WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE PROBLEMS WITH YOUR A LEVEL RESULTS

Problems with your results

Schools, colleges, examiners and examination boards can make mistakes with exam results.  Schools and colleges process hundreds of entries, examiners mark thousands of scripts and examination boards process hundreds of thousands of papers every year.  The checking systems are good, but there are bound to be mistakes.

Requesting re-marks
If you think you did much better on a paper than the result you have been given you can REQUEST TO SEE THE SCRIPT and/or ASK FOR A RE-MARK.  If you make a priority script request, within a day or two you will receive a copy of the paper you wrote (with no marking or annotation) to look at, perhaps with a teacher, to decide if you want to request a re-mark.  Or, you can simply ask for a re-mark straight away.
Some things to remember here are:
  1. If your grade changes to the one you want, your uni will honour your place, but as time ticks by, clearing options are being taken up by other candidates
  2. Re-marks can go down as well as up, so its probably only worth it if either you think there has been a really travesty of marking (this happens… although it is rare, for example one year a student had their mark for one essay of 28/30 recorded as 8/30…) or if you are right on the borderline of the upper grade so that it is unlikely your grade will go down
  3. Grades usually only change by 3 or 4 marks if at all, so if you are right on the borderline, it might be worth it, if not, you might want to consider other options
  4. You will have to pay for this service
Not cashed-in
If you can see on your result slip all the individual unit marks for your subjects, but you can’t see the overall grade awarded, you may not have been “cashed-in” for the grade.  This is very easily dealt with by your school and if you have achieved the grades you need you will be accept by your university.  If you haven’t met your requirements, and want to enter clearing, this can be more challenging and you will need to contact all universities and UCAS to be RELEASED INTO CLEARING.  You may need to fax them your results and make lots of phone calls to chase up.
Grades missing
You may notice that for one or more subject, you have an X or a Q or a # next to your result.  This can indicate that some component is missing from the award of your grade.  Sometimes this may be a coursework grade or a paper you sat at a different school or any number of different things.  Speak to someone at your school or college immediately if this is the case.
Mathematical mistakes
You wouldn’t believe it, but it is worth checking that the marks you have been given for each paper add up to the final score you have been given and that the grade awarded is in line with the grade boundaries.  I have known a student be awarded a B rather than the A they deserved, just because the exam board didn’t add up the numbers properly!
For clearing go to the UCAS website – http://www.ucas.com/clearing-service

BE PREPARED FOR RESULTS DAY

A level results day can be the most nerve-wracking and most significant day of a young person’s life.  Without exception, A level students who have worked hard for two years to get their qualifications are in equal measure nervous, twitchy, terrified, excited and anxious. Rightly so.  A student’s A level results can shape his or her immediate and long-term futures.
There is almost always something riding on the letter, A*-E, printed alongside each A level subject they have studied over the course of their A level programme.  Usually the thing at stake is a place at university and all the opportunities that are associated with gaining entry into the institution of choice.
Results day therefore is a stressful day, unfortunately things can go wrong, mistakes can be made and problems can arise, all of which add to a the stress-levels.  So, if you are an A level student awaiting your results, about to find out where you will be studying and living for the next three or more years, you need to BE PREPARED FOR RESULTS DAY http://wp.me/p4RGIw-o.
Here are some things you can do to help results day go as smoothly as possible:
  1. Collect your results in person from your school or college
  2. If this it is not possible to collect your results in person, be contactable and in contact with your school or college as early as you can be.  If you are overseas, you might need to operate on UK time for a while to ensure you are ahead of the game.  Note that you may not be able to receive results by telephone.
  3. Be prepared and bring with you – your student ID, your passport, your UCAS ID and your UCAS track login details, a charged mobile phone and, if you have one, a device that can connect to the internet
  4. You may want to have your parents, family or friends around, you may not.  Remember that your results are YOUR results, if you choose to share them that is up to you, but if you’d rather be alone, there is nothing wrong with that.  You are (probably) an adult now – decide for yourself how you want to do this then call other for advice if you need it
  5. Arrive early and don’t make any plans for the rest of the day
What happens after I’ve got my results?
If you get what you need – congratulations! You have nothing further to do and you can celebrate!  Your university of choice will already have your results and your acceptance materials will be on their way to you.
If you don’t get what you need you have to remain calm, focus and don’t panic.  Firstly, make sure that there are no PROBLEMS WITH YOUR RESULTS.  If there are no problems with your results and you have only missed out on your offer very narrowly, you could consider contacting the universities you missed out on to see if they will still take you.  They might.  If they liked your application and they still have places on the course, you might get lucky, alternatively, they might offer you a place on another, related course which could be of interest.  For example, maybe you missed your offer for maths and that course is now full, but the university has places available for maths with statistics.
If you have explored this route or you missed out by a long way, you may want to enter clearing so be prepared for CLEARING by reading here http://wp.me/s4RGIw-clearing  The golden rule of clearing is not to be rushed into a decision.  You probably spent weeks and months considering university options when you made your UCAS application, in clearing you may have only a few hours to decide whether or not to take up a place.  it is really important to remain calm, take advice and ensure you make an informed decision.
For clearing go to the UCAS website – http://www.ucas.com/clearing-service

