Guide to AS Level Results Day 2014

We know there’s always a lot of focus on A level results day, but here at Studential, we haven’t forgotten that some students will be receiving their AS results.

We believe these are equally important as A2 grades, and realise that those collecting AS results on 14th August need just as much help and support on the day itself.

It’s AS Level results day – what do I do?

Before you head off to school or college to collect your results, we recommend you take the following items with you:

-    mobile phone
-    calculator (in case you need to add up module marks)
-    pen or pencil
-    notepad

My grades are better than I expected

Congratulations!

Gaining higher marks now in at least one subject, and therefore a higher grade, takes the pressure off you a little during your A2 year.

For example, if you were expecting a grade C in Biology, but achieve a B, this gives you a better chance of averaging a B overall, even if you do not score so highly in your A2 exams next year.

My grades are what I expected

Well done! You’ve hit your targets and can relax in the knowledge that you’ve achieved what you need to this year.

If you have decided you are going to apply to university, you now know how much effort you will have to put in next year to obtain the A level grades required.

My grades are lower than I expected

First of all – don’t worry. While it may seem like the end of the world, it certainly isn’t! There are a couple of things you can do to try and improve your AS marks.

Remarks

Take a careful look at the marks for each module under all subjects you have taken.

Do any of them seem extremely low compared to what you were expecting?

Have you missed the next grade up by only a handful of marks for any subject?

If any of these are the case, you may wish to request a re-mark of your paper(s).

This has to be done through your school or college – you can not make a request yourself directly to the exam board.

It’s important you speak to a teacher on results day – don’t leave it until later, as all remark requests have to be submitted by 20th September.

Also, the earlier you make the request, the sooner you will get your mark back.

There is a fee of around £40 per module for a remark, but this is usually paid for by the school or college, and is refunded if there is a change in your grade.

Don’t forget that your grade can go down as well as up if you get your paper remarked, so have a think about it and talk it through with a tutor first before asking them to request a remark.

Resits

If you feel the marks you’ve received are fair, or do not want to request a remark of your papers, you might consider re-sitting one or more of your exams.

Speak to your subject tutor either on or shortly after results day, and see what they have to say.

If they agree re-sitting a paper is worthwhile, then they will submit you for a resit either in the summer.

I’ve taken 4 or more AS levels – how many and which ones should I carry on to A2 level?

Our first piece of advice if you are in this situation is to at least carry on with all the subjects that are required for your degree entry.

If you have applied to study Physics at university for example, you may have been asked to hold an A2 in both Physics and Mathematics.

In this case, it’s important you carry on with these subjects, otherwise your chosen university (both firm and insurance, if applicable) may no longer choose to accept you onto their course.

This helps you to narrow down your choices by 1 or 2 subjects. However, if your degree does not require you to hold A levels in any particular subject(s), then the decision becomes a little more difficult.

We recommend you think about the subjects you actually enjoy studying – is there a subject you took just because you thought it might be interesting? Or felt pressured into taking it?

If there is, you may want to consider dropping it – there’s no point carrying on with a subject that you’re not really all that enthusiastic about.

This means you won’t be so bothered about studying for the exam, and working hard on the coursework, etc., potentially resulting in a lower grade than had you carried on with a subject you enjoy.

But what if I enjoy all the subjects I’m taking?

If you are studying for 4 or more A levels, and are enjoying all of them, it may be tempting to carry on with all of them to A2.

However, this is not a decision that should be taken lightly.

Remember that subjects become harder at A2 level, and will require more input and effort than at AS.

Do you feel you could handle the workload?

Many students who have taken 4 or more A2 levels have found it stressful, and some wish they had only taken 3 when they received their results and realised they had achieved lower grades than expected in 1 or 2 of their subjects.

So think about this carefully before taking the plunge – as well as all the extra work you will have to do compared to just doing 3 A2 levels, consider the impact it will have on your social life and hobbies over the next 12 months.

Talk to your teachers and see if they think you’ll be able to cope with the demands of the workload.

Take a look at your AS grades and your individual module marks – are you likely to average the required grade after the A2 exams? Will you have to re-sit one or more of your AS papers to achieve the grades you need to get into university?

If the answer is yes, you may want to consider dropping the subject(s) where it is less realistic you will gain the required grades.

Re-sitting an AS paper will also mean more work on top of your A2 studies - do you feel you could cope with this extra work?

Another factor to consider is the helpfulness of your subjects. If you have applied to study English Literature for example, and you are currently taking the following AS levels:

  • English Literature
  • History
  • Geography
  • Art

you might find it more useful to carry on with the first 3 subjects, as they are more essay-based and concerned with writing, than Art.

This will prepare you better for when you start university and begin working towards your degree.

Also remember that you only need 3 A levels to get into university, so best to only take that extra subject if you really enjoy it, or will benefit you at university.

Some universities, such as Cambridge and UCL, place a black mark against certain ‘soft’ subjects, such as Media Studies and Business Studies. So be careful if you are taking one of these subjects.

Universities should list these subjects on their website, so you can check whether taking one of them may harm your chances of being accepted on to your course.

I'm still not sure which subjects to take

If you still can't decide which ones to carry on to A2, we suggest you speak to the universities you are applying to directly.

They will be able to advise if taking one subject over another will place you in a better position or be detrimental to your chances of being accepted.