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Top tips for A Level results

18 August 2016

Revision is done, the exams are over and the results have finally arrived. It’s a stressful time for students, parents and teachers. But I’ve put together some top tips to remember when getting the results, whatever your grades: Confirm your place: Once you’ve received those all-important results in UCAS Track, make sure you contact the college or university to confirm your place. Seek out advice: If you haven’t quite got the grades you wanted, don’t panic! There are lots of options out there, including higher apprenticeships and the clearing system. You may be able to re-sit exams or find a different higher education course which is suitable for you. Be clear about clearing: Even if you’ve got the grades you want, you can still go through clearing to go to a different university or college. If you’re considering this, make sure you have everything you need – namely a clearing guide (use the UCAS website or there will be one in most newspapers) and a notebook and pen. You’ll need them for calling universities and colleges to find out what is on offer, depending on your grades. If you have grades above your firm offer, you can use UCAS Adjustment to trade up to another course, university or college. Consider all the options: If you’ve changed your mind or don’t want to take the academic university route, investigate your local college. They offer technical and professional qualifications at a range of levels including higher education. These qualifications often include working directly with employers on placements so it is can be an excellent experience and boost your employability skills. Explore apprenticeships: If you’re looking for a higher education opportunity but without the university tuition fees, it may be possible to find a higher apprenticeship. This is a great way to study for a degree level qualification while working in a real workplace environment. Many local and national companies now offer apprenticeships. Colleges can help you find the right one for you and you can search for apprenticeships at And finally, don’t get disheartened. Whether you have received the grades you wanted or not, there is something out there that is right for you and will help to get you on your chosen career path. Keep calm, look at all your options, do your research and get advice from reliable sources such as careers advisers. There’s also the option of taking a gap year and maybe getting some work experience before going on to further study. The range of choices may seem bewildering as you are moving on to something new and unfamiliar. But stay calm and think carefully about what you want to do. Catherine Sezen is the Policy Manager for 14-19 and Curriculum at the Association of Colleges.