If you’ve taken your A Level exams this year, then you’re probably thinking about results day which is just a few weeks away. Like most students, I’m starting to freak out a little bit about what’s going to happen so I thought I’d share some of the ways that I’m distracting/preparing myself to get my results!
Just a note: I’m no expert on any of these matters and I’d always recommend that you look at the UCAS website if you’re unsure about anything university related and talk to your teachers about any concerns you may have either before or on the day. I’m also going to focus on people going to university as that’s the only experience I can really speak about.
I’ve decided to break this post up into a few sections to make it easier to look through:
- Useful things to do beforehand
- What to do the day before
- What to do on results day
- Ways to distract yourself in the run-up to results day
- Last thoughts
Useful things to do beforehand
Make a note of any phone numbers you may need: If things don’t go to plan, you may need to call up your universities or talk to UCAS so it’s useful to make a list of phone numbers so you’re not searching for them on the day. I’ve made a note of the UCAS Clearing number, the regular admissions numbers for a university, any special clearing numbers and any numbers for specific courses.
Record your important details: It may be worth making a note of your UCAS number and any other student numbers you were assigned by your university as you may be asked for these when calling various places.
Look at universities and courses that are already in Clearing: The UCAS Clearing search tool is already open so I’d highly recommend looking around and seeing if there’s any other courses or universities that you may be interested in if you did have to go into Clearing on the day. This list will update towards results day so some courses that weren’t previously listed may actually have places on the day.
Check your UCAS information: If you’ve changed your phone number or address since applying through UCAS, you should definitely go and update it because you don’t want to miss out on any important information on the day.
Sign up to the direct contact service: If you do find yourself without an offer on results day, this service will allow universities to contact you with an offer even if you didn’t originally apply to them. You can read more about it here and I’d highly recommend doing it since it may mean you don’t have to chase universities around on results day!
Have a plan of action: Whilst it’s nice to think that everything will go perfectly on results day, it’s important to consider what you want to do if it doesn’t. Think about whether you want to go into Clearing, whether you’ll want to resit, etc. It’s also worth considering whether you’ll look into Adjustment if you manage to exceed your offer.
Read books that are relevant to your course: It may be worthwhile reading some books on your chosen course over the summer just to get a taste of what it’ll be like at university. Some universities and courses will have reading lists online that you can look at; if not you can just pick things that look interesting!
What to do the day before
Pack your bag for the next day: The last thing you want to be doing is rushing around the house trying to find things before you go and get your results! I’d recommend taking a notepad and pen with you to make a note of anything that universities say if you call or anything that your teachers say to you.
Block The Student Room if necessary: Last year I found myself obsessively refreshing TSR the day before I got my AS results and it won’t help you feel better at all because there are so many people who share pointless worries on there which just stress you out. If you have any vital questions, email your teachers or the exams staff at your school or even your friends before you turn to TSR!
Spend time with your friends: There is no point in moping around on your own all day whilst waiting for your results. Get together with your friends so that you don’t spend all day winding yourself up about things that won’t happen and you can share the stress together.
Play Mario Kart (or a similar game): I found myself playing Mario Kart all day last year because it’s such a good way to distract yourself and let out any stress at the same time!
Get a decent amount of sleep: It may be tempting to pull an all-nighter and stay awake until UCAS opens at 8 a.m. but it won’t help you at all. It’s much more useful for you to get some sleep so that you’re more alert and ready for the next day.
What to do on results day
Wake up early: UCAS Track opens at 8 a.m. so you’ll want to be up and ready to log on and find out! Even if your school won’t let you collect/receive your results until after this point, you should still log on and find out whether you got in or not as it will let you come up with a plan for when you do go and get your results.
Eat breakfast: Even if this just means eating a banana on the way to school, it’s going to be a busy day so you need to make sure that you eat!
Talk to your teachers: You may be tempted to just grab your results and leave but your teachers will want to talk to you. If it hasn’t gone to plan then they may have advice on what you should do next and if you’ve done well they’ll want to congratulate you!
Breathe and relax: No matter what happens, at least you know where you stand and you can plan what’s going to happen next. Breathe, chill and think about what you want to do now you’ve got your results.
Ways to distract yourself in the run-up to results day
Find a new hobby: Find a new hobby or project to distract yourself with whenever you find yourself stressing out about your results! You can check out my Pinterest board if you’re interested in learning hand lettering or I’d recommend trying something like Arduino programming out if you want something more hands on.
Learn a language: It never hurts to know another language! Sites like Duolingo and Memrise can help you on your way to learning how to speak another language and if you want more resources I’ve made a post about it here.
Go on a trip: Planning and going together a trip can be a great way to distract yourself, even if it’s just a day visit to a nearby city. You can find cheap train and coach tickets if you shop around and it could give you the chance to explore somewhere you’ve never been before!
Binge watch that series you’ve been meaning to watch for ages: One way to distract yourself is to binge watch a new series (preferably one with lots of seasons so that you don’t run out) – not only is it the perfect excuse to sit and watch TV all day, you’ll also finally sit down and watch it after putting it off for ages.
Get a job: Okay this one is a little far-fetched considering it is only a couple of weeks until results day so it’s not necessarily the most practical distraction on this list. Although even just babysitting a couple of nights a week will give you something else to think about and it’ll earn you a bit of money too!
Set up a blog: I can spend hours changing small things about my blog until I’m finally happy with it so I’d highly recommend it as a good way to kill time. You can get started by using a free platform like WordPress or Wix (here’s a page which discusses the best platforms to use) and then you can add things like a custom domain if you feel like it’s something you want to commit to!
Think of the good things too: In 2017 ~57% of applicants were placed at their firm choice on results day (so not even counting the people who achieved their offers after remarks, etc.) so most people did get into their first choice. Around 5% were placed at their insurance choice too. Basically, I’m trying to say that the majority of people do get into the places that they want to on results day, so don’t feel like it’s impossible and won’t happen.
It’s not the end of the world: Even if your grades aren’t what you wanted them to be, it doesn’t matter. You can resit them, take extra qualifications, do foundation courses, go to other universities, etc. and you can almost always reach the same goal. It may be a little tougher but it doesn’t mean that you should give up!
Don’t feel pressured into anything: If you miss your grades, it may be tempting to take the first offer that you get through clearing but you shouldn’t feel like you have to accept it. University is expensive and you only get one chance to do it really (AKA you’ll only really get student finance once, so make the most of it) so make sure that you’re making the right choice as there’s no point in going if you’ll drop out a few months later. Look on the website at the course structure, talk to students there if you can and see if there’s a virtual tour online, etc.
Hopefully, this was at least slightly useful to you and helped calm your nerves about results day! Feel free to email me below or send me an Instagram DM if you have any more questions (although like I said, I’m definitely not an expert!)