Exams

A-Level Exam Results Summary

August is an important month for students awaiting their GCSE and A-Level results. Last week, students across the country received their A-Level grades. The grades received on the 15thAugust determine whether students have gained a place at their university of choice. 

“Only 25.5% of students received an A grade or higher.”

On A-Level results day 2019, the 30,000 students who achieved the highest A-Level grades fell to its lowest point in 12 years. A-Level maths candidates needed to score just over 50% in order to pass, due to the difficulty of the exam. 

 

The pass rate fell from last year, at 97.5%. This year, only 25.5% of students received an A grade or higher. This is down by 26.4% from last year, making it the lowest level since 2007 with 25.3%.

 

According to the Joint Council for Qualifications, the number of girls taking three sciences has risen to 50.3%, overtaking boys. Despite this, 30,159 boys took Physics, compared with 8,799 girls. 

 

Spanish has become the most popular language to study, overtaking French for the first time. 8,625 students studied Spanish at A-Level, compared with 8,355 taking French.

 

The number of students studying Politics has also risen to 19,729, up by 1,765. Students this year would have chosen their A-Levels in 2017, the year of President Trump’s election, as well as the UK’s Brexit referendum. 

 

On the other hand, the English A-Level entries have fallen by 7.8%. English Literature is down from 44,200 to 40,824, and Language from 18,049 to 14,144. 

 

The University and College Admissions Service (UCAS) stated that there has been a slight decline in the number of students accepted into their top university choices. This total has dropped by 1%, with 408,960 students securing a place. Consequently, the number of applicants going through clearing rose to 126,170 on Thursday morning. In 2018, over 60,000 students went through clearing, with UCAS predicting a rise to 70,000 this year.

 

A recent change in the A-Level syllabus saw final exams overtaking coursework. This was with the aim of differentiating between the highest achieving students. 

 

 

A Level Results Day 2019

This year, A Level Results Day falls on the 15th August 2019. 

Hopeful students across the country awake to see if they’ve achieved their predicted A Level grades. This day determines whether students wanting to go into higher education have secured a place at their university of choice.

 

Accessing results

On the 15th August 2019, results will be published online from 6am. The 6th form or college should provide their students with how to access A Level results. Alternatively, students can go into their 6th form or college to collect a hardcopy of their results. 

Students can access UCAS Track from 8am to see whether they have been accepted on their chosen course at their firm university choice.

It is important to remember that the website may be slow when checking A Level results and UCAS, as thousands of students will be logging on at the same time.  

 

Grade boundaries

Exam grade boundaries are published from 6am, alongside results. Exam boards publish these separately, so students will need to check the individual exam board websites: 

AQA

OCR

Pearson

CCEA

WJEC

 

Grades aren’t as expected?

If students haven’t received the grades they’ve hoped for, there is no need to panic. There are many alternatives; sometimes the firm choice university will still accept lower results than requested. Or they may accept students onto a different course than the one they applied for. Otherwise, the student’s insurance university choice might offer them a place. 

Adjustment and clearing are other options, which are done via UCAS Track.  

 

Adjustment

If students have exceeded their offer, they can go through adjustments to apply for other universities, whilst holding their firm offer. This is available from 9am on the 16th August until the 31st August. On results day, 15th August, students can register for this on Track. Student have five days to secure an alternative university. Read more here: https://www.ucas.com/ucas/undergraduate/apply-and-track/results/ucas-adjustment-if-youve-done-better-expected

 

Clearing

Clearing is for when a student doesn’t receive the results they were expecting. It provides the option of choosing a different course or university. Students can apply for clearing when they haven’t received any offers, or when they have declined the offers they have received. This can be done through the clearing option using UCAS Track. Find out more here: https://www.ucas.com/clearing-launch

 

Other options?

There are many other options that include: retaking exams and applying next year, doing an apprenticeship, requesting a remark, or going into full-time work.

 

Thinking about the future

Well done to everyone whose results went well! Embarking on a new adventure at university is a rewarding experience. If students didn’t achieve they grades they were hoping for, then don’t worry. Explore every possibility, stay calm, and remember there are always other options. 

 

How can we stop students procrastinating and start working?

Procrastination. We have all been culprits of this from time to time. I have certainly been guilty of putting off cleaning out the loft, until suddenly it became the most important job in the world when I had to write an important bid with a tight deadline!

I joke as if procrastination is trivial, but when a student is perpetually procrastinating to the point of self – sabotage it is a serious matter. So why do they/we do it? 

Dr Joseph Ferrari identifies three basic types of procrastinators:

  1. Thrill seekers – those who wait to the last minute for the euphoric rush.
  2. Avoiders – those who may be avoiding the fear of failure, or even the fear of success. In either case, they are concerned more about what others think of them and would rather have people think they lack effort than ability.
  3. Decisional procrastinators- those who simply cannot make a decision! 

This can be born out of various reasons from die - hard family habits to an act of rebellion. Nevertheless, all are avoiding an act that may being about some emotional discomfort about making meaningful changes to our lives. 

For me, it was the potential of life - altering funding resulting in success or failure. For our students, it is the potential to rise or fall in their exams and what this could potentially mean for their future. 

By electing to put off today what can be done tomorrow we are effectively selling ourselves short. How can we as teachers, help students to stop procrastinating and start working? 

Here are our 6 strategies to help end procrastination and motivate students to get cracking!

1. Start With The End Point

A great goal - setting exercise for students is to draw an archery target board. In the bull's eye students write their ultimate goal and a deadline. For example, in 2022 I want to be a qualified hairdresser.  In the outer rings, students write the steps that will help them reach their end point.

This will help them see the bigger picture of schools and exams whilst breaking down their dream into a tangible target. 

2. Challenge Unhelpful Assumptions

When procrastinating we justify our behavior to make ourselves feel better. For example…

Challenging unhelpful assumptions table

The best way to challenge these unhelpful conclusions is to see if they are really valid. Are they based on evidence or fact, or are they assumptions?

Work students through their assumptions and encourage them to create new conclusions like this one… 

Source Centre of Clinical Interventions (CCI) 

Source Centre of Clinical Interventions (CCI) 

3. Swap Critical Self - Talk with Motivational Self - Talk

The cycle of procrastination can be a toxic, vicious cycle. We lie to ourselves to make us feel better, and then when we become overwhelmed with stress we beat ourselves up for wasting time.  Work with students to find their common self – criticisms and how they can change this into something positive, kind and motivational. Here’s an example;

Critical vs Motivational Self Talk

Notice how the motivational talk separates behavior of procrastinating from their personal qualities. It also focuses on what can be achieved going forward, rather than dwelling on what hasn’t been done. 

4.  Prioritise

Writing a ‘to do’ list is hugely therapeutic but the next step many miss is prioritizing each goal, from 1 – 10 from what is most urgent and important. This means students start on what is critical, rather than what they feel like doing instead! 

5. Build Accountability

Partner with colleagues, parents and carers to create a‘Personal Board of Advisors’ to keep students focused and on track. This shouldn’t be a nag feast (remember procrastination can be an act of rebellion) but a supportive board that can listen, support, and encourage when the going gets tough. 

6. Reward Progress

In change psychology rewarding short – term wins are paramount to changing patterns and behaviours. If students see progress quickly then they will be motivated to continue even more vigorously than before! Set up a reward system to celebrate the small successes. This can be as simple as saying, “I’m proud of you,” to lunch with the Headteacher as recognition, or a school outing. 


Changing behaviour and habits will take time, practice, persistence and patience. Expect good days, bad days and some setbacks but don’t stop trying it will be worth it on result day!

To give students a massive motivational push find out more about our workshops here.