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Didn’t get the A-level results you need? Here’s how to appeal grades, retake exams and apply through clearing

The number of students accepted on to UK degree courses has fallen this year, Ucas figures show. A total of 414,940 applicants have gained a place at university or college – down 2.6 per cent on the same point last year, according to data published by the university admissions service.

For 18-year-olds in the UK, 230,600 applicants have been accepted – down 3.1 per cent on last year.

Overall, 19,010 UK 18-year-old applicants have missed the conditions of their university offer and are now eligible to find places in clearing, compared with 15,090 last year and 17,270 in 2019.

How to appeal a result

Anyone can challenge a grade or the result of a qualification if they think there has been a mistake. The process is slightly different across the four countries of the UK.

In England, for GCSEs, AS levels or A levels, you can ask your school or college to request a review from the exam board. For other qualifications you can ask your school, college or training provider to review the results of any other qualification, for example a BTec or an NVQ.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome, you can appeal directly to the awarding organisation. They will send you a final report after they have reviewed the result. If you think the awarding organisation did not deal with your appeal correctly, you can complain to Ofqual.

In Scotland, an appeal against an Scottish Qualifications Authority award will be considered by subject experts. To establish that a decision was wrong, the appellant must demonstrate either that the decision was unreasonable or that there was procedural irregularity by SQA.

In Wales, if your school or college believes that we have made an error in assessing your work, they can request a review on your behalf. Wales offers a priority review of marking service for students whose university place is at risk. It is important you inform your school or college as soon as possible so they can promptly request a review – the deadline for submission is August 24. If, following a review of marking, your school or college believes there is still an error, they can submit an appeal on your behalf.

In Northern Ireland, if you are unhappy with the outcome of Post-Results Services, your school or college can submit an appeal to the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations & Assessment. An appeal must come from your school’s Examinations Officer, as they are best informed to arrange an appeal on behalf of their students. This is normal practice for all awarding organisations.

Can I retake my exam?

Anyone can retake their A-levels. There are no age restrictions. The only prerequisite for anyone looking to retake their A-levels is that they have a GCSE grade C or higher in the subject they wish to retake. Employers have been known to send workers to retake their A-levels if they are not at the required grade.

Almost all universities do accept A-level resits. If you want to retake the course in the exact same way, you can enrol to resit at your school. You can also decide to enrol in a different college or sixth-form for your resits.

How do I apply through clearing?

For anyone who may not have got the results they were hoping for, or for those applicants who want to change their mind, there is plenty of choice in clearing with nearly 29,000 courses and 8,000 apprenticeships currently available, Ucas said.

Ucaus also has a team of advisers hard at work to provide students with expert information, advice and guidance on the phones, social media and on

Most universities offer places through clearing – only Oxford and Cambridge decline to – so you should have a wide range of choices. The 2023 clearing process has been open since Wednesday 5 July and will close on Tuesday 17 October.

You are eligible for clearing if: you are applying to university after 30 June; you didn’t receive or accept any offers; you didn’t meet the conditions of your offers; you have chosen to decline your firm place using the “decline my place” button in Ucas Hub; and you have paid the multiple choice application fee of £27.

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