The Ultimate Guide for Surviving Results Day and Getting a University Place

Knowing what to expect will make things run more smoothly so that you can handle anything.

Can I prepare for results day?

Note: the following advice focuses on UCAS.  The main thrust of the advice will hold good for applicants through other platforms.

Make sure that you have your login details for UCAS.  (Your school will not have these, because of data protection. Contact the UCAS Student Helpline to obtain your login details if necessary. ( 0371 468 0 468 – from UK or +44 330 3330 230 from outside UK.)

Make sure that you have the name and contact details of Admissions Tutors/ Departments at your CF and CI universities in case you need to call them.

It may be useful, as well, to know how to contact the relevant Heads of Departments if you need to discuss your results and possible re-marks or reviews of your examinations.

If you feel that you have under-performed, do some research in Clearing (see below), even before your Results Day, and get ready to apply to different universities and/or courses on the day itself.

UCAS will be listing courses available through Clearing from 5 July onwards.

When do the universities receive my results?

IB results are released to students on 6 July.

A Level and BTEC results are released to students on 17 August.

Universities may well receive your results before you do. It is not unusual for UCAS to update your status before Results Day.

Your Results

You will first receive an overview of your results, which will be followed by a breakdown withthe marks for the different components.

You may wish to speak to a Head of Department, your teacher/ other subject specialist and your Head of Sixth Form/ UCAS Coordinator for advice about your results.

If you have narrowly missed the terms of your offer, it may be worth exploring the possibility of a re-mark or a review of your scripts. This can be an exercise in clerical checking rather than a full-blown re-mark, so please take advice before you go down that route. It can be expensive.

If you are going to opt for a re-mark or review, be aware that marks can go down, stay the same or go up, so be strategic.  Don’t risk a grade.

You can also request to see a scanned copy of your marked papers to decide, with the relevant subject specialist, if it is worth requesting a re-mark or a review.  (This is slower than opting for a re-mark or a review immediately.)

Results – and outcomes for university places?

  1. You meet the terms of your CF (Conditional Firm), so your first-choice place is confirmed.
  2. You miss the terms of your CF, but meet the terms of your CI (Conditional Insurance), and your second-choice place is confirmed.
  3. Your CF and/or CI universities make you an offer for a different course.
  4. You may not have your UCAS status updated immediately, if you are a ‘near-miss’ candidate. You may need to wait until universities have received all the results.
  5. You are unsuccessful, having missed the terms of both offers by some way. You are then in Clearing (see below); your status will be ‘Eligible for Clearing’ and you will have a Clearing code that you will use for any fresh application. 

I missed the terms of my offers – what can I do?

If you have missed the terms of your offers (CF or CI), your universities may still take you. You will need to call them to ask if they will still take you. (They do not want to hear from your parents or teachers, but from you.)

We would advise you to prepare a ‘script’ of what you will say, covering:

  • UCAS ID number.
  • Course name(s) and code(s).
  • Some comment about why you still believe that you are a suitable candidate for the course (passionate about the subject, eager to follow that particular course – be specific about it, and so on).
  • Comment on why you feel you under-performed in the examinations, citing any extenuating circumstances (which should have been identified already to the relevant Admissions tutors).
  • If appropriate, mention that you have grounds to request a re-mark or a review, and confirm that you will be requesting one.
  • Follow any such conversation up with an email to the person with whom you spoke (so make sure you get their name and title and contact details), reinforcing your desire to take up the place that you have missed.

Your school should be willing to support you in your attempts to persuade the universities to take you.  An email from your Head of Sixth Form/ UCAS Coordinator will add weight to your approach.


Clearing has become an excellent way of finding other universities or courses.  Look for suitable universities and courses – and contact each university before you apply. This means a lot of phoning around.

If you have done better than expected, it may be worth looking to see if you can ‘trade-up’.  Hold onto your CF place while you research the possibilities and contact any university that might offer you a better place/ course.  A lot of good universities hold places in Clearing for that possibility.

Do not decline your CF until you know that another university will take you through Clearing.

Check out Clearing and Clearing Plus:

Looking for a course in Clearing? Learn how Clearing works & find a new place (

Clearing Plus: the personalised way for unplaced students to find their place in Clearing | Undergraduate | UCAS

The UCAS website is the place to look to get more information: Please consult it.

2023-06-06T15:57:19+00:00June 6th, 2023|

Should I be taking the IB or A Levels in Sixth Form?

Both these programmes offer a superb pre-university formation. What follows offers general information about the respective merits of the two programmes. We recommend that you liaise closely with the school or college where you will be doing Sixth Form for specific guidance on programme and choices of subjects.

IB Focus:

What is the IB Diploma Programme?

The IBDP an international programme, created in 1968, in Geneva, and is renowned as an excellent preparation for university.

It is a holistic education that offers breadth as well as depth.

Students take 6 subjects in total, three at Higher Level, three at Standard Level, encompassing: first language, foreign language, a humanity, mathematics, a science and an arts subject/ one other.

TOK (Theory of Knowledge, i.e. epistemology) and (EE) Extended Essay (research essay) establish inter-disciplinary links between disciplines.

CAS (Creativity, Action and Service), non-examined but mandatory, allows students to develop extra-curricular skills and to become good citizens.

An international mind-set/ awareness is built into every aspect of the IBDP.

Examinations take place in the May of Year 13, so most of the course is covered early.

A significant amount of the assessment, depending on the subject, is through Internal/ Oral Assessments that will be spread out through the course.

How is the IB scored?

