Sometimes we’re all so worried about failing, we forget to think about what to do if we happen to be more successful than we predicted.

It’s easy to get caught up in the stress and worry about exam results without remembering all the hard work you put in to get the best grades possible.

If you open that email or envelope and find you’ve exceeded your expectations, and don’t know what to do next, fear not, we have some advice.

Do you already have a place at university?

If you have a place at uni, but now you’ve got better grades than expected and are reconsidering your options, you’ll want to access UCAS’ Adjustment service.

UCAS say Adjustment is a chance for you to reconsider where and what to study.

For example, if you've had a conditional firm choice accepted – and therefore made into an unconditional firm choice – you could potentially swap your place for one on another course you prefer.

What is Adjustment and when does it open?

Adjustment is open from results day on August 15, 2019 until August 31. It is optional and while a lot of competitive courses will be full, other applicants might have missed their offer conditions or swapped a course too, leaving some spaces open.

Can I still keep the course I’ve got?

Yes. If you try Adjustment but don’t find anything, you’ll keep the course you gained on results day. Only by confirming you want to go elsewhere will you lose the original course.

How do I get started?

This is the UCAS site to get started with Adjustment. You can also talk to an adviser at your school, sixth form or college.

What if I haven’t got a place at University but now I have the grades to go?

You can see what places are available in Clearing.

Clearing is how universities and colleges fill any places they still have on their courses. Basically, once you’ve registered with UCAS (if you haven’t already), you can find courses with vacancies and contact the unis or colleges directly to see if they will offer you a place.

How do I do this?

First of all, if you haven’t already applied to anywhere, you’ll need to register. It might be worth doing this in advance. There’s plenty of tips here.

What if I want to defer a year?

You can ask your university to defer your place for a year if you don’t already hold a deferred offer. Many universities will agree to this, but if they don’t and your heart is set on it, you could choose to withdraw your application for this year and then reapply when the process begins for the next student intake. However, make sure you speak to an adviser, teacher or parent as well. 

Helpful links

Who to phone

  • UCAS: 0371 468 0 468 (UK callers) or +44 330 3330 230 (if you are calling from outside the UK).
  • The SQA candidate advice line: 0808 100 8000, open from 9am-5pm from 9-15 August.
  • Skills Development Scotland's exam helpline offers advice on careers and university and college vacancies. Open from 9am until 5pm from 10 until 16 August. The number is 0808 100 8000.