Exam results, what next?

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Got your exam results and are feeling a bit worried? Perhaps you didn’t get the grades you expected or maybe you're having second thoughts about your chosen course. Or you're a parent or guardian, who wants to support your child after they receive their results.

We asked Ruth Scott, one of our Careers Advisers, to answer some of the most common questions that come up about exam results.

1. I still haven’t received a text or email with my results. What should I do?

Did you sign up and activate your MySQA account? MySQA is designed to give all candidates quick and easy access to their results, but you will only receive a text or email if you registered.

If you’ve registered, check your MySQA personal information to make sure your email/mobile number is correct.

If you’ve done all this and still don’t have your results, you should contact SQA straight away on 0345 279 1000.

2. I didn’t get the results I was hoping for. What should I do now?

You can call our Exams Results Helpline on 0808 100 8000* which will open at 8am on results day (Exam Results Helpline 2017 has now closed). Our advisers can give you lots of information on Clearing, resits and appeals. They can also chat to you about other options besides going to university and college, such as doing a Modern Apprenticeship, gaining work experience and alternative options for your year ahead.

3. I was expecting a better grade – can I appeal?

The SQA’s appeals process has been replaced with Results Services, which allows you to request a clerical check or a marking review. The request must be made through your school or college so get in touch with a teacher or lecturer for more information about this process. 

Don’t wait too long, as priority requests (if you’re a candidate with a conditional offer at uni or college) must be made by 18 August, and 29 August for all other candidates. Find out more about Results Services on the SQA website.  Our advisers can give you information on applying through Clearing and taking re-sits. They can also chat to you about other options such as doing a Modern Apprenticeship or considering alternative courses for this year.

4. My results don't meet the conditions of any of my course choices. What should I do?

If you don’t meet the conditions of any of your accepted offers and no one is able to offer you a place, you will be automatically entered into Clearing. Clearing can help you to find an alternative course. Log in to Track to view your Clearing Number. You can then start looking for another course. Find out more about Clearing on the UCAS website.

5. My results don't meet the conditions of my firm choice, but I have been accepted by my insurance choice. What happens now?

Your place at your insurance choice will be confirmed and UCAS will send you a letter in the post. This letter will confirm the course you will study and explain if there’s anything else you need to do.

6. I haven't heard from my choices. What should I do?

If you haven't met the conditions, they may still be considering your application. Whether or not they can make you an offer will depend on whether there are remaining places and the performance of other applicants. Bear in mind that not all applicants get their results at the same time and the university/college may have to wait a few days to see if there are any spaces.

If you’ve met all the conditions, but still haven’t heard from them, check they’re not waiting for further details from you, e.g. your exam certificates or health checks.

If the university/college has everything they should need, contact them directly to find out what's happening.

7. I've met the grades for my firm offer, but I want to change to my insurance choice. What should I do?

As soon as you were accepted by your firm choice, your insurance choice would have been informed – this means that your insurance place will no longer be held for you.  

Firstly, you will need to contact your insurance choice college/university to see if they can still offer you a place on the course of your choice. Once they have agreed to this, you should contact your firm choice institution to advise them of your plans.  If your firm choice agrees to withdraw your offer, you will be entered into Clearing where your insurance choice can then make you an offer. 

When making this decision, remember that there are no guarantees, and once your firm offer has been cancelled, you can’t automatically go back to this.  You can discuss your options with a Careers Adviser on the Exam Results Helpline if you wish to explore your options. 

8. I didn't meet the grades for my firm choice, but I don't want to go to my insurance choice. Can I apply elsewhere? 

You should contact your insurance choice university/college to discuss your situation. If they agree to withdraw your offer, you can then apply for another course in Clearing.

9. I didn't meet the grades, but my university/college has not yet declined my place. What should I do?

Even if you didn't meet the conditions, the university/college may still be prepared to accept you or may be considering whether to offer you a place on an alternative course. You should speak to them directly to discuss your options.

10. I am not holding any offers. What can I do? 

Don’t panic. If you are not holding any offers, you will be entered into Clearing automatically where you can search for available courses. Find out more about Clearing on the UCAS website or log in to Track to start looking for courses.

11. What other options do I have besides going to college or university?

There are plenty of other options if you don’t think college or university is the right choice for you. A careers adviser can chat to you about jobs, internships and other types of work experience, or you might be interested in doing a Modern Apprenticeship. Modern Apprenticeships allow you to work towards gaining industry-recognised qualifications, while earning a wage at the same time. Find out more about Modern Apprenticeships.

12. I don’t know which courses to apply for through Clearing.

Call the Exam Results Helpline on 0808 100 8000* (Exam Results Helpline 2017 has now closed) and chat to one of our advisers. They can help you figure out which courses are going to best suit your interests and career goals.

13. My child is disappointed with their results and doesn’t know what to do next. Who can we go to for help?

You or your child can call the Exam Results Helpline on 0808 100 8000* to get advice on Clearing, re-sits and appeals. The advisers can also chat to your child about their career ambitions, and help them to think of alternative options which they can apply to, which should help refocus their future plans. Try to be supportive of your child, and help them explore alternative options rather than dwelling on the disappointment of their results. There are plenty of successful people who have had to change their career path along the way, and our advisers can explore the options ahead with your child. 

14. What are the SCQF credit points on my child’s certificate?

SCQF Credit points are based on the total amount of time it is expected to take to complete the qualification. One SCQF credit point represents a notional 10 hours of learning, e.g. a Higher Course (SCQF level 6) with 24 SCQF credits, requires approximately 240 hours of learning. 

15. On my certificate, it talks about “SCQF levels”. What are these?

The level of the qualification is an indicator of its difficulty. These levels range from 1, the least difficult (introductory level courses) through to 12, the most challenging (including PhDs). To find out more, have a look at the SCQF’s website, and their ‘Interactive Framework’ tool.

16.  I received better results than I was expecting, can I change my course?

UCAS Adjustment allows people who have met and exceeded the conditions for their firm choice to apply for an alternative course whilst retaining their original offer. Adjustment is available between 17-31 August and is entirely optional. If you think you may be interested in using Adjustment, contact 0808 100 8000* and our advisers can help you decide if it’s a good option for you.

*Please note that operator charges may apply.