As any A-Level student knows, these qualifications are the gateway to your place in higher education. And on 16th August, students up and down the country will be heading to their colleges to find out if they’ve done enough to secure their places in their chosen universities. Regardless of how positive or negative you feel about your results, it’s a stressful thing to do, and there will be a lot to take in.
Knowing what to expect from the day will help you prepare yourself for it, and learning how to prepare yourself for a big day is a key skill that all university students need to master, so learning how it’s done nice and early will give you an advantage, not only on the day, but throughout the course of your degree.
The Night Before
Telling you to distract yourself, to switch off, and to try to focus on other things 24 hours before results day would be pointless advice. If you can, great! But in reality, no student who is invested in their results and the effort that they have put into their A-Levels will want to focus on anything but those all-important grades. Instead, the best piece of advice for you to follow is to make sure that you have a proper meal and a good night’s sleep.
As with any potentially stressful situation, it’s important to make sure that you’re well-nourished and well-rested before you face the day. You generally won’t know what to expect from your results and what they mean for your future, and ensuring that you’re prepared for any outcome will help you make the right decisions the following day.
If you’re struggling to get to sleep, you can try one of the following techniques to help you to drift off into a natural slumber:
- Try the 4-7-8 breathing technique: By breathing in through your nose for four seconds, holding your breath for seven seconds, and breathing out through your mouth for eight seconds, you are increasing the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream and slowing your heart rate.
- Wear socks to bed: Swiss scientists have found that when your hands and feet are warm, you will fall asleep faster.
- Take a warm shower before you sleep: By bringing your body temperature up and dropping it down again when you step into a cold room, you slow your metabolism more quickly, which prepares your body for sleep.
On the Day
A Mini Guide to UCAS Track
UCAS Track is the portal that you log into in order to find out whether you have been accepted onto your chosen courses.
- UCAS Track opens at 8am
- You log in using the details that you used to complete your initial application
- Thousands of students will be checking at the same time, so the site may not run quickly
- UCAS Track simply tells you whether you have been accepted onto your course choices; it doesn’t tell you your grades. You’ll have to go to collect them at your college.
Making sure that you have something to eat before you go to collect your results is important, because you will be using the remainder of the day to make some important decisions – the last thing you want to be feeling is fatigued while you’re doing so.
Your results will essentially decide whether you get onto your preferred university course or not, and you’re recommended to prepare yourself for any outcome. Ensure that you bring your mobile phone in case you have to get in touch with universities, as well as their contact details in case you need them. It is also recommended that you take a calculator along if your phone doesn’t have one built in, because you’ll need to add up your module results and double check that they all make sense.
What’s the Outcome?
There are a few potential outcomes when it comes to your university offers, and it all depends on the decisions that you made when you were choosing the course that you would prefer to be your firm offer (and those which were your insurance options).
- You’re offered a place on your firm choice: Great news! You’ve got the place that you wanted, which means that it’s time to celebrate. Student life starts here.
- You didn’t get offered a place on your firm choice: It’s not over yet! First, you need to check that your UCAS Track isn’t listed as unconditional, because that means you have got a place. If you’re contesting your results, you need to let the university know so that they can consider your application again after your reassessment.
- You’re offered a place on your insurance choice: So you didn’t quite get the grades for your first option, but you’ve got a place on your second option. You’re still going to university in September. It’s still time to celebrate!
- You didn’t get offered a place on any of your options: There are three options when this is the outcome. First, you can enter into Clearing and see if you can find a place on a different course with your existing grades. Second, you can choose to retake your exams and apply for university the following year. Third, you can put uni on hold for a while and get a job or an apprenticeship for the year.
- The uni accepts you, but not onto your chosen course: Your preferred university offers you a place, but it’s on a different course. It’s now up to you to read through the course spec, speak to the right people, and decide if that is the course for you.
- You’ve done better than you needed to do: If you’ve done better than expected in your A-Levels, you now have the option of contacting a university that demanded higher grades to see if you can secure yourself a place on that course instead. Your firm offer will remain in place, so you’ve got nothing to lose.
You’ve Accepted Your Place, Now What?
So you’ve received your offers and accepted one of them. Now it’s time to prepare yourself for life as a student. There’s loads to do, so you ought to start thinking about where you’re going to stay, what you’re going to do, and what you need to start buying to begin the student experience. If you’re after advice about student life and where to begin, then take a look at our blog for the latest info.