A-level results
Didn’t ace your A-Levels? No problem! Source: Shutterstock

Yesterday marked A-level results day in the UK. While some will be celebrating, for others, whose results were lower than expected, it can feel like a crushing disappointment.

But there’s actually a whole host of options on the table for those who don’t get what they were hoping for.

Here are some examples of what you could do if your A-level results didn’t go the way that you’d planned…


Just because you didn’t get the marks required for your first or reserve choice university (if you applied), it doesn’t mean uni is off the cards altogether. You can register for UCAS Clearing, which allows students to see which university courses still have places. As many as 80,000 students are expected to apply for Clearing in 2019, so you certainly won’t be alone. It’s important to note that the majority of universities have clearing vacancies, so don’t be put off by thinking you’ll only have a choice of lower ranking institutions.

Gap year

Taking a gap year can be extremely beneficial to your personal development and by taking a step back from studies, you can look at your life more objectively, giving you the time and space to work out what you really want to do with your education and career. Research by Mind the Gap found that every year, around 230,000 18-25 year olds take a gap year, 60 percent of whom said it helped them decide which subject to study at uni, while 80 percent felt it added to their employability.

Learn on the job

A significant number of workplaces value experience over education and by going straight into the jobs’ market, you’ll find yourself with at least a three year time advantage over peers who go straight to university from school or college.

There are many types of careers that don’t require a degree, so it’s worth investigating the field you’re interested in, to see if there are any entry-level openings. Monster.co.uk has over 3,000 apprenticeship jobs listed on its site in roles as diverse as IT and cyber security, to wood machinery and digital marketing.

For a bit of inspiration – why not check out Monster’s list of the highest paying jobs that don’t require a degree!


A-level students also have the option to retake exams in June 2020 if they didn’t get their desired grades. Some universities will even be prepared to keep their offer open for the following year. If you have a clear career path in mind, which requires taking a course at a specific university, this may be the best option for you. Resitting doesn’t mean you have to go back to the same school or college either – you can choose where you want to re-sit, with many courses giving the option of online/home-study.

A-level results

Didn’t ace your A-level results – no problem! You can always resit. Source: Shutterstock

Gain a professional qualification

Recent years have seen a rise in the number of vocational courses being taken, as more traditional subjects experience decline. The benefit of vocational education is that it prepares students for the world of work by teaching them practical on-the-job skills as opposed to just theory. There are thousands of vocational qualifications that lead into careers such as nursing, accountancy, gardening and plumbing, and employers in these fields typically prefer to recruit individuals’ with practical experience as they can ‘hit the ground running’ on the job.

Even if you haven’t gained the outcome you’d hoped for, don’t panic.

As laid out here, there are a wealth of options open to you, and not going straight to university, or not going at all, could actually result in you enhancing your life experience and taking a more direct route into your chosen career.

By Lou Goodman, Marketing Director UK, Ireland & Benelux at Monster

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