UCAS ADJUSTMENT

Adjustment

Adjustment is a relatively new UCAS system that allows you to choose a “better” university if you get better results that you expected in your A levels.

Find out about adjustment from the UCAS website http://www.ucas.com/how-it-all-works/undergraduate/results/better-than-expected and read my advice below:

How does it work?

If you exceed your offer (eg you were offered BBB but you actually get AAA) then you are allowed to speak to universities with higher entry requirements to see if they will take you. They might!

REASONS TO BE CAUTIOUS:

  1. Is the university you have tried to get into through adjustment really “better” than the one you originally applied to and have been offered a place by? What is your definition of “better?” Remember you chose the university that has offered you a place for good reasons!
  2. You only get 5 days to use adjustment from when your offer goes from CF to UF. That is 5 periods of 24 hours. Not 5 working days.
  3. Be careful about making quick decisions – take your time to consider your “new” university. Do your research, visit if you can, think about accommodation for example – accommodation tends to be given out on a first-come, first-served basis. As an adjustment candidate you might find yourself at the back of the queue

REASONS TO GIVE IT A TRY

1.  You can’t lose the place you’ve been offered so there is no risk in exploring options

2.  Universities have recently been allowed to take effectively an unlimited number of students as long as they can accommodate them and those students meet the minimum entry requirements for the courses they wish to take

Just like if you were using clearing (http://wp.me/s4RGIw-clearing), it is worth remembering the following:

1.  Be in the country on results day – if you can’t be in the country, be available on the telephone and remember to operate on UK time

2.  Collect your results as early as you possibly can

3.  Make sure your phone is charged and you have access to a computer or device that can access the internet

4.  Explore your options, then call the universities you want to apply to and BE CALM.  Have to hand your UCAS ID and get some “verbal offers”

5.  Ask for the name of every person you speak to, especially those who offer you a place, and try to get their direct line and email address

6.  Try to confirm everything in writing by email if you can.  This may mean that you have to make the first move and write an email to the person you spoke to confirming the details of your conversation

7.  If you live near the university you want to go to.  Be prepared to go there if necessary

8.  If you will need a visa to go to university, have your passport with you on results day

9.  Be realistic – you’re unlikely to get into Oxford to study medicine

10.  Be efficient and organised because you will have to move swiftly, but don’t panic.  You will still have some time to explore options and you should take some time to ensure you are making the right choice.

11.  Be prepared to have to answer some “interview” type questions over the phone by re-reading your personal statement

12.   Be prepared to have to write another personal statement especially if the courses you apply for through clearing are different to those you applied for originally

Good luck!

HONG KONG STUDENTS COME TO THE UK!

If you are a student in Hong Kong about to find out your HKDSE results, have you thought about studying in the UK if you don’t quite get the results you need? If you get good DSE results but don’t get exactly what you need to go to university in Hong Kong, A levels in the UK may be an option for you.

 

Why?

