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Navigating A-level Setbacks: Your Path Forward

Embarking on the journey towards your dream university can be an exhilarating experience. However, life sometimes throws us unexpected curveballs, and A-level results that fall short of our expectations can leave us feeling disheartened. If your A-level results haven't gone as planned, don't despair! There are various avenues you can explore to ensure a bright future ahead. Let's delve into the options available to you:


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Contacting Universities

Even if your A-level results aren't what you hoped for, it's worth reaching out to your firm and insurance universities to see if they have some wiggle room in their offers. We recommend doing this as soon as you receive your results, since the university admissions departments will likely be very busy around this time so it’s best to try and get your foot in the door as early as possible! Some institutions might consider extenuating circumstances or may offer you an alternative course or entry route based on your passion and potential. It's essential to communicate your situation professionally and emphasise your commitment to your chosen field of study.


Seeking a Remark

If you strongly believe that your A-level exams were marked unfairly or you suspect an error, or if you were just a few marks off a grade boundary which would have made the difference between making or not making your university offers, you have the option to request a remark. While there is a fee associated with this process, it can be worth it if you believe your grades don't accurately reflect your performance. Consult your school or exam board for guidance on the remarking process, and be sure to weigh the potential benefits against the costs before making your decision.

Keep in mind that a remark might result in your grades being adjusted upward, downward, or remaining unchanged, so make an informed choice based on your conviction and assessment of your performance. Some universities may also request that you seek a remark when you initially get in touch to let them know that you’ve missed your offer.

Exploring Clearing

Clearing is a process that helps students find alternative courses and universities that still have available spaces. While it might not be your initial plan, it's an opportunity to discover new academic paths that align with your interests. Research universities offering courses related to your subject and take the time to discuss your options with friends, family, or school advisers. Whilst it’s important to keep your mind open to new opportunities through clearing, it’s also important to remain true to yourself and only accept a place on a course that you truly believe you will benefit from at a university you think you will enjoy; try not to be swept up in the panic of the moment and apply to a course you’re not interested in!

Retaking A-Levels and Reapplying

If you're determined to secure a spot at your dream university, you might consider retaking your A-level exams. This option requires dedication and hard work, but it can lead to improved results and a stronger application. Take advantage of resources available, such as tutors and study guides, to maximise your chances of success. Whilst perseverance is a great quality in a dedicated student, make sure to research your chosen university’s policy on A-level retakes, as some universities (in particular top universities such as Oxbridge) can be sticky on retakes without extenuating circumstances. If you’re considering this path seriously, check out our in-depth article on everything you need to know about A-Level retakes.


Considering Alternative Paths 

University isn't the only route to success. Taking a gap year (without immediately reapplying or resitting) can provide valuable experiences, allowing you to explore your interests and gain a broader perspective. Alternatively, apprenticeships offer practical training while earning a wage, setting you on a career path right away. If you're ready to dive into the workforce, entry-level positions can provide invaluable skills and opportunities for growth, with some top professional companies even offering degree-alternative training programmes for post-A Level students.

Life is full of twists and turns, and setbacks in the form of disappointing A-level results are just a temporary challenge. Remember that your worth isn't defined by a single set of grades. Embrace the journey ahead, explore the options available to you, and stay resilient in your pursuit of success. Seek trusted help and guidance - be that from family and friends, teachers, or a professional consultant such as our Oxbridge-graduate experts - whilst staying true to yourself and your personal interests. Whether you ultimately choose to explore clearing, retake exams, or venture into different paths, the key is to stay focused, determined, and open to new possibilities. Your determination and perseverance will ultimately shape the remarkable future that lies ahead.


Contact Us

Contemplating A-level retakes with aspirations for Oxbridge or a leading UK university? Looking for personalised guidance? Contact our expert consultants on + 44 (0) 20 7499 2394 or email [email protected]

A-Level Retakes?

Contemplating A-level retakes with aspirations for Oxbridge or a leading UK university?

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Our Oxbridge-graduate consultants are available between 9.00 am – 5.00 pm from Monday to Friday, with additional evening availability when requested.

Oxbridge Applications, 58 Buckingham Gate, London, SW1E 6AJ

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