Well, first of all what ever happens don't worry or panic (Many people will!)
I would say that these are your best options - all are creditworthy and all will help you to succeed in the future:
Go through clearing, do a short retake course, go on a gap year or become an olympic handballer?!
1) Clearing - how does clearning work? As soon as you have your results call your first and second choice Universities and see what they say. Make sure you sell yourself, make sure you put up a fight. Little things help, mention your sporting acheivments, mention work experience you've done, mention jobs you've had as every little helps. This year with fees putting off up to 10% of University applicants, you'll have more of a chance than the last few years. If this fails, go onto the UCAS website, click clearing and type in your chosen degree and have a look at what is on offer at Universities throughout the country.
You must make sure you do this on A-Level results day, 16 August 2012. Phonelines will be manic, so be patient, also have access to the internet to check on-line. Students always want to check on line but if you call you can sell yourself and chat with someone about your options. Don't just go for the easy option!
2) A Short Retake Course - these courses are seriously intense, so you have to hit the ground running. You'll have to sit exams every week and revise every day, it's hard but worth it in the long run. The ideal goal would be to sit a short retake course, sit your exams in January and then have some time off before University next year. Results for the January sitting come out at the beginning of March 2013, so if all goes well your then 'free.'
You can undertake these short 'crammer' style courses over a 4 or 8-month period. Colleges and tutoring companies can support you. Private tuition is of course a very good option, as this will allow you to focus on specific problem areas on a one-one basis. Private tutoring always achieves the best results. Financially it makes sense as well. I would suggest at least 20 hours private tuition before your exams, perhaps even book block sessions every week. Make sure tutors are CRB checked and have tutoring experience!
Make sure you highlight modules/units that you didn't do too well in; you may not need to re-sit every unit again! ☺ Also, take the time to work out your UMS score, which can be found on your results certificate.
3) Gap Year - as fun as it sounds do not sit on a beach in Thailand sipping cocktails! We would all love to do that and if you've retaken some exams and passed, then yes go and sit on that beach and have one for me! However, there are so many amazing, positive and influential gap year options that you can do whatever you want your career to be.
What helps a C.V and a personal statement? (For UCAS)
Well, there are many options, sometimes too many. Make sure you do something worthwhile for example teach English in a school in Sri Lanka, help regenerate a conversation area in South America or work in a hospital in India. The sky is the limit. Look around and check out a firm's credentials and how they operate. Remember have fun and be social, but think about what you want to achieve in the long run as well.
4) Olympic Handball - I'll get back to you ASAP on this one. One question to ask- are you over 6"2? If so, best of luck!
Good luck with whichever choice you make. ☺