Got your results, what next?

About 6 mins

Our Results Helpline is now closed. You can still speak to an adviser by calling 0800 917 8000*.

Got your results and feeling a bit worried? Perhaps you did not get the grades you expected, or maybe you're having second thoughts about your chosen course. You might be a parent or guardian who wants to support your child after they receive their results.

We asked Pauline Graham, who helps run the Results Helpline, to answer some of the most common questions that come up about exam results.

I still have not 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'll only receive a text or email if you registered and activated your account. Texts and emails will be sent out on Tuesday 10 August.

If you have registered and activated your account, check your MySQA personal information to make sure your email/mobile number is correct.

If you have done all this and still do not have your results, contact SQA straight away on 0345 279 1000.

I did not get the results I was hoping for. What should I do now?

You can call our Results Helpline on results day. Advisers can give you lots of information on Clearing, resits and the SQA's results services process. They can also chat to you about other options besides going to university and college, such as apprenticeships, and alternative options for your year ahead.

Will college or university accept my grades this year?

Yes. Your qualifications are fully recognised as they would be in any year. SQA has been in regular discussion with UCAS (the University and College Admission Service), Colleges Scotland, and Universities Scotland, who are fully aware of the situation and will help you to progress on to the next stage of your education.

How are National 2 to Advanced Higher courses graded?

Courses at National 2, National 3, and National 4 levels are not graded — the units that make up the course are assessed as pass or fail.

Courses at National 5, Higher, and Advanced Higher are graded A–D. This year certification is based on the estimate grades supplied by your school or college.

How was my grade estimated when the subject was 80% practical, such as art and design?

As part of the process of providing SQA with estimate grades this year, your teachers/lecturers will have reviewed a wide range of your work, for example classwork – including any practical work – homework, class tests and prelims. They will have also used their teaching experience to estimate your grade.

I was expecting a better grade – can I appeal?

Yes. You can ask your teacher or lecturer to explain your provisional results. If you are still unhappy with them, you can register that you want to appeal on the SQA website. They will ask for some information about you, your course, if your request is a priority and what your reason for appealing is. The SQA will then notify your school or college about your request. This is a free service, and you do not need the permission of your school/college to register. 

Once your certificate has arrived, you should speak again to your teacher or lecturer to discuss if appealing is in your best interests, remembering that sometimes appeals can result in grades going down rather than up. The final decision whether to appeal is yours and you only need to contact the SQA if you decide not to proceed with the appeal.

The SQA have published lots of useful information on their website about this year’s Appeals process, so it’s worth reading through all this information before you start.

I did not register to appeal with the SQA over the summer, can I do this now my certificate has arrived?

This service opened on 25 June but it will remain open until 12 August for you to register your appeal request on the SQA Appeals page.  All appeals registered will be processed after Results Day on 10 August.

If you have missed the 12 August deadline, have a chat to your school or college.  Your teacher or lecturer can advise you and submit a priority appeal on your behalf until Monday 24 August, or if you do not need to use the priority service, they can submit your appeal until Friday 27 August.  

My results do not meet the conditions of any of my course choices. What should I do?

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

Whilst you can talk to various universities and/or colleges, you can only apply for one course at a time. Make sure you do your research and contact the university before you apply.

My results do not 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'll study and explain if there’s anything else you need to do.

I have not 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 have met all the conditions, but still have not heard from them, check they’re not waiting for further details from you – for example, your exam certificates or health checks.

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

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'll 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'll be entered into Clearing where your insurance choice can then make you an offer. 

When making this decision, remember that there are no guarantees. Once your firm offer has been cancelled, you can’t automatically go back to this. If you wish to explore what's out there, discuss your options with a careers adviser on the Results Helpline. 

I did not meet the grades for my firm choice, but I do not 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.

Make sure to check the course you want to apply to is willing to offer you a place. Once you withdraw your insurance choice, you cannot go back.

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

Even if you did not meet the conditions, the university/college might still be prepared to accept you - or may be considering whether to offer you a place on an alternative course. Speak to them directly to discuss your options.

I'm not holding any offers. What can I do? 

Don’t panic. If you're not holding any offers, you'll 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. You can give us a call to chat with a careers adviser about your options.

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

If you don’t think college or university is for you, there are plenty of options that might suit you better. Chat about jobs, internships and other types of work experience with a careers adviser, or explore what it might be like to do 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.

A Graduate Apprenticeship might work for you. They allow you to learn on the job as well as study at college or university. You can gain your degree faster and graduate with a lot of relevant experience. Find out more about Graduate Apprenticeships.

If you're staying on at school, you could also consider taking on a Foundation Apprenticeship. They're the same level as a Higher, and you choose it as one of your subjects in S5 or S6. You'll get industry knowledge and experience plus a recognised qualification. There's no final exam, as you're assessed on an on-going basis over one or two years. In some areas, Foundation Apprenticeships might also be available for pupils moving into S6. Find out what's available in your school on

I do not know which courses to apply for through Clearing.

This can be an overwhelming time and the vast number of courses available through Clearing can feel quite daunting to begin. Call our Results Helpline ​​​​​​​to speak to a careers adviser. They can help you figure out which courses are going to best suit your interests and career goals.

My child is disappointed with their results and does not know what to do next. Who can we go to for help?

You or your child can chat to an adviser on our Results Helpline to get advice on Clearing, resits 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 re-focus their future plans.

Try to be supportive and help your child 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. 

What are the SCQF credit points on the 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 ten hours of learning, for example a Higher course (SCQF level 6) with 24 SCQF credits, requires approximately 240 hours of learning. 

On the 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.

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 10-18 August and is entirely optional. If you think you may be interested in using Adjustment, contact the Results Helpline and our advisers can help you decide if it’s a good option for you.


*Our helpline is open Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm. BSL users can use Contact Scotland. You can use their app to sign with an interpreter who will make the phone call for you. If you would prefer to speak to someone in person, most of our career centres are now open for face-to-face appointments. Contact your local centre to make an appointment with an adviser.