Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Unexpected exam results – what next?

Results day arrives and it’s the moment of truth: Have you achieved what you needed to get in to college or university?

Regardless of your situation, don’t panic, there are always options. It’s a good idea to talk them over with someone who can help you make or adjust your plans, and that’s what the Exam Results Helpline is for. Whether you have questions about gap years, skills and experience, vocational qualifications, retakes and re-marks, moving out of home or finding employment – qualified and experienced careers advisers are at the end of the phone to support you with independent advice about your next steps. You can meet four students who are glad they got in touch with the Exam Results Helpline on results day in our blog post "The Exam Results Helpline - helping you face the unexpected".

John Carberry, a Careers Adviser for the Exam Results Helpline shares valuable advice on the different options to consider if your exams results aren’t what you expected. 

Pursuing university or college
If you only narrowly missed being offered a place at your chosen college or university, you may still be accepted so be sure to check your status in UCAS Track.
John Carberry - Careers Adviser, Exam Results Helpline

If you find yourself in Clearing you’ll need to look for courses you’re interested in that have vacancies and start speaking to universities and colleges to find out if they can offer you a place. Everything you need to know about how to use Clearing is on the UCAS website

Better grades than expected? Terrific! 
If you’ve met and exceeded the conditions of your firm choice, you’re eligible for Adjustment, which means it’s possible you could swap your course. You must register through UCAS Track, and again you’ll need to do a bit of telephone work. It’s important to be prompt if you want to use Adjustment – you only have a few days. 

Taking a gap year
Whether you’re planning to reapply for university next year or head straight into the job market, a gap year used as ‘constructive time-out’ can be great for your CV. It could give you the opportunity to ‘test-drive’ a career, develop your confidence and independence and build up your skills and experience – and ultimately make you a more valuable and competitive candidate for college, university or a job at the end of it. You could even earn some money along the way!

You have many options – voluntary or paid work in the UK or abroad, internships, work experience, travelling or a Year in Industry are just a few. 

If you’re unsure what you want to do, a gap year may provide you with the time and experience to help decide. If you want to return to education, remember to be aware of application deadlines!

Getting your exam papers re-marked
If you don’t agree with your exam results and you want to explore getting your papers re-marked, speak to your school or college IMMEDIATELY, especially if your place depends on the overall grade. There are strict deadlines in place and support from your school or college is essential.

Re-taking your qualifications 
If you think that you could have got a better grade in specific subjects or modules then there might be an opportunity for you to resit the exam, and reapply for uni next year. You need to speak to your subject teacher about this as it’s ultimately the school or college’s decision and they will organise next steps. 

Vocational qualifications
If you know what you want to do career-wise and you like the idea of earning while you learn, this could be a great choice for you. 

Vocational qualifications such as apprenticeships, HNDs and NVQs are credible, well-valued work-based training programmes. You’ll get top quality training while developing skills, earning a wage and gaining a qualification on the job. Vocational training is designed to give skills for specific jobs and is great if you want to move straight into employment.

To learn more about any of these options, contact the Exam Results Helpline. The service is available from 5 – 23 August on 0808 100 8000. Calls are free from UK landlines.


Ewan dc said...


I find this blog and the student blogs very helpful as I am applying to uni. Yet you don't seem to have anyone in my year writing one! I love writing and I would love to help others out by charting my application journey with UCAS. How do I get involved?


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explore more It enables the admission committee to get to know you better. They will enhance your writing while reducing wordiness, removing clichés while improving word choice.

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