Teenagers receiving A-level results - here's all you need to know

A level exam hall
Tens of thousands of students are preparing to receive their results Credit: ITV Meridian

Tens of thousands of students are preparing to receive their exam results after months of waiting.

Grades in A-levels, BTecs, and other vocational qualifications including T-Levels will be handed out.

The number of top grades will be down as we move back to pre-pandemic pass rates.

Compared with two years ago when grades were awarded by teachers, the number of A stars and A could be nearly 20% lower.

Here's your guide to everything you need to know - including the new steps being taken to avoid a mad scramble for last-minute places at University this year.

When will A-level and vocational exam results be released?

Results will be given out by schools and colleges from 8am on 17 August 2023. 

At the same time, the university UCAS system is due to update with students able to log on to the hub and see if they have been awarded their university places. 

How many students sat A-levels this year? 

In total, there were 806,410 A-level exam entries.

Most students take two or three exams - or a combination of A-levels and vocational qualifications like BTecs.

In total around 350,000 students, aged 18, sat exams. 

Results will be given out by schools and colleges from 8am on 17 August 2023 Credit: PA

Is it true that there will be fewer top grades this year? 

Yes - we are returning to pre-pandemic grading which means results will be down. 

The number of top grades soared in 2020 and 2021 when there were no exams due to the pandemic.

In 2021, a total of 44% of grades were A stars and As. 

Last year, those results were "pegged back" and fell to just under 36%.

This year, a further drop of around is expected back to levels similar to 2019 when 25% of entries were awarded the top two grades. 

Isn't this unfair on students?

The exams watchdog Ofqual says protection will be built into the grading process to recognise the disruption that students have faced. 

They say the grades awarded will be similar to 2019 and they insist that a typical student who "would have achieved a B grade in A-level geography before the pandemic, will be just as likely to get a B in geography in 2023, even if their performance in the assessments is a little weaker."

If students miss out on grades when can they start trying to secure places at other universities or on alternative courses? 

University clearing (the system where unfilled places are offered) opened on 5 July.

So courses that still have spaces are clearly listed.

More places may become available if students miss or decline their offers once they know their results. 

This year students will be allowed to add clearing places on results day - but only from 1pm.

This will provide a few hours to do research in the morning without the usual mad scramble for places. 

Last summer, record numbers of students - more than 33,000 in total, secured their university places through clearing

Which A-level subjects are growing in popularity? 

Entries for classical subjects are up 20% this year compared with last and computing also showed another big overall increase compared with 2022. 

The numbers taking Business Studies, Psychology, and Sociology are also up - and have increased each year since 2019.

Is the North-South divide likely to narrow this year? 

That's unlikely. Last summer, the proportion of those achieving top grades the North East was just under 31% but in the South East it was nearly 40% - a gap of nearly 9%.

What about narrowing the gap between the most well-off students and the most disadvantaged - is that likely?

No. In 2022 the gap between the poorest students and their wealthier contemporaries was at its highest level since 2012 and that trend is expected to continue.

What about T-Level results?

They will be released at the same time as A-Levels. This is only the second year of "Technical Level" results which combine academic study with vocational skills and work placements. 

As a result, exam boards have been asked by Ofqual to be generous "to reflect the fact technical qualifications are new qualifications and students and teachers are less familiar with the assessments."

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