5 myths about A-level results day


My results day was two years ago and I still remember how panicked I felt. I realise now that a huge part of this was because I didn’t fully understand how it all worked.

I’d heard different - sometimes conflicting - things about how and when you’d receive an offer and what would happen if you didn’t get the marks.

So, to make sure you’re well-informed on August 15th, let’s dispel the 5 most common myths you’ll hear about A-level results day.




1) Track doesn’t update at midnight

I remember that, as soon as it hit midnight, I was frantically checking Track and didn’t sleep much for the rest of the night – panicking that I’d not got my first choice and drawing up a spreadsheet of Clearing options at 4am…

It’s important to be aware (unlike me) that Track doesn’t update at midnight and usually, it won’t do so until 6am or 8am, depending on your school or college.

Therefore, try and get a good night’s sleep and don’t sit there refreshing the page until the early hours. Trust me, nothing will appear!


2) Clearing isn’t just for those who missed the grades they needed

People often think Clearing is just for those who didn’t get the grades they needed for their first choice or insurance university. But this isn’t the case.

Sometimes, by results day, people have changed their minds about what to do next.

They might now want to study a different subject. Or attend a different university. Those who originally wanted a year out might have decided they’d actually quite like to go to uni after all.

Clearing gives these people the chance to find an option that’s better suited to them.


3) If you get better marks than expected, you could get onto a different course

UCAS has a service called Adjustment which allows students who’ve met and exceeded their conditional firm offer to swap this for another course they’d rather do.

This means that you’re actually not locked into your first choice if you excel yourself!

The best thing about Adjustment is that you can try it but if you don’t find anything else suitable, you won’t lose your place on the confirmed course you gained on results day.

You can learn more about it here.


4) You have to go and collect your grades; they don’t appear on Track

Track is where you’ll see whether you have been accepted and offered a place at university. However, it won’t show what grades you have received.

Therefore, you will need to go into your sixth form or college on August 15th to find out the specific marks you’ve received for each of your A-level subjects.

Try to make sure you’re around to do this. If not, get in touch with your school to see if you can find these out remotely or if you can nominate a person to go and collect them on your behalf.


5) You can’t simply decide to go to your insurance choice if you’ve met the requirements for your first choice university

If you do not meet the grade requirement for your first choice but you do for your insurance, you will be allocated a place at your insurance choice.

However, if you have met the grades for your first choice, Track will assume you’re going to accept this offer.

Therefore, if you suddenly decide that you’re more interested in going to your insurance choice university, you’ll have to negotiate a place through Clearing instead.

You can learn how to do that here.


And there you have it! Hopefully that’s given you a better idea of what to expect this results day, what’s true, and what hearsay you can ignore. Good luck!


Keep reading: What's Clearing and how does it work?