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What time does Ucas hub update on A-levels results day 2023? When to check the status of university offers

This is always a nerve-wracking time for A-Level students, and 2023 is set to be no different.

Students have been cautioned that this year’s results will mark a return to a more typical state of affairs, signalling a departure from the previous years of turmoil brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ofqual, the exams watchdog for England, has said that it will impose tougher grade boundaries this year after 45 per cent of all A-level grades were either an A or an A* in 2021, up from 33 per cent in 2019.

If you did not get the grades to attend your preferred university or college, do not worry, you still have plenty of options. They may still let you in if you narrowly missed your grades.

When is Ucas Track open?

Ucas Hub is the new Ucas Track and it is the system students use to make university applications, check their progress, and go through clearing if needed.

It updates from 8am on Thursday. Ucas receives the A-level results directly – but the results themselves won’t be visible via the hub.

Clearing is essentially a late application round for students. It is the perfect opportunity for anybody who missed out on their first-choice spot, while also giving universities the chance to fill spaces they still have left on their courses.

The 2023 clearing process has been open since Wednesday 5 July and will close on 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 Track;
  • you have paid the multiple choice application fee of £27.

How do I apply for clearing?

You can search for an apply to clearing courses on the Ucas website here.

To apply, you will need to have your Ucas number, your clearing number, and all personal details to hand. You can get your clearing number from Ucas Track.

Track will make it clear that you are in clearing with a message stating “You are now in clearing”, or “clearing has started”.

Before you add a clearing choice in your application, you need to call the university and give them your clearing number.

Try to get informal offers over the phone.

Once you have permission from a university and have decided on your clearing course, click “Add clearing choice’” and fill in the course details on the Ucas website.

This counts as you definitely accepting the offer, so if they confirm, it will show as an acceptance on your “Choices” page in your application.

You can only add one choice at a time, but if the university/college doesn’t confirm your place, you’ll be able to add another.

Keep checking clearing regularly, as universities will not make all their places available at once.

Ucas introduced a new tool in 2020 called Clearing Plus, designed to make it easier to find your perfect course.

It gives university courses a ranking score based on how relevant they are to a particular student, displaying the best matched courses at the top of a bespoke list.

According to Ucas: “We look at your original choices you applied for, combined with your qualifications and grades.

“Universities and colleges have already told us what courses they’d like to make available in Clearing Plus (no, not all courses are included in your matches), and the entry requirements for them. Then, we analyse what students in clearing went on to study in previous years.”

While students are also urged to search for course themselves before making a decision, and expressing an interest in a course does not guarantee a place, it is hoped that Clearing Plus can help candidates to cut through the thousands of options on offer.

When are A-Level results announced?

The number of top grades also has no bearing on the number of university places available.”

A-level results will be announced on Thursday 17 August, 2023 and students can usually pick up their grades from schools starting around 8am.

However, the exact timing might differ depending on the school, as in the past, exam boards have occasionally made grades accessible at 6am.

On the same day, AS-level and T-level results will also be obtainable for collection.

How to get A-level results

Pupils can go into their schools or colleges to collect their grades in person, though you should check with your institution or teachers to confirm when to arrive, as times will vary.

It may also be possible to receive your results via email or post – again, check with your institution to find out.

Students can also log into Ucas Track on results day to find out whether their specific university applications have been successful.

Ucas Track doesn’t show you the exact A-level grades you received, which students can only receive from their school or college.

However, by confirming whether you have been accepted at your university of choice, it can often give a strong indication of your precise grades.

The website typically opens between 8am and 8.30am on results day, after being frozen in the days leading up to it.

To access Ucas Track you will need your personal ID and password which was used when applying.

Ucas advises that if your offer hasn’t been changed to “unconditional” when you log in to track, then wait until you’ve received your grades before calling them or the university.

How will exams be marked differently this year?

Last year, 45 per cent of all A-level grades were either an A or an A* in 2021, up from 33 per cent in 2019. The return to pre-pandemic grading means that national results will be lower than last summer’s.

To bring grades back to pre-pandemic levels, experts at the University of Buckingham claim that 59,000 fewer A*s and 36,000 fewer As will need to be awarded this year.

The study, helmed by Centre for Education and Employment Research (Creer), predicts that the proportion of A* grades will fall from 14.6 per cent in 2022 to 10 per cent this year, while As will fall from 36.4 per cent to 27.5 per cent.

A report filed by Creer said: “Assuming a reduction in two subjects per person, this would mean about 30,000 students not getting the A* grades they could have expected last year, and nearly 50,000 not getting the A*/A grade.”

Students’ grades will be determined only by the number of marks they achieve on the assessments, and the same grade boundaries will apply to everyone taking the qualification.

How will this affect results?

The schools minister, Nick Gibb, has said results in needed to return to their former standard to carry the same weight with employers.

“A typical student in 2019 – given the same level of ability, the same level of diligence – the likelihood is that same student would get the same grades in 2023 as they would have done in 2019,” he told PA Media.

Those finishing school this year have faced an education disrupted by the pandemic and teacher strike action, as well as the changes to grading.

Ofqual has stated, however, that it will make no special allowances for pupils whose teaching was affected by eight days of industrial action in 2023.

More moderate arrangements are in place this year in Wales and Northern Ireland.

Information about the content of some papers was given to students in advance, and Covid disruption was taken into account in the marking. In Wales, grade boundaries will be set midway between 2019 and last year’s results.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “This year GCSE and A-level grading is largely returning to normal, in line with plans set out by Ofqual almost two years ago, to make sure qualifications maintain their value and students get the opportunities they deserve.

“This means national results are expected to be similar to those in pre-pandemic years, and a student should be just as likely to achieve a particular grade this year as they would have been before the pandemic.

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