Exam results and Clearing

Read on for guidance and support to help you before and during the exam results period.

Before exam results day

Before you receive your exam results, there are a few steps you can take to make sure you are prepared.

  • have your UCAS log in details ready on exam results day.
  • if you have an offer accepted, have another look at the details of the course to make sure it is the right course for you.
  • If you haven’t got a firm offer or want to explore other options, you can search for courses which are available through Clearing or you can use the Clearing Plus tool to be matched to courses through UCAS.

If you are considering exploring other options:

How do I get my results?

You can collect your results when your school or college opens on the day. Contact your school or college to find out their opening times.

Make sure you are available on exam results day so you can get any support you may need from your teachers and school staff.

What will the UCAS hub show on results day?

UCAS start updating records for:

- SQA results (8 August 2023)

- A level results (17 August 2023)

Your exam results are sent directly to UCAS from the awarding organisations and UCAS send your exam results on to your choices.

On UCAS Track, you will be able to see if you have been accepted onto your chosen course or not. You will not be able to see what grades you have achieved.

If your Hub has not updated by mid-morning, you will need to contact the university or college so you can speak to them about your offer and your exam results.

See Information on exam results from UCAS.

Below is some guidance to support you on exam results day:

I received the grades I needed for my chosen course

UCAS will let you know when your place is confirmed and your chosen university or college will send the details of what you need to do next.

I received better grades than I expected?

If you already had an offer which you accepted, and you still want to begin the course, you can check your Hub to see when your offer is confirmed. Your chosen university or college will then send the details of what you need to do next.

If you had another course or university or college in mind which required higher grades, you could check Clearing to see if the course is available.

If you are unsure about what you want to do, you can phone the exam results phone lines to chat to an adviser to discuss the different options available to make sure you make the right decision for you.

See our ‘Clearing’ section for further support. 

What if I don’t get the grades I need?

If you didn't get the grades you needed, there are a few situations which might happen:

  • the university or college might accept you anyway.
  • you might get a place on either your firm or insurance choice.
  • you might be offered an alternative by the university/college which is called a 'changed course offer' which you will need to accept or decline.
  • you might not get a place, but you can search through Clearing to see what courses still have vacancies.

If you didn’t get the grades you needed for your chosen course, try not to panic.

  • speak to teachers and staff within your school.
  • phone an exam results helpline (see 'Exam results support' for contact details). If you call the exam results helpline, make sure you have a laptop or tablet, or a pen and paper available to research and make notes.
  • talk to your parents or guardians.
  • contact the university of your firm and insurance choice to see if they will accept your grades.
  • look for options available in Clearing.
  • talk to any universities or colleges you are interested in to ask if they would accept your grades.

Can I appeal?

See ‘Appealing exam results’ for further information.

Can I defer?

If you are not sure whether you still want to go to university, or are considering re-taking exams, you could consider deferring to next year or reapplying.

See ‘Deferring a place’ for further guidance.

What if I want to change courses?

If you had another course or university or college in mind, you could check Clearing to see if the course is available.

If you are unsure about what you want to do, you can phone UCAS or the exam results phone lines to chat to an adviser, they will discuss the different options available to help you to make the right decision for you.

See our ‘Clearing’ section for further support.

What if I decide I don’t want to go to university or college anymore?

If you are not sure if you still want to go to university or college, you may want to consider other options such as taking a gap year, getting a job, going travelling or looking at other routes such as an apprenticeship.

You could consider deferring your place, or if you decide that you no longer want to go to university or college, you can ‘decline your place’ through the UCAS hub. See UCAS for further guidance.

If you want to explore apprenticeships, you can find out more on the UCAS apprenticeship hub for further information and to look for vacancies.

See the below contact details for any support: 📱 💻


National Careers Service

You can speak to a professional career’s adviser for free and impartial information and advice via the webchat, or by calling the National Careers Service on 0800 100 900, open weekdays 8am-8pm Saturday 10am-5pm. Calls are free from landlines and most mobiles.


Careers Wales

For careers advice and guidance in Wales, you can contact Careers Wales on 0800 028 4844.


Skills Development Scotland are available with support. The SDS helpline number is 0800 917 8000 and available Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm.

Northern Ireland

For students in Northern Ireland, NI Direct have an online advice chat function and guidance around Clearing.

Additional support


You can contact UCAS for support.

You can also find support on UCAS’ social media on Twitter.

Student Room

You can find support on the Student Room website.

Clearing is the system that universities and colleges use to fill any spaces they have on their higher education courses.

Clearing is run by UCAS. You can find full details of the Clearing process on the Clearing section of the UCAS website.

Clearing is open from 5 July to 17 October 2023.

If you think something has gone wrong in the process of working out your grades, the first step is to speak to your school. It is important to consider that your marks and grades could be lowered, stay the same or increase, so you need to make sure you take appropriate advice before asking for an appeal.

The appeals process and deadlines for appeals are different depending on where you live in the UK. Check out the links below for information for each nation.

Check with the exam board what the deadline is for appeals or see further information for England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Other qualifications

You can ask your school, college or training provider to review the results of any other qualification, for example a BTEC or an NVQ.

If you’re not satisfied with the outcome, you can appeal directly to the awarding organisation. They will send you a final report after they’ve reviewed the result.

If you think the awarding organisation did not deal with your appeal correctly, you can complain to Ofqual.

Further information and advice on appealing grades is available from UCAS.

If you are not sure if you are ready to start university, or would now like to take a gap year, you could consider deferring. This means that you apply to start your course a year later.

If you are applying through Clearing, you can only apply for the current year – you cannot apply for a deferred place to start next year through Clearing.

You can find more information on deferred entry from UCAS.

Getting your exam results can be a stressful time so it is important to look after your mental health and wellbeing. You can find support during exam results through:

- Student Minds

- Student Space

- Young Minds

- NHS mental health support

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