What to do on A-level results day 2023
If you're eager to find out what happens on A-level results day, put your mind at ease with our comprehensive guide on securing your place at university for 2023/24
When do A-level results come out?
The A-level results day for 2023 is Thursday 17 August 2023.
In Scotland, the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) publishes its examination results online the same day your Scottish Qualifications Certificate arrives by post - Tuesday 8 August 2023.
What time should I pick up my results?
Students can collect their A-level results from schools and further education (FE) colleges any time after 8am on results day - when they're released by the exam boards. However, you'll need to find out their exact opening and closing times, as these will vary.
UCAS receives your A-level results directly and will update UCAS Hub accordingly - typically around 8am. As the system will be busy with students keen to find out if they've received offers, you'll need to be patient.
In Scotland, if you registered for MySQA you'll be emailed and/or texted your results from 8am on the day they're published. Alternatively, you'll still receive your certificate through the post.
While you can't add a Clearing choice using UCAS Hub until 2pm on A-level results day - so you've had enough time to think about your options - you may still want to discover your offers as early as possible.
By getting in touch with universities now, you can attempt to sort out invitations to add a course for when UCAS is updated with its Clearing option later in the day. The official Clearing list will then be displayed in the UCAS search tool.
How can I prepare?
There are a number of things you can do to get ready for the big day. Having all the important information to hand will prove useful, especially if your results are lower than expected and you plan to apply for a place through Clearing.
You'll likely need:
- a fully charged mobile phone (and charger)
- a notepad and pen
- details of conditional offers, university contact numbers, your UCAS number, universities' UCAS and Clearing numbers
- notes from having researched universities and courses beforehand, with a list of questions to ask course tutors
- your personal statement and GCSE results.
What if I'm on holiday?
Ideally, you should be contactable when your A-level results come out, so try to avoid booking holidays or working on that day. This is especially important if you've received any conditional offers, and Clearing is a possibility. If you're away, you'll need to ensure that UCAS Hub contains your correct personal details before you go.
You could choose to nominate someone, such as a parent or guardian, who can access UCAS Hub and make changes on your behalf. However, some changes will be time-sensitive so your nominee may need to discuss your application with UCAS or universities within a specific timeframe.
If you didn't nominate a person when completing your application, it's best to speak to UCAS and ensure they have access to your UCAS Hub. The person will be able to collect the results from the school/college office, providing they arrive with a completed permissions slip.
If you can't be there in person but can get online, you can still log in to your UCAS account to discover what your chosen universities have decided.
When do universities get my results?
Only exams office staff and heads can view A-level results before they're widely released to candidates on Thursday 17 August 2023.
From 12.01am on the day before - referred to as restricted release day - results are available from exam boards such as the AQA (Assessment and Qualifications Alliance) and OCR (Oxford, Cambridge and RSA).
However, at this stage, these results must be treated as confidential by universities and exam offices.
What time does UCAS Hub update on results day?
As UCAS Hub is where you're kept informed of your application's progress, the UCAS site is the place to go on results day. However, UCAS Hub is 'frozen' in the days leading to the publication of your A-level results, meaning you won't be able to make any changes during this time. Contact UCAS directly if you need to update any information.
The system will be available at around 8am on results day, but it can often take a few hours for UCAS to update and allow you to make any changes.
What will UCAS Hub show?
If decisions have been made by your university choices, and UCAS have been notified, you can expect to see the following changes to offers on UCAS Hub:
- Unconditional - your place on the course has been confirmed. This may be your firm or insurance offer, or both.
- Unsuccessful - you've not been accepted by your choice(s). You're now eligible to enter Clearing.
- Unconditional Changed Course (UCC) - you don't have the necessary grades for your offer, but the university has proposed a similar course requiring lower grades. They may also offer an alternative start date, such as deferred entry. You have five days to decide and can discuss the opportunity with the university in question.
Bear in mind that your A-level results won't appear in UCAS Hub.
What do I do if I meet my offer?
If you're holding at least one conditional place and you've met the requirements, the offer will change to 'unconditional'. This firm acceptance is confirmed in UCAS Hub, and you'll then receive details on what you need to do next, and when - either from UCAS, or directly from the university. For example, some institutions will ask you to provide evidence of your qualifications.
If you've used UCAS Extra to add another choice - and have been offered a place - you'll just need to accept it by the date displayed in UCAS Hub. There's also the option of adding another choice, should you wish to decline the offer.
What if I don't get the grades I need?
Don't panic, as there are a number of options open to you.
Firstly, if you've missed the grades by just a few marks, you should talk to the university in question. While they're under no obligation to reconsider their decision, especially with places so competitive, they may listen to you if you plan to appeal any grades.
Alternatively, you could simply accept the decision and go through the results day Clearing process instead.
If you do feel you could have achieved better grades, you may be able to sit A-level retakes. This means that you could still take up a university place as planned or delay your entry for a year until you get your results.
If you change your mind entirely and would like to take a break from study before applying for university again the following year, consider exploring gap year ideas or countries where you'd like to spend a year working abroad.
To enter the world of work while studying towards a vocational qualification, you might wish to think about securing a degree apprenticeship. Make an informed decision by reading should I go to university or do an apprenticeship?
Can I appeal my grades?
Once your exam results have been announced, if your marks don't seem right and your university place is under threat, you could request a review of marking or moderation by the exam boards - through their post-results services.
Appeals can be made to Ofqual by schools and colleges in England on behalf of their students.
There are various situations where there may be grounds for appeal, such as if there was an error when determining or submitting the grade. You'll need to explain why you think your result was incorrect and should be changed.
If your school or college accepts that an error may have been made, a review be conducted. This will be considered by an exam board officer. If the outcome is still not considered satisfactory, an appeal may be considered by a panel. Ofqual's Exam Procedures Review Service (EPRS) is the final review stage for considering your case.
However, it's important to start the process as soon as possible, as your school/college will have set its own deadline for receiving appeals, which may be earlier than the dates above. This is because it will need to undertake its own review before an appeal can be sent to the exam board.
Bear in mind that if you appeal, your grade can go up, down or stay the same.
Throughout this process it's recommended you keep the university informed of your plans, as there's a better chance that they'll reserve the place for you.
Even if the appeal is successful, you may still not be given a place on your chosen course. However, it's likely you'll be offered alternatives on similar courses, or be given the option to defer your university place until next year. Ask for their terms and conditions in writing so you know where you stand.
For full details of grading exams and assessments in summer and autumn 2023, see the Ofqual Student Guide 2023.
Can I defer my university place on results day?
You can ask your university to defer your place for a year if you don't already hold a deferred offer. While this can technically be done up until the start date, the earlier you tell them, the better. Be prepared to explain your reasons.
While many universities will agree to this, if they don't, you could choose to withdraw your application for this year and then reapply when the process begins for the next student intake.
What if I get better grades than I expected?
If you managed to meet and exceed the conditions of your firm offer, and you're happy with that then that's great. However, if you'd like to explore the possibility of picking an alternative course requiring higher grades, you can now simply do this through the UCAS Clearing service.
While UCAS Adjustment is no longer available, you're able to decline your place and change your course and university through the Clearing process instead.
Find out more
- If you've confirmed your university place, explore university life.
- Discover how to go through the university Clearing process.
- Read how to fund your education at student loans and finance.