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Clearing – Frequently Asked Questions


Some of the most commonly asked questions about results day and Clearing. Click the link to see the answer. If you don't find an answer to your question, go to AskCUG and our team of experts will be on hand to help.

Results day

Clearing process

Adjustment process

Still waiting

Applying late


A-level results are published soon. Is there anything I should be doing now, prior to receiving my results?

Whatever your expectations regarding your exam results, you should have a contingency plan in place.

I'm away for results days and won't know my results until a couple of days after they're released. I am worried about whether my results will get me into my desired universities. What is my best course of action while I'm away, or should I wait until I'm back, even though I may have missed out on Clearing opportunities?

What is the best way to check whether or not I have a place at university?

I've got the results I expected, and I've met the conditions laid down by my firm choice. Do I need to do anything on Results Day?

What if my grades are better than expected?

My exam results are worse than I expected and I don't have a place at university. What can I do to get onto a university course starting this year?

  • We're sorry to hear about your results, but you are eligible for the UCAS Clearing scheme, which is a way of matching universities without students to students without universities.
  • Trying to get a place through Clearing is not as difficult as it sounds and you may be surprised at the number of vacancies which will be available at most Universities. 
  • Keep realistic and act positively and assertively (don't allow disappointed parents or teachers to push you into an unwise or badly thought out decision).
  • Having said that, don't isolate yourself from family, friends and your careers advisors either.
  • Don't give up! Read through our other FAQs on Clearing and visit our pages on Clearing and What if I just miss my grades? for direction on what to do now. Have a look at other students' real life experiences of Clearing to read their success stories – good luck!

Who can use the UCAS Clearing Scheme?

  • Students who have not obtained the grades required for a place from their firm and insurance choices.
  • Students who have applied after the 30 June deadline.
  • Students who have not yet applied to university, although you need to have completed a UCAS application in order to use Clearing.
  • If you haven't yet applied, apply online now via UCAS Apply. Remember that you will need a reference as well as your personal statement.
  • Bear in mind, also, that universities may not be enthusiastic about students making their initial university applications via Clearing, unless there are extenuating circumstances. Think carefully about whether you need to start higher education this year, or whether you can take a year out and apply to university for 2014 entry.

Where can I obtain advice on my exam results and Clearing?

An obvious place to start is with your school and careers advisor. The Complete University Guide has a whole section covering all aspects of Applying to university, including Results Day and Clearing. You can ask us questions via Facebook or email. For additional impartial advice, telephone the Exams Results Helpline on 0800 100 8000.

  • It is open for Scottish students on 3 August.
  • It opens for students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on 13 August.
  • This is a service provided by Skills Development Scotland to Scottish students and by UCAS to students in the rest of the UK, to help with questions on applying through Clearing and with queries on your application.

What is the best way to deal with Clearing and obtain a university place?

Treat Clearing as you would a job application. Take time to prepare and be professional:

My son has not made the grades he required for his chosen university course and is feeling very despondent. Any advice please?

I have heard about a UCAS procedure called Adjustment Period – what is this?

Can I reject my insurance offer and go through Clearing?

Is it true we cannot enter Clearing until declined by firm and insurance choices?

I didn’t meet my insurance or firm offers but the universities haven’t declined yet, what shall I do?

I have ‘x’ grades, and want to do ‘x’ course. Which universities will accept?

I missed out on my firm choice but only just, is it worth calling the university to see if they’ll reconsider?

Is a university likely to go below the grades listed on their prospectus as Clearing requirements?

I'd like to go through Clearing but haven’t applied yet, when is the deadline for Clearing and can I still apply through it?

I can’t get through using the hotline number, what shall I do?

I have received multiple offers via Clearing, can I put them all into UCAS Track?

I’m applying for university but have deferred a year. However I've been unsuccessful with both my firm and insurance choice. Can I go through Clearing or do I have to reapply?


Didn't find the question you were looking for? Use AskCUG and submit yours to our team of experts, all whom have years of experience within higher education – they'll be happy to help. 

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