A level Results Day 2019: Didn't do as well as you hoped? Get advice here!

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Report Thread starter 1 year ago
A-Level Results Day 2019: Didn't do as well as you hoped?

To all the A-level students out there, it's nearly that dreaded time of the year! Many of us have been, or still are, in your situation, and can understand how anxious you must be feeling. I hope you all get the grades that you're hoping for, but there will definitely be a mix of emotions for some of you on the day, and if you didn't do as well as you hoped, it's not the end of the world; there are still options available to you, and we hope that this thread can give you an idea about some of them :hugs:

You may find the Should I get a Remark? and A-level Retakes Guide articles useful, as well as the guide to AS results day and the guide to A-level results day. If you've just collected your AS results a number of common questions have been answered on theAS levels FAQ & Advice: What's next? thread.

If your question isn't answered or you'd like more information, post in the thread and the results day team will try our best to help.

Best of luck to all of you for your results, and we really hope that you get whatever you're hoping for

Almost all of your subjects are now running with the new reformed specs, so your results this year won't count towards your overall A-level grade. It’s important to remember that in these subjects you’ll be examined on the whole course next summer.

Some common questions have been answered below.

I missed the grade requirements to continue studying a subject

Some Sixth Forms/Colleges may still require you to score a certain grade in Year 12 in order for you to continue studying a particular subject in your second year. If you are in this position then you should talk to your Sixth Form/College to first see if they will let you continue regardless, or if this is not possible you may want to consider getting a review of marking or retaking (which will be talked about later). If there are no options at your current Sixth Form/College, you may also consider moving somewhere else however you'd need to contact them as soon as possible (if you need to switch exam boards, the deadline for this is 21st October)

I want to retake Year 12 with different subjects

After reflecting upon your results, it may be the case that you wish to retake the whole of year 12 because you do not think your subjects are suited to you. If this is the case, speak to the Head of Sixth Form/College to see if they will be willing for you to do this. It may also be the case that you'll be allowed to change your subjects completely (although you will still have to declare your other results on UCAS if they have been certificated). Also note that some universities/courses only consider applicants who have completed their A-Levels in 2 years, so you may be limiting your options for the future by studying for them in 3 (or more) years. If you decide to change your A-Levels completely, it won't usually count as you having spent three years to complete them. However, if you were only unhappy with your results, as the new changes mean that Year 12 does not contribute to the overall A-level, you may wish to just continue onto year 13 as bad year 12 results in reformed subjects do not contribute to your overall grade

I don't want to continue with A Levels

It may be the case that you no longer want to go into Further Education after receiving your results. It is important not to make this decision rashly, however - if possible, speak to your teachers/careers adviser to see if they have any advice for you. Remember even if you have done badly this year, this will not contribute to your grade. You can take this as a wake up call to work harder next year, however if after discussing your options you are sure that you don't want to continue, you could:

Seek to pursue a vocational course instead. See here for more information:
http://www.cityandguilds.com/qualifi...ceships# fil=uk

Take up an apprenticeship. Have a look at our Apprenticeships forum:

Part-time study and work. Have a look at our Careers and Employment forum:


If you're in your second year of A Levels and you find yourself in the position of having missed your offer, you still have some options available. In some cases, your firm or insurance may let you in even if you have missed your offer. In this case, Track will update to reflect this and you won't need to worry. If you have your results and have missed your offer but Track has not updated, phone up the admissions line of your Uni as quick as possible to see if they can still offer you a place.

You may also find that if you were close to your offer, missing it by only a grade or two, your firm or insurance choice may still be showing as pending. If this is the case, then it may well be worth giving the university a ring, and talking to them about how long a decision may take, so you can look into clearing as a backup if you need.

If they are unwilling to give you a place, these are your options:


If you find that your firm and insurance are unwilling to take you, you will go into clearing. You can find some very helpful information on our Clearing page, which includes a Clearing Directory with details of most Universities in the United Kingdom. If you are in Clearing, you can make life easier for yourself by having:

1) Your results slips and all the details of your results.
2) Your UCAS ID and your Clearing number
3) A mobile phone that is fully charged and that has plenty of credit. Or better, use a landline to make outgoing calls and take incoming calls from Universities on your mobile. That way, the line is free.
4) Internet access.
5) The UCAS website open to view a list of all the universities in clearing.*.

*Please note that this year the Telegraph paper will not have a list of the universities in clearing.

Review of Marks
Alternatively, if you've missed your offer by just a few UMS, you could consider getting one or more of your papers reviewed (more information below). You will need to let your firm/insurance know that you are getting a paper reviewed as soon as possible as they should (but are not obliged to) keep a place for you as long as you meet the grade requirements by 31st August, and you will need to inform them yourself of the updated mark when it comes through.

