Didn’t get the grades you wanted for A Levels; What are the options now? | AD

*This is a collaborative guest post

Students across the country are anxiously waiting to find out if they have achieved the right grades to get them into their chosen university. As the day final approaches, students are nervously waiting to finally find out the verdict. For many on the day the wait will have been worth it as they open much-deserved fantastic results, securing them the future they wanted. However, this day will have also brought with it disappointment, and uncertainty to those students who haven’t quite achieved the grades they wanted.  

Whatever the outcome, there are always options  so don’t panic! Let’s run through some options when things don’t always go to plan…

Re-sit A Levels

Didn’t do as well as expected? A couple of silly mistakes may have cost you a few marks. Provided you learn from these and are confident you can do better, why not consider resitting your A levels?

While your friends head off to university, it might be a hard decision to stick around when you feel that you should be heading in the same direction as them. However, if you have stumbled on quite a few of the modules, then repeating the year could be an ideal option for you. Sometimes it might be a good idea to change colleges if you want to make a fresh start; changing college could also help you get it right the second time. Universities don’t see it as a bad thing either, they see it as endurance and commitment to the subject. 

Rochester Independent College is a school like no other, it brings out the best in all its students enabling them to achieve the top grades they need to get into the top universities. With small classes, students get individual attention which may not happen at larger sixth form colleges. RIC offers a fresh alternative approach to teaching to keep students engaged, which helps them retain the focus they need come exam time. 

RIC also lets you fast-track A Levels, which means you can successfully retake A Levels in just one year instead of two. Whatever your needs are, RIC will help you on your journey to success!

Find out more here

Enter Clearing

This option is available if you don’t get the grades you need for your university course, you can find an alternative with lower entry requirements through Clearing. Although Clearing kicks off properly in August when you get your results, universities begin advertising courses with empty spots in July. 

So, if you walk out of a terrible exam, work on your back-up plan and begin looking at alternatives straight away. Start with courses that were in your top five UCAS choices or universities you short listed prior to the exams. This way if you do have to enter Clearing, you’ll be prepared.

Take a gap year 

Or perhaps you need a break or some much needed time away to evaluate a few things before applying again for university. Sometimes university may not be the option straight after A levels – maybe look at doing a placement or get a job in a café to save up money.

Either way use your time off wisely, yes enjoy the free time and go travelling if you want, but also take the time out to weigh up your options for when you get back! 

Final thoughts

Remember, there are an increasing amount of options for sixth form leavers including higher level apprenticeships or other qualifications that can still get you where you want. Not getting the grades you want can feel like the end of the world – but it really isn’t! 

Whatever step you take next is the best one for you, there is no rush or timeline so think carefully before rushing into any decisions.

Good luck with whatever you do next! 


  • Donna Wishart

    Donna Wishart is married to Dave and they have two children, Athena (12) and Troy (11). They live in Surrey with their two cats, Fred and George. Once a Bank Manager, Donna has been writing about everything from family finance to days out, travel and her favourite recipes since 2012. Donna is happiest either exploring somewhere new, with her camera in her hand and family by her side or snuggled up with a cat on her lap, reading a book and enjoying a nice cup of tea. She firmly believes that tea and cake can fix most things.

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