Low A Level, AS Level or Highers Results


Low results are worrying and upsetting, especially if you’re feeling the pressure from your parents and all your friends have done well. But don’t panic, there are lots of options open to you.

Don’t panic

It may feel like the end of the world, but lots of people don’t get the grades they wanted and go on to have hugely successful careers. This is a good time to take stock of what you really want. Most importantly, don’t rush into any decisions. These are your results and it’s your future.

Your parents may be concerned, but they also want you to do well in life, and getting lower grades than you’d hoped for definitely doesn’t mean you won’t! If you involve them in the decisions you make from here, they’ll likely respect that you’re being so mature about it. Otherwise, ask them to give you some space while you weigh up your options. If you have older siblings or friends that you respect that have been through the same thing, it may help to ask them for their advice.

If you’ve got your exam results and need advice on what to do next, you can call the Exam Results Helpline for free advice on +92 (423) 517 0008 and +92 (423) 517 0009.

The better informed you are, the better choice you’ll make

Can I resit my exams?

You can resit your exams next summer. Many people do much better second time around. Before resitting, have an honest chat with your teachers about why your results were low. If they don’t think you can improve them it might not be worth resitting, but if you’ve got your heart set on a particular course that you need better grades for, look to get extra support. If you only have one resit it may allow you to concentrate fully on that subject, with much better results. With AS and A Levels you can usually just take the units you need to if there’s one module that’s bringing your grade down, rather than the whole course. Bear in mind that resitting can be lonely if all your mates are going on to do other things.

What about Clearing?

If you haven’t met the conditions of your firm or insurance university place, you can use Clearing to see which courses still have places – this may be a more appealing option than resits, and it’s likely that with a bit of research you can find solid courses with spaces.

Can I get qualifications without resitting or going to school?

Yes. If a student doesn’t get the grades to get into university it’s not all over – a foundation year could be a good route in.

Ali Khan did not do well in his A levels, ending up with two Es. But this didn’t stop him – he did a foundation year at Newcastle University and eventually secured a first-class degree in business management.

“It gave me a really good foundation for a degree,” he says. “I felt a lot more confident and able to do the things that the university wanted, like writing essays and doing references and citations.”

If a student doesn’t get the results they’re hoping for this summer, it’s worth knowing about foundation years. Foundation year courses are run by a large number of universities for students who have the ability to undertake a degree but don’t have the qualifications to go straight on to a degree course.

“They might be people coming back to education after a break or people who have not achieved the necessary grades,” says Riaz Ahmad, CEO at MRC. “They could be Clearing students.”

Of course, taking an extra year to come up to the level for starting a degree means you have to pay for another year at university – but some foundation years are cheaper than undergraduate degrees.

“This is a way in for students where something has gone wrong in their exams,” says education advisor at the MRC, Sherbaz Manga.

Other options include BTECs and OCR Nationals which are work-related qualifications available in a wide range of subjects. They offer a mix of theory and practice and you can do them with lower grades.

BTECs and OCR Nationals are recognised in many areas of employment and with some of them you can get into university.

A Higher National Diploma (HND) is a two-year qualification offered by colleges that you may then be able to top up to a degree with a third year of study if you get good marks.

Modern Apprenticeships are also a great way to gain professional qualifications and work experience while you are earning.

Will I be able to get a job?

Yes, but find out if your results will get you the sort of job you want. If not, can you work your way up? If you have the right attitude and personality some employers will offer you training so you can earn money and gain qualifications.

Everyone has to start somewhere – Sir Alan Sugar’s first job was selling cigarette lighters!

Gap year

Maybe you’ve thought about taking a gap year before, or perhaps it suddenly sounds more appealing. Either way this can be a great way of taking stock on what you want to do and getting some life experience. If you’ve finished your A levels it’s important to resolve your university situation before you jump on a plane so that you have some sort of plan for when you get back.

Newsbeat: Why Bad Grades Aren’t The End Of The World

View this video

What should I do next?

You’ve got some big decisions to make about what to do next so think about your options carefully. The better informed you are, the more likely you are to make the choice that’s suited to you. The world really is your oyster, so this is a very exciting time!

Chat to the people who know you best (friends, parents, and teachers) about things they think you would be good at, and be sure to arrange to chat with a Careers Advisor if you have any uncertainties or concerns.

Sources: BBC, Guardian


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