Gap Year

Finally, if you do not want to go through the process of clearing and do not feel that a review would result in your grade increasing, you may wish to take a gap year. There are several things that you can do in your gap year which include (but are not limited to) retaking some exams to boost your grades for a reapplication.

There is more information regarding retakes below and you can find more information on gap years in our gap years forum, with this thread outlining some potential options.


If you feel that one or more of your papers were marked incorrectly, especially if you were just a couple of marks off the next grade for a particular subject, you may wish look into getting one or more of your papers reviewed. This is the new version of getting a paper remarked. If your results slip doesn't show your exact marks for each paper, ask your school or college as the exams office should have these.

There are various services available for an EAR (enquiry about results) and the availability of some services may differ between exam boards. The options are as follows:

EAR Service 1: Clerical Check

This service includes:
  • Checking all parts of the script have been marked
  • The totalling of marks are correct
  • The recording of marks are correct
  • If requested, a copy of the re-checked script(s) for those units/components included in theAccess to Scripts service.
The target completion time for this service is within 20 days of receiving the request. Although this is a cheaper option than getting a full review, it is not recommended for people with university places at stake as it can take a while for the result to get back to you. This service is for those who think it is likely that a question or page of their paper was missed. The deadline for requesting this service is the 19th September.

EAR Service 2: Post-results review of externally marked components (exams)

This service includes:
  • Clerical re-checks like Service 1
  • Review of marking to check that the mark scheme has been applied correctly.
The target completion time for this service is 30 days. This service is best for First Year A Level candidates who do not have a university place in jeopardy. A review of marks differs from the old method of 'remarking'. Previously, an examiner would go through the paper and literally remark every question again from scratch, however with a review they are now only judging whether the current mark appears accurate. The deadline for requesting this service is the 19th September..

Priority EAR Service 2: Post-results review of externally marked components (exams)

This service is as EAR service 2, but the enquiry is processed faster, provided the following conditions are met:
  • The enquiry is about a candidate at GCE, AEA or other Level 3 unit
  • The candidate’s further or higher education place depends on the result
  • The application is received before the deadline
This option is the one that should be taken by people who are getting a paper remarked to try to meet their university offer. The target completion time for this service is 18 days, and the deadline to request this service by is the 22nd August.

EAR service 3: Post-results review of internally assessed/externally moderated coursework

This service provides a remark of coursework component. An individual's coursework cannot be remarked - instead, a whole class's coursework has to be remarked. As a result, it is up to the centre whether or not they want to use this service. It is best to speak to your subject teacher regarding this. For this service to go ahead, written consent is required from all candidates of the cohort. As marks can go down, some candidates will be unwilling to send their work back to be reassessed as it could jeopardise their place at university/a good grade. It is therefore unlikely for this service to go ahead and if you are asked for consent, it is worth bearing this in mind.

To use any of these services, you will need to speak to your Examinations Officer. If you are a private candidate, you can apply for an EAR directly. You'll need to have a look at your exam board's website for information on how to apply in this case.

For more information on the above, have a look at: https://qualifications.pearson.com/c...es_Booklet.pdf

Here are some more common questions about Reviews:

I have a university place at stake, will I get my mark back in time?

Get the remark underway through school/college asap, it is vital that you tell your university that you're getting a remark. You will also need to request a priority remark to get the outcome as soon as possible - you will have until 31st August to inform your university if your grade has changed. Your university is under an obligation to consider you up until this point, but they are under no obligation to accept you, even if your grades move up - they may instead offer you deferred entry for next year and put you on a waiting list for entry this year.

If after the review my mark goes down, can I keep the higher result?

Unfortunately not - the outcome of your review is final, even if it is lower than the original mark.

How likely is it that my mark will change?

It is obviously impossible to give a certain answer to this as none of us have seen how well you have answered questions on your paper. In general though, subjects in which the marking is less subjective due to the following of a strict markscheme (e.g. Maths) are less likely to have been marked incorrectly and so it is unlikely (but not impossible) for marks to change in these subjects. In subjects where the marking is more subjective (e.g. English), there may be more chance of a change of marks. However, due to the nature of reviews as opposed to remarks, marks can only be changed if the original marker has made an ‘error’. Marks will no longer be changed simply because of different interpretations of the markscheme. You can read more detail about these changes here.

I have an undeclared extenuating circumstance from when I did the exam - can I reveal it now to increase my mark?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to apply for special consideration once results are out.

Can I request to see a copy of the exam paper to help me decide if it's worth getting a review?

