Clearing: 5 things to do BEFORE A-level results day


It can feel as if the stakes are incredibly high on A-level results day.

You’ve invested so much time and energy into working for a particular outcome, that it’s natural for emotions to run high if things don’t go as planned.

Trouble is, when you’re in a panic, it’s difficult to think clearly about what to do next. Just when you need a level head.

So, what can you do NOW to help future you?

This blog outlines 5 actions to take ahead of results day that will prepare you for Clearing.


5 things to do before a-level results day


1. Get crystal clear on Clearing

First things first – you need to make sure you’re clued-up on the process.

The key things you’ll need to have a grasp of are:

  • If you’re eligible for Clearing
  • What the process involves
  • The key dates for applying
  • Actions to take after you’ve got a uni place through Clearing

We’ve written a 2-step guide which answers all these questions:

1) What’s Clearing and how does it work?

This very clearly explains what the terms means, as well as who can go through it, and when. 

2) A 7-step guide to UCAS Clearing 2019

This breaks down the process of finding Clearing courses, contacting universities and applying through Track. 


2. Shop around for alternative courses

Clearing has been officially open since 5th July (closing on 23rd October), which means you can search through and earmark vacancies now using the UCAS search tool.

If you’re feeling nervous in any way about how well you did in your exams, this exercise is a positive and proactive way to battle those feelings of anxiety. Just knowing that you have a well-researched fall-back plan if you miss getting the marks will help.

While researching alternative courses, remember that you don’t have to stick with the subject you originally applied for.

For example, if you chose English for your firm and insurance uni choices but are open to History or Marketing – now’s your chance to explore these options too.

Just don’t go for ANYTHING; remember what you want from your degree and only consider courses that will deliver these things for you.


3. Make a spread sheet

OK, this sounds more complicated than it is. You don’t need any Excel magic for what we have in mind.

All you need is a handy table of information that you can refer to if you need to contact universities about getting on a Clearing course.

Something as simple as the below would do but you could also add in extra columns regarding course length, fees and modules.



TIP: Include a few bullet points in this table that detail why you’re interested in each particular course you’ve listed. Doing this will not only force you to properly consider if this is a sensible vs. panic-driven choice, it will also come in handy later when you need to speak to the university.


4. Write down all the info you’ll need for calls with universities

As you’ll learn here, a key stage in the Clearing process will involve you calling up prospective universities to 1) enquire if they have a vacancy and would accept you based on your grades and 2) sell yourself.

For these calls you will need to have this information to hand:

  • UCAS Clearing number (This should be available on the UCAS Track system, located on the welcome page.)
  • Personal ID number

Once they’ve found you on the system, and if you meet the entry requirements, you will need to convince the person you’re talking to about why they should accept you onto the course.

This is also your chance to ask them any further questions you have about the course and university to make sure it’s the right fit.

Try and prepare these in advance so you have a script of sorts to follow. This will help to ensure you don’t forget to say or ask about anything important which is easily done if you’re feeling flustered or frantic on the day.


5. Seek advice

And finally, one of the best things you can do ahead of A-level results day, is talk to someone in the know.

If you can, try and chat to a teacher or careers advisor as they’ll have guided many students through Clearing before and will have lots of insight and reassurance to offer.

Alternatively, you might just want to speak to your parents, siblings or friends about what to do generally if things don’t go your way on A-level results day.

Seeking advice and talking it through will help you to feel less alone and might throw up other routes you hadn’t thought of, including taking a year out to travel or getting work experience.


And there you have it. 5 things you can do now to help you prepare for all eventualities on A-level results day. Trust us: if you do the leg work now, it’ll mean you can act quickly and calmly on a potentially stressful day.

We wish you the very best of luck for 15th August.


If you do secure a uni place through Clearing, you’ll need to sort your accommodation swiftly afterwards. That’s where we come in. We have all-inclusive rooms available in 14 UK cities, all close to uni. Browse our rooms here.