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Check our Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates
Applying to university

Coronavirus updates for exams and university applications

Together with everyone working in universities and higher education, we want to help you understand the current coronavirus situation and how it affects you.

Female student walking through a city wearing a face mask


  1. How the Complete University Guide can help

  2. Exams and results days

  3. Unconditional offers

  4. Replying to offers: Deadline dates

  5. Possible cap on the number of university places in England

  6. Student loans and finance

  7. Links to official announcements

Results days for 2020 have been confirmed after exams were cancelled due to coronavirus. Universities have moved to online and remote teaching and are deciding how to approach current applications and teaching for students starting university in the autumn.

This has created a lot of uncertainty for students already at uni and those planning to start in the autumn. Together with everyone working in universities and higher education, we want to help you understand the situation and how it affects you. 

How the Complete University Guide can help

Do you have a question? Follow us on social, DM or post your question, or ask our experts at ask@thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk.

In the meantime, our advice about choosing a course and a university is unchanged: find the right course and the right institution for you.

Remember that universities make their offers on more than just your exam results. Universities and colleges want to support every student through their application and progression to higher education. 

Exams and results days


  • A and AS Level results will be published on 13 August 2020
  • Ofqual (the exams regulator) has developed a process to provide every student with calculated grades for A Levels based on previous attainment, course work and the grades teachers believe students would've been awarded if exams had gone ahead
  • There will be an appeals process for students, and an option to sit an exam later if you don't feel your grades reflect your performance
  • Calculated results will also be awarded for vocational and technical qualifications used for progression to university  these qualifications include many BTEC, Cambridge, UAL and IB awards

Northern Ireland

  • A and AS Level results will be published on 13 August 2020
  • Students in Northern Ireland will be able to use this year's A Level results for entry into universities in the Republic of Ireland, as confirmed by the Irish Universities Association and the Central Applications Office
  • The priority will be to ensure students receive fair and equitable results that reflect their hard work and enable judgements to be made about progression to study or employment or other avenues
  • The Department of Education will work with the Further and Higher Education sectors to ensure the arrangements that are put in place will allow them to operate admissions processes as efficiently as possible


  • The SQA aims to provide all students with their grades by 4 August
  • The SQA is developing an alternative process to provide students with grades for Highers and Advanced Highers, based on completed coursework, previous attainment and estimated grades provided by teachers
  • All students are strongly encouraged to sign up to MySQA


  • A and AS Level results will be published on 13 August 2020
  • Grades for A Levels will be calculated using a range of evidence, including work already completed and standardised teacher-assessed grades – what your teachers think you'd have achieved if exams had gone ahead

Other exam boards

  • Exam regulators are working with organisations offering qualifications such as BTEC and IB – the intention is to supply grades for all students, whatever exams they were entered for

Unconditional offers

England, Northern Ireland and Wales

The temporary ban on universities making unconditional offers has now been lifted. Universities are still expected to act in the best interests of students as unconditional offers during this period of uncertainty may put pressure on them to accept a course that's not the best for them.


Scottish universities and colleges may continue to make unconditional offers.

Find out about unconditional offers and how to reply.

Replying to offers: Deadline dates

The deadlines for replying to offers have been extended, depending on when UCAS gets the last decision from your chosen universities. Check UCAS Track which will show your personal deadline and make sure you reply by that date.

Remember that universities base their decisions on personal statements and references, as well as exam grades. Please try not to panic and keep calm about your university choices. There is still a lot of uncertainty but, in the meantime, continue with your application journey, attend virtual open days and interviews, research your chosen subject areas and universities, and keep an eye out for emails from UCAS about your applications.

James Seymour, Director of Communications, Marketing and Student Recruitment at the University of Gloucestershire

Possible cap on the number of university places in England

A possible cap on the number of university places in England has been reported in the media (29 March). There's no official confirmation of this but, whether or not this is implemented for 2020, you shouldn't worry about your application, or even your decision about university this year. Wait until all the facts are known.

Student loans and finance

You should still apply for a student loan if you're considering going to university this year (academic year 2020–21). 

The Student Loans Company (SLC) has published updates for prospective and existing students, and for those who have already graduated. This information is for students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. See the appropriate links below. 

The SAAS has published FAQs for students in Scotland, covering accommodation, applying for finance, and for those who are currently receiving student loans.

Read about university tuition fees and the financial support available.  

Links to official announcements

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