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What Are Your Options After A-Level Results Day? UCAS Shares Its Top Tips

15/08/2014 08:52 BST | Updated 15/08/2014 10:59 BST

A-level results day can be a tough time for students if you didn't get the right grades, or you've just changed your mind about university, so it’s best to be armed with as much information as possible.

Take time to read up on the main options available to you once you get your results. Here are some top tips from Exam Results Helpline adviser John Carberry:

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John Carberry will be one of many advisors on hand to help

1. Don’t panic: A huge number of the calls that we take at the Exam Results Helpline are from students who are panicking that they haven’t got the grades that they need to get into their University of choice. The first thing that we would say is to try to calm down so that we can talk through your options effectively. So take a deep breath and keep a clear head as it will be much easier to think through your next steps if you’re thinking clearly.

2. You’ve got time: There is no rush to make any quick decisions if you are thinking about a course in Clearing. Choosing a University can be difficult but when students go through Clearing (a record number of 57,000 students did last year) and often haven’t even visited the University, it’s an even bigger decision to make. Clearing doesn’t open until the afternoon and so this gives you time to reassess and have a good think about what you want to do before you start the process.

Calling the universities and colleges you’re interested in during the day to discuss the course is vital. If you are sufficiently well prepared and demonstrate your suitability and passion for the subject, you may receive a verbal offer which you can confirm later. If it is possible to visit the university offering a clearing place before committing to it that can be really helpful.

3. Better grades than expected: Whilst this is obviously a great situation to be in it can pose a dilemma about whether to stick with your original choice or to use adjustment to choose a different course or university that was previously unavailable to you. It’s worth having an understanding of the adjustment process and you can find more information here.

4. Gap year: Taking a gap year can be an effective way to take time to think about all of your options. Used constructively, gap years can look good on a CV and can provide an opportunity to gain some work experience, making applicants more of a valuable contender for university or for the work place.

5. Vocational qualifications: If you know what you want to do career-wise then this could be a good option. It also gives you the opportunity to earn while you learn.

6. Exam re-takes: If you think that you could have got a better grade in specific subjects or modules, then it might be possible to re-sit the exam and reapply for uni next year. Your will need to speak with your school about this ASAP. But there are sometimes motivational challenges if it means revisiting old material and you need to think carefully about this and whether or not that is the right course of action for you.

Occasionally some universities look for Higher grades from re-sit students so you may need to check specific Universities views on re-sit candidates.

Finally, if you want to find out more information or if you have any questions that you need answering, don’t forget that the Exam Results Helpline is here to help so give us a call on 0808 100 8000 or find us on Twitter and Facebook