  1. The UK A level system means that you only have to take 3 or 4 subjects. So you can study only subjects that you like, that you are good at and that are going to help you towards the career you want to take.
  2. Some Colleges will allow you to do you A levels in 1 year instead of the usual 2 years. Although this is a big challenge and it is difficult, it is not impossible and it can be done.  Even if you take two years, it could be worth it.
  3. One year A level means that you will finish A levels at the same age (18 years old) as students in the UK and progress to university at the same time as them.
  4. Getting good A level results could mean that you get into a high ranking university in the UK or elsewhere in the world that is better than the university you might have gone to in Hong Kong with your DSE results.
  5. If you still want to go to university in Hong Kong, you could apply the following year with you’re a levels as a non-JUPAS student.
  6. It will give you the opportunity to come and live in London or elsewhere in the UK.

Education agents in Hong Kong and the British Council can help you make a good choice.

CLEARING

Clearing can be a valuable tool.  I have known many students take up places at very good universities to study courses that were perfect for them through the clearing system.  In some cases the degrees they ended up reading and the universities they ended up studying at were better matches for them than those they missed their offers for.

 

The UCAS website is the best place to look for for clearing information and advice:

http://www.ucas.com/how-it-all-works/undergraduate/results/if-you-have-no-offers?utm_source=hootsuite&utm_campaign=hootsuite

 

But I have a few pieces of additional advice based on my own experience to share:

 

1.  Be in the country on results day – if you can’t be in the country, be available on the telephone and remember to operate on UK time

2.  Collect your results as early as you possibly can

3.  Make sure your phone is charged and you have access to a computer or device that can access the internet

4.  Explore your options, then call the universities you want to apply to and BE CALM.  Have to hand your UCAS ID and clearing passport number

5.  Ask for the name of every person you speak to, especially those who offer you a place, and try to get their direct line and email address

6.  Try to confirm everything in writing by email if you can.  This may mean that you have to make the first move and write an email to the person you spoke to confirming the details of your conversation

7.  If you live near the university you want to go to.  Be prepared to go there if necessary

8.  If you will need a visa to go to university, have your passport with you on results day

9.  Be realistic – you’re unlikely to get into Oxford to study medicine

10.  Be efficient and organised because you will have to move swiftly, but don’t panic.  You will still have some time to explore options and you should take some time to ensure you are making the right choice.

11.  Be prepared to have to answer some “interview” type questions over the phone by re-reading your personal statement

12.   Be prepared to have to write another personal statement especially if the courses you apply for through clearing are different to those you applied for originally

 

Good luck!

About John Wilson

John Wilson is the Principal of Acorn House College in Southall, London. He was appointed to this role in January 2015 to lead the College as it begins a new chapter in its successful  fifteen-year journey.

His previous role was as Director of Studies/Vice principal at Ashbourne College on High Street Kensington in Central London, where he led the academic staff and oversaw unprecedented improvement and academic success at A level and GCSE.

John was educated at state schools and colleges in the North East of England before graduating in 2000 from Oxford University with honours in biological sciences.  He has spent a significant proportion of his career as an advisor to students in the UK and throughout the world on making the best possible university choice and the strongest possible application.  Having attained a PGCE in secondary science from Cambridge University he is also a qualified and experienced teacher of biology and science specialising in sixth form/tertiary education at A level.

John is a lay member of the university admissions panel for medical school undergraduate entry at UCL (University College London) and has also performed this role at Imperial College and Queen Mary University in London.

He has been invited to speak on a number of occasions in Hong Kong by the British Council to share his knowledge and experience of the British education system and on making applications to British universities.  In particular he has made presentations on how to choose a university and how to make the best possible application to British universities.

From 2007 to 2010 he planned and prepared Ashbourne College for its inspection by Ofsted and led the College to a judgment of “outstanding” with specific reference made in the report to his “dynamic” leadership.

John is passionate about education and about the opportunities it can create for young people.  He believes fundamentally that academic success can open doors and empower young people and that this success depends not only outstanding teaching but on the delivery of a rounded, holistic education with the learner at its core.

John has completed four marathons in competitive times, is a below-average musician and is happily married with one young daughter.

johnwilsoneducation.com is John’s personal website and the views expressed are his own.

 

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