A Level Results Day 2023 – How can you be prepared?

This is an anxious week for students getting ready to receive their A Level results. The results can be life-changing and for this year’s cohort the last few years have been a real challenge. But there are some ways you can take control of the situation when collecting your results.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst

What to do before A Level results day

You know that boring bit when you’re on a plane and you have to sit through the information about life jackets, emergency exits and oxygen masks? 

We go through it on every flight, even though the chances of ever needing that information are incredibly low. The thing is, on that really rare occasion that you do need this information, you don’t want someone explaining it to you in the middle of an incredibly scary situation – you want it explained before.

Of course it’s very likely that you will get the A Level results and/or the university place you want, and you can go and celebrate your hard-earned qualifications with your friends. However, if you do get hit with a less favourable outcome, it’s worth the time doing a little pre-results day preparation to make sure you are ready for turbulence.

Before you collect your A Level results, you should consider the following plan of action:

  • Think through scenarios and how you might respond. Would you rather take your insurance place or have a gap year?
  • Look through Clearing at available courses that you might be interested in, and check what to do if you decide to go through this route.
  • Make sure you know what support is available through your school or college, and where and when you can access this.
  • Have a fully charged mobile phone (and maybe tablet or laptop) with you on the day in case you need to contact universities. Hell, maybe you should take some snacks too – no one wants to be hangry when they’re stuck on hold!
  • Have your GCSE results to hand – if you do decide to go through Clearing, universities may ask for you for evidence.

Don’t hide from your results!

If you’re hit hard by disappointing A Level results, it can feel like you want to hide from the world and withdraw – especially if people around you are celebrating. Remember that your parents, teachers and other school or college staff are there to help you – the sooner you communicate with them, the better placed they will be to advise you. Similarly, make sure you communicate clearly with universities and are aware of important deadlines for accepting or declining offers (such as change of course offers).

While we’re on the subject, don’t forget your friends. If they are feeling better about their A Level results than you, try not to let envy get in the way of celebrating with them. If they have been hit with bad news, be there to listen to them.

Clearing or gap year?

Should you go through Clearing or take a gap year? These are big choices, and there are clear pros and cons for both strategies. Try to make this decision rationally – it can be tempting to jump at any potential university place if everyone around you is getting excited about starting university and you don’t want to feel left out. Clearing might even offer a place that suits you better than your original choices! 

On the other hand, a well-planned gap year can be an amazing opportunity to develop yourself as a person and broaden your horizons. Of course, you can also gain valuable experience volunteering or in a work placement that will enhance your application next time round.

As mentioned above, it’s important to consider these options before results day if there’s any chance you might not get into your first choice of course.

What if my A Level results are better than expected?

Congratulations! Every year, a certain proportion of students manage to exceed the predictions of their school or college and do better than their predicted grades. If you did significantly better, you might be thinking about declining your firm choice offer and finding an alternative place through Clearing. This is another option to try to think about before you collect your results – ‘good’ Clearing options disappear fast and declining your place is an irreversible decision. 

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Will A Level results be worse in 2023?

There’s been a lot in the media about A Level results already – the main message seems to be all doom and gloom. Results will be on average lower than the last two years, and there is more competition for places. It’s worth remembering that you are not an average! Although it feels very real and personal, everyone around you is in a similar situation. There is nothing useful to be gained from doomscrolling or protesting about how unfair it all is. Have a plan of action, consider your options and try to get some perspective. In a few years time, none of this will really matter anywhere near as much as you think it does.

Claire Costello-Kelly

Claire Costello-Kelly

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