A-level students will receive their results on Thursday, and discover if they have attained the grades needed to take their preferred next step.
Results are expected to be lower this year after two years of record increases, but the Government has said universities will “adjust accordingly”.
This year’s candidates are the first to sit exams since 2019 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The classes of 2020 and 2021 had their grades assigned by teachers.
When do A-level results come out?
A-level results day falls on Thursday 18 August, with grades typically available to collect from schools and colleges at around 8am.
Times vary from place to place, though, and grades have previously been released by exam boards under embargo at 6am.
You should check with your institution or teachers to confirm when to arrive to collect your results.
Your school or college should have already told you if it is possible to receive your results by email or by post.
If you are receiving an email, it should also come at around 8am, while posted results will arrive with the rest of your mail.
What time does Ucas Track update on A-levels results day?
One of the pervading myths about Ucas Track is that it updates at midnight – it doesn’t, so there’s no point in staying up to check, however tempting that may be.
Instead, the website typically opens between 8am and 8.30am on results day, after being frozen in the days leading up to it.
Ucas Track doesn’t show you the exact A-level grades you received, which students can only receive from their school or college.
The online service simply tells you whether your specific university applications have been successful (although this can often give a strong indictation of your precise grades).
To access Ucas Track you will need your personal ID and password which was used when applying.
Ucas advises that if your offer hasn’t been changed to “unconditional” when you log in to Track, then wait until you’ve received your grades before calling them or the university.
How are exams being marked this year?
Examiners were asked to grade papers more leniently than in previous, pre-pandemic years, to compensate for the disruption Covid has had on pupils’ learning.
Grade boundaries could be relaxed in some cases, with a lower score across papers needed to secure a particular grade, but markers’ generosity could also be more far-reaching.
Ofqual chief regulator Dr Jo Saxton said: “Our grading approach will recognise the disruption experienced by students taking exams in 2022.
“It will provide a safety net for those who might otherwise just miss out on a higher grade, while taking a step back to normal.”
Ofqual said this summer’s grade boundaries will be set roughly between 2019 pre-pandemic levels and boundaries in 2021, when teacher assessment was used to set grades.
Schools minister Will Quince said it was important to “move back to a position where qualifications maintain their value” and reassured students that grades will still be higher than in 2019.
He also moved to assure students results day will not be impacted by the strike over pay at AQA, the country’s largest exam board, from Friday 12 to Monday 15 August.
“I think young people have enough to worry about and be concerned about ahead of examination results anyway,” he said.
“To add this into the mix, as a potential worry about whether their papers will be marked and their results will come through on time, is totally unnecessary.”
He added: “I’ve had assurance that they won’t have any impact, but unfortunately scaremongering of this sort of nature by unions is deeply regrettable.”
In 2020, when exams were cancelled, the marking of A-levels sparked widespread controversy due to an algorithm devised by Ofqual which was accused of discriminating against the nation’s poorer students and widening inequality.
In the final results, nearly 40 per cent of A-levels results were downgraded from their teacher predictions, and the Government was ultimately forced to U-turn.
As a result, the algorithm system was scrapped for 2021, when results were awarded based solely on judgements from schools instead, with “teacher assessed grades” calculated using classroom tests, mock exams and work completed throughout the year.