What to do if you haven’t got the grades you want

by Sarah Adams

With results day impending, nerves are high. Much of your time will have been spent in lectures, revising,preparing for and sitting your exams. Results day is just around the corner and you are probably hoping for your expected grades for your long awaited place at university.

But what do you do if you haven't got the grades you expected?



No matter what grades you open on results day, there will be options open to you. Firstly, do not panic! Login and check the status of your application on your UCAS account here. You may still be accepted to your preferred option even with your lower grades.

If you weren't as successful as planned, get a head start and learn more about about the other universities you applied to. Read the prospectus, visit an open day and consider accepting another university offer.


UCAS extra enables you to view courses you can apply for based on your results in the UCAS Course Search. UCAS Extra runs from 25 February to 4 July for applicants who made five initial choices, but have either been unsuccessful in all cases or have declined any offers they received. If you're eligible for UCAS Extra, an 'Add an Extra choice' option will appear on your screen which you can use to apply for a course.


Clearing allows universities to fill up any vacant spots on their course. This year, Results Day is on the 17 August 2017 so this is when Clearing 2017 will begin for the majority of students. You can use UCAS's search tool to find university courses that still have places available. Make a list of courses you're interested in, do some research on them, then call them up to discuss. You'll need your Clearing number available so the uni can access your UCAS application - you can find this on Track.


If you believe your grades are wrong, you can ask for them to be checked, Only schools or private candidates can appeal an A-level result.. This can be done as a priority re-mark if your university application is at stake. You'll need to do this through your school or college, and you'll pay a fee which you'll only get back if your grades are changed. Discuss this option with your tutor or year head as soon as you get your results.


Most, not all, universities accept resit grades and recognise the benefits, so your degree plans are generally not compromised by retaking papers. If you don't want to enter clearing (or haven't found anything suitable) and are committed to going to university, re-taking your A Levels could be an option. Speak to your college first to see if you are able to join A2 lessons for the year.


If your intention was to go to uni in order to pursue a specific career, then why not consider looking into alternative routes. You could work in an entry-level position and still gain first-hand experience of working in the industry and have the opportunity to apply for promotions as your career progresses. You could also apply for apprenticeships or school leaver programmes, which allow you to train for a high-skilled job as you earn. You may also like to consider Foundation degrees which may be offered by further education colleges.