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12 August 2020 12:49

Another option is to accept the decision and go through the results day Clearing process instead.

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Students up and down the country are gearing up to receive their A level results. And it comes at the end of particularly weird summer for collage and sixth form leavers as exams were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, students will find out their grades based on predicted outcomes rather than the typical paper examinations. But despite the disruption, students in England will still get their A level and AS level results on Thursday August 13, the same day it was originally planned for. The grades will still be used for whatever students planned to do next, from those who have applied to go to university this year or those getting their foot straight onto the career ladder of their dream job.

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But if you're headed down the university and college route, here's some information on UCAS Track so that you're well-prepared on results day. What time does Track update? As you know if you're going through the university application process, Track is where you're kept informed of your application's progress. In the lead up to results day, Track is 'frozen' which means changes won't be made during this time. According to Prospects, the system will then be available at around 8am on results day (August 13) and after it's been updated, Track becomes 'frozen' again and your page won't change again until midday at the earliest.

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So basically, it is best to wait a little bit to see whether you have been accepted into your chose university. What will Track show? Once decisions have been made by your chosen universities, and UCAS has been notified, you can expect to see the following: Unconditional - Your place on the course has been confirmed, whether it's firm or insurance, or both. Unsuccessful - You've not been accepted by your choice or choices, but you can now enter Clearing. Unconditional Changed Course - You haven't met the necessary grades for your offer, but the university have proposed a similar course that meets lower grade boundaries.

They could also have offered deferred entry, but you have five days to decide on the opportunity. What if I don't get the grades I need? The first thing is to not panic, which is of course easier said than done. The best thing you can do is talk to your chosen university if you have missed the entry requirement by a slim margin. Another option is to accept the decision and go through the results day Clearing process instead. A YORK university has put together some top tips for students navigating clearing after getting their A-level results. Clearing has been steadily growing in popularity over the past few years as more and more students look to make the most of their university options. In a year of cancelled A-levels, rethought gap years and general unpredictability, an estimated 80 thousand students are expected to go through the Clearing process this year. York St John University has put together some top tips: l Be prepared – make sure you've done your homework. Research course vacancies on the UCAS website and get a head start on finding ones that might work for you. Also look at university websites and specific course pages. l Be flexible – there may be lots of course options to study what you're interested in. Some courses offer joint honours rather than a single subject, and other courses may be more like your original subject choice than you thought. l Check UCAS track – be clear about your UCAS status and original course choices so the universities you contact know how best to advise you. l Have your details ready – • The phone number for the university and your own contact details • Your Clearing number from UCAS Track • Your A-level, AS-level, GCSE and equivalent results, including module marks • Personal statement from your UCAS application • Your log-in details for Track • Your notes on the course/university and any planned responses to questions • Any questions you want to ask the university • The name and details of anyone you have spoken to in a previous call (if you've called the university before) l You need to make the calls – universities will appreciate direct contact from you and won't be able to talk to your parents or teachers because we're not allowed to discuss your application with anyone else. Go somewhere quiet and go for it. l Keep asking questions – don't be shy, we won't judge you. Phone as many universities as you want, and call back if you have more questions. Ask about accommodation options, course details and what student support services are available. Read everything carefully – make sure you understand your offer email and be aware of any deadlines. Be positive –Clearing is your chance to explore new options without compromising on ambition. Lots of students have been through clearing before and gone on to get great degrees, successful jobs and fantastic life-experience. Breathe – don't panic, you've had enough stress this year. Director of admissions Matthew Taylor said: "You've probably seen the headlines 'busiest Clearing yet', 'record numbers expected', 'scramble for places' and the like, but it's no reason to worry. Students have all had a stressful year and everyone is keen to get their futures secured, and yes Clearing will be busy but that doesn't mean that you won't get the university place that you want. We've compiled some tips to take the pressure off and help applicants to keep a cool head and get the most out of it." Almost one place in ten secured in last year's clearing was at a university with high entrance requirements Clearing is always an uncertain time for students and universities. There is no telling how many students will still need places on results day, nor how many opportunities will be available. This year the uncertainty has been ratcheted up several notches, with Covid-19 casting doubt on what the student experience will be like and whether international students will come in their usual numbers. The replacement of exams by predicted grades adds further confusion. The good news for applicants is that, in general, the uncertainty should work in their favour during the clearing period. Most applicants have found a place in recent years — nearly 98 per cent received at least one offer in 2019. It has been in universities' interests to expand, and the number

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