Out of a total of 45 points:

Each of the six subjects is scored out of a maximum of 7 points.

TOK and EE together can score a maximum of 3 bonus points

World-wide very few students achieve the maximum 45 points.

How should you put together your IBDP course?

Plan carefully.

Look at the entry requirements of the courses and universities to which you will apply to make sure that you have the right combination.

Within the expected breadth of subjects, you do have some freedom to choose HL and SL subjects in accordance with your interests.  So, someone wanting to study History at university, could take HL History, HL English A, HL Biology, SL Spanish, SL Mathematics, SL Visual Arts/ Economics.  A prospective medic could (will) take: HL Chemistry (essential), HL Biology, HL Mathematics, SL English A, SL French, SL Physics.

NB Please look carefully at the different Mathematics courses on offer and make sure you have chosen the right one for your intended career path.

You should aim to write your EE in a subject area (from the list issued by the IBO) that interests you and is relevant to your chosen course.

Liaise with staff at your school or college to get advice that is tailored to your requirements.

What qualities does the IB student need?

This is a challenging, interesting and exciting programme that will expose you to an international outlook and give you a taste of independent study.

You need to decide if you want to maintain the breadth of studying a science, mathematics, humanities, languages and possibly an art subject, or if you want to specialise with A Levels/ other programmes.

You need to have a genuine interest in all three of your HL subjects as well as a willingness to engage fully with your SL subjects and the other components of the IBDP.

It is very helpful to be highly organised and able to manage various commitments as they arise.

Don’t take your foot off the gas in your first year of IBDP, as this is when the bulk of the course and assessments gets covered.

A Level Focus:

What are A Levels?

A Levels are a British qualification that the vast majority of UK students will take at the end of Year 13. They offer a chance to specialise and studying your chosen subjects in depth and detail.  Most students elect to take three A Levels, the choices of which are motivated by a need to meet the entry requirements for specific courses. High flying students will be able to take four A Levels (or more) if the school is in a position to offer the extra subject(s) and if this is deemed to be in the best interests of the student.

How are A Levels scored?

Grades from A* – E are awarded as pass grades for each subject.  The A* was introduced some years ago to combat grade inflation.

How should you put together your A Level course?

Plan carefully.

Look at the entry requirements of the courses and universities to which you will apply to make sure that you have the right combination for your chosen course/ profession.  A prospective medic will need to take Chemistry A Level (essential) plus two other subjects that complement (Biology/ Physics/ Mathematics) or extend (English Literature/ History/ Economics) the your profile as a prospective student of Medicine.

You may encounter the idea of ‘facilitating subjects’, a classification issued  then dropped  by the Russell Group universities.  ‘Facilitating subjects’ were those deemed to be rigorous and academic (Economics, Geography, English Literature, Mathematics, etc.) as opposed to other A Levels (Business Studies, Media Studies, Design Technology, etc,)  Make sure that you are choosing A Levels that will allow you to keep your options open.

You may well wish to extend your horizons by taking an EPQ (Extended Project Qualification), which will give you an AS qualification. This is a research essay that focuses on developing research strategies and effective writing in an area that is completely of your own choice.

What qualities does the A Level student need?

An A Level student needs to be interested in their chosen subjects, willing to work hard and to read around the courses.

IB versus A Levels:

Which programme is more work?

Sixth Form studies should be challenging to extend your knowledge and your learning skills.

The IBDP will have more contact lessons during the course of a week as you will be taking six subjects plus timetabled TOK lessons and time for CAS.  You will need to plan your work around your lessons and make sure that you can juggle your various commitments.

A Levels may well have fewer scheduled lessons and more non-contact study periods. You will have time to develop your own areas of expertise and passion, outside the lessons, through wider reading and research.

Essentially, Sixth Form studies represent a significant step up from I/GCSE and equivalent courses at the age of 16.  To do Sixth Form well, you need to work hard, whichever programme you choose.

Liaise with your school/ college.

How do universities in the UK see the IB and A Levels?

Universities in the UK love A Levels, seeing them as the gold standard for university entry.  They also love the IBDP, seeing IB students as resilient and well-prepared for independent study.

UK universities issue information about entry requirements in terms of A Level grades and IB results. For instance, a Russell Group university will state that a student needs A Level grades ranging from A*AA or AAA  or 36-38 points for a particular course.  Furthermore, depending on the course, a university may well specify grades required in HL subjects – for instance: 35 points, including 766 at HL.

How do universities elsewhere see the IB and A Levels?

This is a massive question.  Much will depend on how familiar the universities are with the two programmes.

European universities appear to be au fait with the IBDP and, to some extent, familial with A Levels. Universities in the Netherlands, for instance, seem very comfortable with both IBDP and A Levels as entry requirements. For entry to university in Germany, make sure that you are doing the right combinations and levels of subjects.

Universities in the US know the IBDP better than they know A Levels.  The more prestigious universities which are accustomed to taking overseas students, will understand how the IBDP.  Less well-known universities will need to have the A Levels explained to their Admissions tutors.  Your school will be able to mediate your application and make sure that

Is one programme better than another for some degree courses?

No. You just need to make sure that you are constructing your IBDP or A Level programme together in such a way that you are meeting the entrance requirements.  Again, we recommend that you consult the Head of Sixth Form/ University Guidance Counsellor at your school before you commit yourself to one programme or the other.

Where can I find more information?

IB: Diploma Programme (DP) – International Baccalaureate® (

A Levels: Understand what A-levels are & what you can do with them (


2023-06-22T14:55:09+00:00February 8th, 2023|
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