Bad A Level Results - What Should You Do Next?

Monday, 21 Aug 2017

Bad A Level Results

Recovering after a set of bad A Level results is all about taking control of the situation. Feel free to be disappointed, upset or angry, but don’t let these emotions prevent you from carving another path for your future. If you never imagined an alternative to your original career plan, now is the time to get your thinking cap on. You should decide whether you still have the same end goal for your career or whether there is actually something else you would like to do instead. To help you decide, Send My Bag has put together a list of some of the many options for school leavers.

How to Achieve your Original Career Goals

Go Through Clearing
Bad A Level Results? Go Through Clearing

If you didn’t get the grades you needed to get into your first or second choice of university, this doesn’t mean you can’t pursue a similar course elsewhere. This is where Clearing comes in. This year especially, there are plenty of university places still up for grabs after results day. Universities want to fill these spaces through Clearing, so chances are you will be able to secure a place on a course that accepts lower grades. Find out much more about Clearing here.

Choose Another Course at the Same University
Bad Results? Different Course at Same Uni

If you have your heart set on a particular university, however, there are a number of things you can do to ensure you are able to attend. For entry this year, you could choose a different, but related, course provided by the university that does not require such high grades, and apply for a place through Clearing.

Re-Sit Exams
Bad Results? Re Sit Exams

If there are no other courses that you are interested in, you could take a year out to re-sit your exams and reapply to the course you originally wanted. Re-sitting exams is also the best option if there is a lot of competition for your subject across the board; Clearing is not a good way to secure a place on a competitive course such as medicine or law.

If you prefer to stay somewhere familiar, you can ask to re-take your exams at your current school or sixth-form college. Or, if you fancy a change of scenery, you could enrol at a further education college and re-sit your exams there.

Take a Gap Year
Bad Results? Take a Gap Year

A year out not only gives you a chance to re-sit your exams, it is also an opportunity to improve your employability and, in fact, put yourself ahead of those who went straight to university after leaving school. You could go travelling around the world, do volunteer work at home or abroad, or take up a job that relates to the career you intend to go into. After a gap year you should have achieved improved exam results, had a welcome break from academia, and learned some valuable skills that will help you later on when it comes to applying for jobs.

Don't forget that Send My Bag can help make your gap year possible by shipping your luggage for you, allowing you to travel light but also have all your favourite things with you at your destination.


How to Achieve New Career Goals

Choose a Completely Different Subject
Bad Results? Choose a Different Course

Not doing as well in your A Levels as you had hoped is an opportunity to take stock and reassess what the options are for your future. You may decide that you want to study something completely different to what you first intended. If you took A Levels that would be accepted for a university course in that subject, you can try straight away to get a place through Clearing. If you need a subject that you don’t already have a qualification in, you could sign up to take the subject at a sixth form college or further education college. At the same time, you could re-sit any exams that you did badly in and that are also relevant to your new choice of course.

Think about Further Education
Bad Results? Try Further Education

Don’t just go to university because everyone else is. Think about whether university is really the right environment for you and whether you actually need a university degree for your desired career. There are plenty of other institutions where you can obtain top-notch qualifications. And, if you choose a vocational course, you may be more likely to land a job after qualifying than if you took a more generalised subject at university. It helps that vocational courses tend to put a lot of emphasis on learning practical skills through placements, rather than just focussing on theory. Another plus side of not attending university is that you will avoid amassing such hefty student debt.

Sign Up for an Apprenticeship
Bad Results? What About an Apprenticeship?

You may not be aware of something called Higher Level Apprenticeships. These are programmes that provide students with on-the-job training for a particular career, while at the same time offering them formal teaching, leading to a qualification. The benefits of this are obvious, including learning valuable skills specific to your chosen career, and gaining on-the-job experience. Plus, you get to earn while you learn and may be given a permanent post at the end of your apprenticeship.


As you can see, there are plenty of options still open to you if you didn’t get the A Level results you wanted. You could even view bad results as a second chance to think about what you really want out of your career. Having that extra time to think will help you decide whether you really want to go to university, or whether you would be better off taking an alternative approach to your learning. You should seek advice from teachers or past pupils who have been through a similar experience, but remember that you are in control and that decisions about your career are yours to make, and yours alone.

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