Resits, remarks, and celebrations – how to survive results day

After weeks of waiting, it’s finally time for your teen’s exam results. All across the UK, kids’ will make their way nervously to school to pick up theirs. Their grades might determine what sixth form college they’re going to, if not their university or their job for the next few years. Even though grades aren’t the only thing that determines a teen’s future, it’s probably their biggest milestone so far.

So what’s the best way to help your teen on the big day? Here are some top tips for helping your child get through their results day, no matter what happens.

1. Reassurance
2. Re-marks
3. Resits
4. School leavers – Clearing, Adjustment and your one-stop checklist
5. Celebration

1. Reassurance – before, during and after

Your teen will probably be really nervous in the final days and hours leading up to their results arriving. While it’s totally normal to be a bit anxious (it shows they care after all!), it’s good if they can manage their nerves so they don’t get overwhelmed.

Although there’s only so much you can do, part of their worry might be an irrational fear of letting you down. You can help them lots with this by reminding them that no matter what results they get, you love them and you’re proud of them anyway. If they have any older siblings or cousins who went through exams already, having them around can be a big comfort too. They should know that exam results are just one thing out of lots of other types of achievements, and they shouldn’t pin their whole self-worth on grades.

2. Check if they should get any papers re-marked

If they get results that were either way off what was expected, or if they missed a higher grade by just one or two marks, they might want to send their paper to be re-marked. Sometimes examiners can get things wrong, and often kids do get a better mark with a second look.

They should be careful though, as a re-marked grade is the final grade, so if it comes back lower then they’ll be stuck with it. The best thing to do is to talk to their teacher for that subject, and they’ll help them come to a final decision.

3. Think about resits

If your child gets some grades where they’re sure they could’ve done better, they could have the option to resit the following year. If their heart’s set on a particular university course, or if they need particular grades for the sort of work they’d like to go into, then it might be worth it for them to boost their grades and help them in the long-term. GCSE resits take place in November, and A Level resits happen in the Summer (along with all the other A Levels).

On the other hand, if they’re going into their next year of school, it might make sense for them to leave it behind and focus fully on their new courses. Either way, they should talk about it with you and with their subject teacher when the new term starts.

4. School leavers – Plans B, C, D and E

If your teen’s finished school, then their A Level results could decide where they’ll be studying – and living – at uni for the next three years. So it’s extra important that they feel reassured and have back-up plans, whatever happens. If you’re not already clued up, here’s a little explanation of how UCAS works:

  • If your child applied for university this year, then if they received offers they’ll have had to select a first choice and an insurance offer.
  • Their primary offer will be their first choice, and it’ll ask them for a higher set of grades.
  • If they don’t get the results, then they’ll automatically be allocated their insurance offer, provided they still meet the grades asked of that university.


If your teen misses their first choice and insurance offer, it’s not the end of the world either. They’ll probably be disappointed, but if you stay positive and move on to the next port of action, it can help to stop them getting too upset. Before looking at different options, it’s always worth calling the university to see if they’ll still let them come despite missing the offer. There’s no way to know if they will or not, but sometimes kids do get to uni this way so it’s worth checking.

If they do find themselves without an offer though, UCAS Clearing is another way kids can find a place at university. Open from 3pm on A Level results day, Clearing is how universities fill up places that others missed, or that didn’t get filled up already. For everything you need to know about Clearing finding a plan B post-school, take a look at our blog all about it.


On the flipside, if your child finds they get much better results than they expected, they could find themselves an even better uni place. UCAS Adjustment is a process that exists exactly for this, and full details of how it works are on the website.

Your A Level results day checklist

Here are a few helpful things for your teen to have ready ahead of the big day:

  • Their UCAS Track login details
  • Phone numbers of their universities of choice
  • Links to the Clearing and Adjustment websites
  • A text version of their personal statement – in case they apply somewhere new with one of the above.

5. Celebration

Whatever’s happened, leave everything on a high on the day with a small celebration. You could make their favourite meal at home, go for ice cream or do whatever else they’ll enjoy as a special treat.

If they’ve nailed their results, it’ll be a happy day for everyone. If they’re feeling down in the dumps, well, there’s nothing like an ice cream sundae and a hug from mum or dad to distract them. Now, onwards and upwards!

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