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Didn't get the grades you wanted. Don't panic.

Didn’t get the A-Levels you wanted? – don’t panic!

A-Level results day is here. Some students will be celebrating but for others whose results are less than what they expected it can feel disappointing and scary. If you are one of the latter, DON’T PANIC - there’s actually loads of options available for those who didn’t get what they were hoping for.

We’ve put together a few examples/options of what you could do if your exams didn’t go the way you anticipated:

Apply through Clearing

You might not have got the marks needed for your first or reserve choice university BUT it doesn’t mean uni isn’t an option anymore. If you register for UCAS Clearing you will be able to see which university courses still have places available. Don’t worry you won’t be alone in this as thousands of students apply through clearing. You are probably thinking that you’ll only have a choice of lower ranking institutions but that’s not necessarily true as the majority of universities have clearing vacancies.

Hull uni clearing

Take a Gap year

Taking a gap year can be a great way of getting life experiences and adding to your personal development. By giving yourself some time and space, it can help you figure out what your career and education pathway you want to take, meaning you can make an informed and certain decision when you return to education. Some research by Mind the Gap found that every year around 230,000 18 - 25-year old’s take a gap year, 60% of them said it aided them in deciding which subject to study at uni, with 80% feeling like it added to their employability.

Gap year 2

Learn while working

Lots of employer’s value experience over education so by going straight into the jobs’ market, you will have at least a three years advantage over students who go straight to uni from school or college. There are lots of careers that don’t need a degree, so it’s worth looking into the area you’re interested in and investigating if there are any entry-level openings. You can find these on your local authorities’ websites.


A-Level students also have the option to retake their exams in June 2023 if they didn’t get the grades they were expecting. There are some universities that will keep their offer open for the following year. If you have a set career pathway in mind, and this requires taking a certain course at a specific university, then this could be the best option for you. If you choose to resit, you don’t have to go back to the same school or college - you can choose where you want to re-sit. Many courses giving the option of online / home-study so this can work around you.


Get a professional qualification

A vocational course is a training programme which tends to focus more on the practical work rather than academic exams. The word ‘vocational’ refers to the fact that the course prepares you for a vocation, i.e. a jobs that requires a particular set of skills, such as construction for example.

You may feel like your skill set leans more towards coursework and practical assignments rather than exams, in which case a vocational course could be perfect for you.

If you choose to study a vocational course the college will assign you a level to start at based on your previous academic achievements and/or work experience. After completing your level, you may be asked to move on to a higher level to further your qualification, depending on your behaviour and excellent attendance. There are four levels of vocational course levels.


If you don’t get the grades you expected please don’t worry. As you can see here there are so many different routes you can take to get you on the pathway to your chosen career. If you would like further advice, why not have a chat one of our school/ college coordinators? They are full of really helpful advice and guidance and will point you in the right direction.

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