Yes, it is possible to request to see a copy of your paper by speaking to your examinations officer. If, however, you have a university place at stake, it is best not to request a copy of your paper as you will require an urgent remark. It is also important to make sure that you request for a photocopy of your script and not the original. This is because requesting the original will make you ineligible to use an EAR service. If you want to consider a review of marking after seeing your exam script, it is best to request a priority photocopy of script in order to ensure you get the script in time to put in for a review of marking if you still want to after reviewing your script.

Will I have to pay to get a Review?

In most cases, you will have to pay. However, if your mark goes up to the next grade (or higher), you will be refunded the cost. Have a look at individual exam board websites for more information.

This year, Pearson/Edexcel are making marked papers available at no cost - they'll be sent electronically to exam officers. It still costs to get them back from other boards at the moment, but many are changing this for 2020.

What if I'm still not happy after the EAR?

You could consider appealing the outcome of the EAR. It is only possible for appeals to go through centres, however, so you'll need to speak to your examinations officer/teacher to get more information regarding this. This is however, reasonably rare.


In order to try to boost their marks, many people decide to retake one or more exams. Now that November/January exams don't exist for most subjects, the earliest opportunity to retake will be in Summer 2019.

If my exam was the old spec, can I retake using the old spec?

Yes - there will be an opportunity to retake papers of the old specification once next summer.

Should I retake my Year 12 exams?

If your school lets you and you want to, but it's highly unlikely that they will unless it's on the old specification, or you are not continuing on to take the full A level (since the full A level requires knowledge from the AS, hence effectively overrules an AS in terms of value)

Can I just retake one exam or do I need to retake the whole subject?

If it is an unreformed subject you can retake individual modules. Most subjects are reformed and are linear courses. In these you will have to retake the whole subject and will end up with two grades.In the event of a UCAS application, you would have to declare both.

If I retake and get a lower mark, which one will count?

In the reformed linear A levels, you will get two grades. For unreformed subjects where you can retake individual modules, you will only get one grade.

Which is better, retaking or getting a review?

This depends on your circumstance and the answer will vary between different people. In general, you may wish to consider retaking if you think any of the following apply to you:

- You have just one module mark that is pulling your overall grade down (on an old specification subject)
- You feel you had extenuating circumstances affecting your exam performance.
- You feel your paper was marked correctly.
- You think that you will have enough time to revise for your retakes along with your next exams if you have any
If you feel that your paper was marked incorrectly you may wish to consider getting a review instead.

If you are unsure as to which option to pick, it would be best to speak to your teachers for their advice. You could also make a post on this thread to get advice from others.

How do universities see retakes?

For most universities, the odd retake is unlikely to have major issues. For some competitive courses such as Medicine, however, you may be at a disadvantage if you decide to retake. The best thing for you to do is contact the universities you are interested in applying for and asking them if they're still happy to consider you. If you want to apply for Medicine, you may wish to have a look at Medical School Resit Policies page. Some of it may be out of date, however, so it'd still be best to check with individual Medical Schools for their policy regarding retakes.

Do I have to pay to retake?

There is usually a charge associated retaking. To find out the price, you'll need to speak to your examinations officer as prices vary between centres and sometimes your school will simply pay it for you.

Last edited by Lemur14; 1 year ago
Badges: 14
Report 1 year ago
Results day can seem like the end of the world, especially if you didn't get the results you expected/needed for your first choice but it's important to remember that you still have options!

A number of universities, including ourselves have spaces available across a number of courses through clearing. It can seem like a scary experience, but one call to our team really can change your life.

If you're interested in a space at the University of Sunderland, or you just want to discuss your options, call us now on 0191 515 3000 or check out our website below.
University of Bradford
Badges: 16
Report 1 year ago
Hey everyone!

I hope you're all happy with your results, well done for trying your very best and putting in all that effort!

Remember that you can still apply through Clearing to many universities, and you never know, you may find a course that you'd never even thought about before! :thumbsup:

I have a blog post from Clinical Sciences student Duaa, who shares her Clearing experience with us. She explains how Clearing isn't the end of the world, and the people she spoke to throughout the process were incredibly supportive and eased her results day anxiety! If you'd find this useful you can read it here

Try not to panic, explore all your options.

If you'd like to discuss your options with us you can call our Clearing Helpline on 0800 073 1225 :call:
Or you can apply online by completing the self-apply form :cyber:

Badges: 8
Report 1 year ago
My advice:

It may be better (both in educational and in monetary terms) to resit exams as an external candidate.

Alternatively, it may be better to find a new sixth-form/college that would allow you to retake either your first and/or both years.

DO NOT RUSH OR FEEL COMPELLED to go to any university for the sake of it.
Badges: 13
Report 1 year ago
Because of the new 2 year linear a levels, it seems harder to resit as an external. Trying to get a resit through the school currently, summer 2020.

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