module grades is to declare them, especially if they are good. In general, not declaring them looks like you have something to hide. Whatever you do, either declare them all or none. Most universities seem to prefer actual grades, instead of UMS, so unless a uni you are applying for specifically asks for UMS, you should enter your letter grades. Your referee can mention any outstanding UMS results in your reference.

    How To Declare Your Qualifications on UCAS:



    Full A-levels:

    Qualifications you haven't achieved yet (I've used A-levels as an example):

    AS Levels (these need to be declared even if you are taking or did take the subject on to A2):

    If you are retaking a qualification, the end result should look something like this:

    Unusual/unlisted Qualifications:

    Search for them like this:

    Then add the grades in a way that seems sensible, or list them as pending:

    • Political Ambassador

    Political Ambassador


    For some of you, A Level results day may not have been what you were expecting, you may have under performed significantly or just got short of a grade or even a mark. If you're considering retakes, it's important to remember that there are steps to retaking and applying to university. I have wrote this specifically for those studying privately as they have a harder challenge if they retake at an exam centre, however this will still apply if you retake within your former school. If you need any advice, feel free to message me as I retook my A Levels and now study at university.

    ________________________________ ______________

    1) Make a plan of what you're retaking and why. If you're self studying another subject, make sure you understand the syllabus and exam board(s). If you've picked up a new subject, pace yourself and make sure you can do it in a year (if fast tracking)

    2) Once you know which exams/subjects you'll be retaking, it's worth asking your former school if you can retake there. If they do not allow you to, you need to get in touch with private exam centres. If you're retaking coursework subjects like English, you may need to travel further afield as most exam centres will not authorise coursework. Your best bet is either the NEC (if you are studying with AQA then NEC will be fine as they can moderate your work), if you studied with OCR, please contact private exam centres that moderate coursework like Tutors and Exams in Coventry. I advise you to book your exams no later than December. For those of you resitting Science subjects, if you need to redo practicals, again like NEA coursework you will need to contact private exam centres or even schools if they will allow you to join in practicals. There are some specialists colleges and schools who do consider students for practicals mainly in London.

    *Please note that if you are happy with your previous coursework mark, you can take forward these marks from the previous examination year. Costs may be high for practicals depending on where you perform them so be certain you need to re do these.

    3) You may need to save up £500 plus if you are funding this yourself as retakes can be expensive depending on the subject or the exam centre itself. Also further costs can be incurred if you require a hotel if you do not live close to an exam centre and travel costs.

    4) If you are self studying privately and not with your school, you will most likely need to contact your old school for a reference. Please do this early on, maybe November time or even October as schools will be busy and you will want to make sure they can write your reference. It's not always easy to get predicted grades for your application however it's worth asking your tutor if you can provide them with predicted grades especially if you know you can achieve your grades and if they believe you have the potential. Not all private candidates do have predicted grades so please remember this if you panic.

    5) If you can afford to, it might be worth getting a private tutor to help you. If you study a subject like English and will be retaking coursework, most private exam centres will not be able to verify your work and such a private tutor can help you by working with the exam centre and yourself to moderate your work. Also, if you cannot get a reference provided by your school, your tutor may be able to write one for you but make sure you get a tutor early on in your self studying days as then they'll be able to write about you.

    6) Your personal statement is very important and forms the basis of your application. If you are reapplying for university you may be able to use the same PS. As you will be self studying, it might be worth getting involved in extra curricular activities or volunteering. For some people, they may want to reference why they did not achieve the grades they did in their first A Level sitting; if you do this then be concise and relate it back to your degree if possible. However this is not a requirement and its always important to show your passion for your degree.

    7) Don't be afraid to apply for top universities just because of retakes, if you contact the admissions teams of your preferred universities, ask about their retake policy and make sure your predicted grades match up they will more than likely consider your application.

    8) Once you're happy with your application and got everything sorted, it's time to send off your application and revise for your exams! A quick note, you will need to disclose all grades in UCAS regardless and remember to add your exam centre as your current place of study.
    • Section Leader

    Section Leader
    (Original post by Rhythmical)
    Just FYI, we've included your Retakes post in the official "University Application Guide 2019 | UCAS FAQs" thread
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