Ready for results?

So here it is. The Big One. Results.

If you're going into year 13, now's the perfect time to reflect on your grades and start exploring what uni courses are available to you.

If you have just finished year 13, we're here to help you with last minute checks, whether things work out for the best or you’re left wondering what to do with the set of results you weren’t expecting.

And if you're just starting year 12, why not get started early. For anyone receiving results this month, there's no better time to explore the whatwhere and whether of your future study plans.


This month
What to think about if you've just left year 13

A level results are due tomorrow and Scottish Highers grades were published last week. If you're thinking of going to uni this September, whether results day is a dream come true, or a hell on earth, we are here to help.

Once results are in, you have two options:

If you got the grades you needed: Thumbs up, round of applause, pat on the back you’re going off to uni. You've still got a month or so until you start, so why not balance time in the sun, celebrating and with doing some last minute checks on where your course can take you, so you're all clued up.

If you didn't get your grades: don't worry. We've got some blogs to help with Getting ready for clearing and What to do on the big day, to give you a bit of help ahead of the Thursday. There's some advice on clearing (applications for courses that still have last minute places) and, as ever, our hugely popular 'Clearing Course Finder'. Simply key in your A-level subjects and the grades you achieved, plus the subject you want to study at uni. Our Course Finder will show you a list of unis worth approaching for a clearing place.

What to think about if you're about to start year 13

Yes, there's still a few weeks of holidays left (enjoy them, we say), but the uni application process (UCAS) kicks into gear pretty sharpish come the start of year 13. If you want to get into Oxbridge, medicine, veterinary science or dentistry your application needs to be in by 15th October. For most other courses, the deadline is 15th January 2015. Those dates may seem a long way away, but with classes, coursework, birthdays/bar mitzvahs/weddings, nights out and time spent watching Netflix, it's never too soon to get focused. And it's a serious mistake to wait till the deadline to get your application in.

So, now's a great time to be thinking about two of the big questions: what do you want to study and where do you want to study it?

First up, choose a course you’d be happy doing. You’re going to spend a lot of time and money on this. It might as well be something you enjoy... otherwise, why bother? If you enjoy your course, it'll set you up for a rewarding career afterwards. Bear in mind that no two degrees are the same, even if they've got the same name. Studying history at Essex might be completely different from history at Exeter, just as Birmingham's very different from Brighton (you get the idea). Once you've sent off your UCAS application, hopefully you'll start getting offers.

Once you know what you want to study, you can get started on the ‘where’ and it’s better to start sooner rather than later, there are around 140 unis to choose from (and hundreds of other colleges and institutions). Choose the one that's right for you: the one that best matches your needs both in and outside the classroom. Sound like a big decision? Why not check out the Uni Chooser from our friends over at Push? It might help turn your longlist into an ordered shortlist of those unis that will suit your needs best. 

About to start Year 12? Why not check out the bestCourse4me website to see where your A Levels could take you.

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In the news
I think we’re in the clear(ing)
As results day approaches, you may well have started to weigh up your options in case things go a bit belly up: gap year, re-sits, pursue your singing career or possibly clearing. Year after year more students turn to clearing to ensure their plan stays on track and they get to uni, in their mind, when they should. In 2013, 57,100 students found their uni place through clearing. This number increased last year to 61,300. But if finding a course through clearing looks as though it may become a reality for you, be careful you don’t make any hasty choices. Remember that committing to a course through clearing may mean you signing up to a course and a city that you have done no research on. That said many students are now using clearing to find a better course at a university more suited to their requirements.

That writing is ascrawling
Have you ever been told you’ve got chicken scratch writing? Not interested in being a doctor, also known as the only professional in which it’s acceptable to have poor handwriting? Well you might want to start thinking about a bit of handwriting practice. Professor Rhona Stainthorpe noted that if children aren’t able to “write legibly and at speed”, they could find that “their educational achievements may be reduced and their self-esteem affected.” The Professor also noted that good handwriting is a useful tool to have not only for essay writing but also note taking.

2+2 = 19
Have you ever thought maths wasn’t your strongest point? Moaned about how you hate going to maths? Well maybe you should listen to your instincts. People with dyscalculia aren’t necessarily only those who are in the lowest tier maths classes. A new report has found that there are five different types of dyscalculia varying from an inability with basic sums all the way to those who can keep up with their peers but have very subtle gaps in their knowledge. Either way, it’s useful to know, especially if you’re planning on going to uni where people with dyslexia, dyscalculia or dyspraxia can usually get some help from the student services department. Some sufferers might even get a free laptop.