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Exam results

Getting your exam results can be a worrying time. It may seem like the whole of your future depends on what you get. It's important to remember that exam results are just the start of your future career and there are lots of options if you didn't get the grades you wanted.

I didn’t get the exam results I needed. What can I do?

exam resultsFirst of all, try not to panic. Even if you haven’t got the results you needed or expected, you still have lots of options. You can get help with any decisions you have to make. You could apply for a different course or qualification, resit your exams or look at new career ideas.

If you're upset, disappointed, or worried about your future it can really help to talk to someone you trust about how you're feeling.

You're not alone and you can talk to a counsellor at any time.

You can also get advice from other young people on the message boards .

Not done as well as you were expecting in your A-level, Scottish Higher, or Year 13 exams?

If you needed certain grades to get onto the course you want, the first thing to do is to check the status of your course on UCAS's Track website. You might not have lost your place, especially if you only got slightly lower grades than expected.

If you haven't got a place, don’t despair. There is a chance that you could get a place at a different university through the clearing process. 

Getting a place through clearing

Think about other universities or colleges you liked, and see if they have any free places on a course you want to do. It's important to get advice and act quickly - but remember you don't have to take the first clearing place
you're offered. 

You can get advice about clearing from the Exam Results Helpline
on 0808 100 8000

  • I'm not sure if I want to get a place through clearing. What are my 
    other options?

    If you don't want to apply through clearing or you can’t get a place, there are
    other options:

    • Retake your exams – You will have to wait a year until going to university or college, but you would have another chance to take your exams and get the grades you need. If you're considering this option it's worth thinking about how motivated you would be to do the work again. Make sure you get some advice from a teacher or careers adviser to see if this is the right choice for you.

     Take a year out – Do something different for a year such as travelling, getting a job or doing some voluntary work. Then, if you still want to, you can reapply next year for university or college and get a place with the grades you already have.

    • Look into different courses – If you're thinking about doing a degree your grades might get you into a different course. You could do a combined degree or the same course at a different university or college.

    You can get advice on all your options from the Exam Results Helpline on 0808 100 8000

  • Just got your GCSE results or Scottish Standard Grades?

    If you're worried that your grades are going to affect your future plans talk to one of your teachers or a careers adviser about your options as soon as possible. It’s their job to support you and help you plan what to do next. Your school or careers adviser can help you decide if there's a different subject or course that you might enjoy more. 

    Remember there are lots of courses out there and sometimes it takes a little while to find a subject and way of learning that suits you. Don't be too hard on yourself if your exam results weren't what you were hoping for. If you're not sure what you're going to do next, call The Exam Results Helpline on 0808 100 8000. They can give you independent advice on courses, apprenticeships and jobs to help you decide on an option that's right for you.

  • What if other issues affected my results?

    If you think that other problems in your life have affected how well you did in your exams, you should be able to re-sit any exams you want to. Your teacher can help you with this and it's a good idea to talk to them as soon as possible.

    If you miss an exam because of a problem with your health, your school can apply for 'special consideration' from the examinations board. Your doctor or a family member might have to give extra information if this happens. Your teacher can help you with this.

    If you're worried about the teacher telling somebody else about your problem, you could ask about their 'confidentiality policy' before you tell them anything else. This way you can find out the sorts of things they have to tell someone else about. You can always talk it through with a ChildLine counsellor before seeing your teacher.

  • How do I tell my parents about my results?

    It might be hard telling your parents about exam results you are disappointed with, but talking to them can really help. Hopefully they will try to support you and help you make the decisions you need to. However, it can take a while for parents to come to terms with disappointing results because it feels as if it is something that’s happened to them as well as you.

    It can help to remember this, but don’t be put off having a conversation about what’s happened because you think your mum or dad will be angry or upset.

    Try to have the conversation so they know what you are dealing with. However that conversation goes, remember you can talk to ChildLine about any worry you have about exams or your future.  Call us on 0800 1111 or talk to us online.

Other sites that can help

Advice about what to do next after you get your exam results, whatever your grades.

Guidance on how to appeal if you have just missed a grade and want your exam result to be reconsidered.
Appealing an exam result (GOV.UK)

Advice from Skills Development Scotland on moving on from disappointing Scottish Highers results.
My World of Work

Worried about your exam results?

It is natural to feel anxious about getting exam results, why not talk about how you're feeling on the ChildLine message boards.

School/college message board

Online chat

Chat to a ChildLine counsellor online in a 1-2-1 session any time you want. Sign up to start talking.

Online chat

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