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Top tips for A level Results Day

The time is nigh! A Level Results Day is upon us!

When it comes to getting your results, dramatics aren’t helpful. In fact, on the list of Useful Things, dramatics fall near the very bottom, just above chocolate teapots and someone telling you to CALM DOWN when you’re very calm, thanks! 

There’s nothing we, nor any other blog or news article, can say about how stressful Results Day is that you don’t already know. So there’s no point in rubbing it in, is there?

Instead, we’re going to be as helpful as we can by breaking down the beast that is Results Day into manageable steps and equipping you with the advice and wisdom needed to survive the ordeal. As unnerving and gut wrenching as Results Day is, we’re here to remind you that you can do it. Everything will be okay! 


The Importance of Preparation

The worst part of getting your results is the unknown. It makes you feel helpless – how can you deal with something if you don’t even know what it is? But the first thing to remember is that things aren’t completely up in the air. There are only so many ways things can go. This narrows down the number of possibilities from infinity to ten or so; writing out these eventualities and how to deal with them is suddenly much more achievable!

While we can’t deal with the main unknown (your results), we can make sure that you’re as prepared as you can be for the big day. By having a plan and knowing what’s going on, the day will feel a lot less daunting. Preparing and planning is a great way to instil confidence in yourself and stave off doubts. You don’t need to panic if things don’t go to plan, because you have a plan for if things don’t go to plan…Did I mention you need to plan?

Before The Day

As with many things, the lead up is worse than the thing itself. The more work you can put in beforehand, the easier it will be on the day.

  • Talk to someone about your stress and worries. A problem shared is a problem halved, and just getting it out in the open can take a lot of weight off your shoulders.
  • Write a plan for every eventuality. Decide what you’ll do for every possible result you may get, from all A*s to all Us. This can be as vague or specific as you want, from a simple “Go into Clearing”, to a list of potential universities and courses, to running into the Welsh valleys and living out the rest of your days on a farm. Seeing it all laid out in front of you can work wonders for anxiety. Results Day doesn’t have to be “I didn’t meet my offer” followed by a big, blank space. 
  • Look at Clearing vacancies. If it’ll help you feel better, research the different courses and universities offering places in Clearing. This will remove some of the frantic Googling and calling on the day. Don’t limit yourself to looking for the exact course you originally applied for – this is all hypotheticals so indulge your wildest fantasies and keep your mind open.
  • Write down the phone number for your university admissions team. If you just miss your offer or have a question about your application, you’ll need to call your university. Have the number ready so you don’t need to hunt it down on the day. 
  • Write down the UCAS Clearing phone number and your personal ID. You’ll need to call individual universities to inquire about their Clearing places, but you can call UCAS directly (0808 100 8000) if you need any support. You’ll need to give your personal ID, along with your Clearing number, to anyone you speak with. Your Clearing number will become available in the Application status’ part of your UCAS profile.
  • Look after yourself. Get plenty of rest, keep a routine, and make sure Results Day stress doesn’t take over your whole life. Plan something fun for after you get your results.

On The Day

This is when the adrenaline and anxiety really kick in, making it hard to think about anything else. Having it all planned out for Future Stressed You will make it marginally easier.

  • Have breakfast. Cliché, yes, but vital nonetheless! You might not have an appetite, but it’s important to fuel your body. It’s going to be a long day no matter what happens, and later on you might feel even less inclined to eat.
  • Have someone with you. Having a family member or friend with you when you open UCAS and go to collect your results is unmatched in terms of alleviating stress. It’s okay to need a hand to hold or someone to look after you, and everyone is entitled to a big hug when it’s all over. 
  • Bring a fully charged phone. The last thing you need when you’re on the phone for Clearing is for your phone to run out of charge. Bring a (portable) charger with you.
  • Bring a pen and notepad to write down the different Clearing offers you receive. You’ll likely be calling several universities if you go into Clearing, and it may be difficult to keep track of it all. 
  • Bring a copy of your personal statement. This will assist you with any conversations you may have with admissions offices. They might ask you why you want to study their course. Amidst the frenzy of the day, your personal statement will remind you what it’s all about.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others. In the midst of the Results Day chaos, with everyone sharing their results, it can be hard to focus on your own achievements. Judge yourself and your results by your own standards, no one else’s. 
  • Celebrate your achievements. Finishing secondary school, sitting A Levels, and getting through the waiting period are all tremendous accomplishments. Give yourself credit. Let yourself feel that it’s over and you got through it.

To find out more about what actually happens on the day, read our blog: Surviving A level Results Day: A guide for students.

After The Day

Once you have your results and the dust settles, you’ll probably feel a bit worn out. The whole experience might seem a bit of an anticlimax. This is perfectly normal, but don’t allow yourself to sink completely into the slump. 

  • Stay off social media. The Internet will be filled with people sharing their results, either celebrating or commiserating. Neither are great for your own state of mind. It’s better to avoid this, instead focusing on your own situation and holding yourself to your own standards.
  • Prepare for your next steps. If you’re going to uni, then make sure you have accommodation lined up. If you’re travelling, maybe make a booking or two to get excited about. If you’re starting a new job, look online for tips and tricks for the workplace. 
  • Set aside time for yourself. No results, no entry requirements, no UCAS. This ordeal can be all-consuming, so mark out personal boundaries. Give yourself time to have fun and relax.

If you take anything away from this, it’s that research, lists, and plans are your friends. Things are a lot less scary once you’ve picked them apart. After reading this blog, hopefully Results Day will feel less like you’re about to step off a cliff into a deep, dark chasm. Above all, remember that life is about a lot more than some exam results – and you are, too.

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