Everything you need to know about the big day
Start by saving the dates!!!
A Level Results: Thurs 17th August
GCSE Results: Thurs 24th August
There. It’s done. Exams are over, the final watch has been stopped and there’s no more revision to do or revision timetables to fret over. You could spend the time until results day in a cocoon of chocolate and streaming box sets – and who could blame you – but there’s no harm in looking to the future in between episodes of Adventure Time. Here are some things to think about.
While you wait
Depending on how your exams went, you might feel confident or you might want to spend the next month or so not thinking about them at all; or perhaps you’ll be tempted to endlessly go over them in your head.
All of those are understandable and it’s important to reflect on the last few weeks. But you could also dedicate some time to looking after your mind and body: they’ve both been through the exam mill and will be a touch weary.
Three things to try:
1 – Exercise. The very best way to boost your energy, clear your head and reduce stress is being active. Playing sports, going for a run, doing yoga, even walking the dog – they all count. Need a little help? Apps like Sworkit, Simple Steps and C25k are free and will give you some ideas.
2 – Breathe. Sure, ‘mindfulness’ is a bit of a trendy term, but who doesn’t feel like they need time out to take some deep breaths every now and then? Download the Calm or Insight Timer apps for soothing sounds, guided meditation and general support in chilling the hell out.
3 – Nourish. There’s never a bad time to look at how well you’re eating and drinking. If exams took it out of you a little bit, focus on drinking plenty of water (not energy drinks or anything sugary) and munching on some fresh fruit and veg. You’ll feel better fast.
Get ready for results day
Here’s a five step plan for being on your game:
1 – Preparation. Plan ahead for results day and make key decisions ahead of time if you can. It saves stress on the day itself. For A Levels, make sure your contact details are up to date on Track so unis can get in touch with you if they need to. For GCSEs, have the details of any colleges/schools you’ve applied to ready.
2 – Be available. If anything goes wrong, it’s best to sort it out in person (especially Clearing – see next box) so try not to be on holiday if possible.
3 – Location. Where do you want to open your results? With all your friends, in a hole in the ground, at home…? Choose what feels best for you and let friends and family know.
4 – Timing. Find out when your school or college will be open so you’re not gnawing at a locked door in a state of quivering anxiety. For A Level results UCAS Track will be open for business from 8am so you can also check the status of your offers online.
5 – Pack your gear. For results day, you’ll need a fully charged phone (keep a charger with you), water, snacks, pen and paper and tissues for any crying incidents.
Clearing and Adjustment
If you’ve applied to uni but don’t get the grades you need, don’t give up hope. Call the university, explain what’s happened and they’ll tell you if they’re prepared to offer you a place or not. No joy? Do the same for your insurance offer.
If you end up with no offers, allow yourself a few minutes to despair. Get a hug and a biscuit. Then jump into Clearing: it’s the process that finds students for empty uni places. Tens of thousands of people get into uni this way every year, so there’s no reason it can’t be you.
While it can be stressful, the Clearing process is pretty simple. The UCAS website has all the info you need, as do newspapers (the Daily Telegraph publishes Clearing vacancies every year). Basically, there’s a list of unis with available places. All you do is start working your way down the list, calling unis and seeing if they have anything for you.
This stage is why you need the water, pen, paper and phone. Stay calm, stay confident, and don’t worry if you’re not sure about anything: unis are very good at this and have experts on the end of the phone. They want to help you find a place, so be honest and ask questions.
Similar to Clearing, Adjustment is for you if your A Level results are better than expected. You can call unis and see if your upgraded results can get you onto a more prestigious course at a more highly-ranked institution. Your original offer will stand until you say otherwise, so make the calls, see what’s available, then have a think about what’s right for you. Again, the UCAS website is your one-stop-shop for all things Adjustment.
Results day can be thrilling, exciting, heartbreaking, stressful and something of an emotional rollercoaster. So don’t try to face it alone, as there’s always help out there:
– Friends and family. Keep them informed and try not to feel crowded if your parents/carers pester you; they know how important this is and want to help.
– Teachers. They usually have years of experience with this kind of thing (and have certainly been there themselves), so take advantage of it. Ask questions and discuss options.
– Unis and colleges. We can’t stress this enough: they know what they’re doing. If things go really wrong or really right, contact them for advice.
– Forums and websites. You’ll be able to get trending news on Twitter (follow @ucas_online) and celebrate/commiserate with fellow students on sites like The Student Room.
It’s a memorable day, so capture the moment. Take pics and videos, get on Instagram, get people to sign a leaver’s book if you haven’t already…you’ll be glad you did in years to come when it’s all a distant memory.
Check Track over the next few days to confirm your place at uni, or contact the school or college you’re heading to after GCSEs. Don’t forget to look into finance for uni ASAP – again, see UCAS for details.
Be proud of yourself. Whatever your grades are, getting to the end of GCSEs or A Levels is a big, significant step in life. Well done, you. You made it.