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A-levels 2021: When do results come out?

By Jeanette Long & Eleanor Lawrie
BBC News

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Students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive their A-level results on 10 August , the same day that Scottish Highers results are released.

Because of the pandemic, grades have been determined by teachers’ estimates, rather than exams.

How have the results been decided this year?

A combination of coursework, mock exams and essays have been used by teachers to decide grades.

The head teacher of each school has to sign off the results and say there is evidence to back them up.

The freedom given to schools meant students have had very different experiences this year – with some doing more tests than others.

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To ensure consistent judgements were made, some measures were put in place by exam boards – such as requiring a sample of student work to be submitted.

Can students appeal against their results?

If students think a grade is wrong, they can first ask their school or college to check whether it has made a mistake.

If that’s the case, a new grade can be sent to the exam board, which will decide what to do.

If the school confirms the grade but the student still believes it is incorrect, then they can ask for an appeal, which their school or college is expected to submit on their behalf.

The exam board may correct it, although any new grade could be higher or lower than the one given on results day.

In England, the deadline to send an appeal to the exam board is 17 September.

There is an earlier deadline of 23 August for priority appeals. For example, if a student has not got their first choice of university place confirmed.

Schools and colleges will set their own deadlines for receiving appeals, which will be earlier than these dates.

What if I don’t get the grades I need in my A-levels?

First of all, try not to panic.

One option is to contact the university’s admissions office, which may have some flexibility if you narrowly missed your offer, or could suggest a different course.

Your school or college’s careers adviser can also help discuss options such as a gap year, work or an apprenticeship.

Until 19 October, you can apply for a course using clearing if you’ve missed out on an offer – or have declined your firm choice. You must register and then apply on the Ucas Track system.

Before you add a university as a clearing choice, you need to call them directly to discuss whether they will potentially accept you.

Additionally, in England exams will be held in October in their normal format. Any student can take one of these exams if they were due to take one in the summer, and can use their highest grade from those or the teacher estimates.

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image captionLast year there were protests over the government’s use of an algorithm to determine results, which was later scrapped

What are A-levels and who takes them?

Advanced level qualifications – known as A-levels – are subject-based qualifications taken mostly by pupils aged 16-18 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland after they have done their GCSEs.

In England, pupils must stay in education or training until they are 18.

Students normally study three or more A-levels over two years which are assessed by a series of exams. They can lead to university, further study, training, or work.

Will exams be back to normal in 2022?

In England, the government “very much hopes and intends” for exams to go ahead in 2022, according to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson.

But schools are set to get advance notice of topics, so students are not disadvantaged by Covid disruption. Full details will not be confirmed until early in the autumn term.

In Wales, plans are currently being developed. However, some subjects will be adapted “to reflect the disruption there has been”.

Exams will take place in Northern Ireland, but students will sit “significantly fewer” in each subject.

What is happening in Scotland?

In Scotland, 16 to 18-year-olds take Highers. Like A-levels, they are subject-based qualifications with four or five usually studied at one time.

Students in Scotland received grades decided by their teachers. Provisional grades were awarded in June to allow more time to appeal. The deadline for any appeal is 12 August.

A decision on whether exams will be held in 2022 is due shortly.

Do you have any questions about results day or how exams are different this year? Our experts are on hand to answer your questions. Email haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk.

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