What happens, when, and what your students need to do to avoid delays to their application.
In light of coronavirus, we’ll make regular updates to this information as it becomes available from awarding bodies.

What’s UCAS’ role?

We receive calculated grades and exam results from many awarding bodies. We then match these to your students’ applications and send them to the universities and colleges that are holding offers for them.

View the list of results we receive and forward to universities and colleges.

Are your students taking an examination not listed in the above?

It’s really important they send their results/certificates to their firm and insurance choice universities or colleges as soon as they receive them! Unis and colleges will need to see proof of qualifications listed in the ‘Education’ section of Apply – this includes GCSEs or National 5s.

Sending proof of qualifications is equally important to students with international qualifications.

What happens, when?

January – May

We start matching applicant data to the qualifications applicants’ have entered in Apply.


We email all applicants who are holding a place and tell them what to expect over the next few months, including international advice and guidance.


We carry out business processes to ensure our records match those held by awarding bodies.

Results days are available in our key dates.  

Applicants can view Confirmation decisions in Track, which is updated continuously except for the periods when we are processing results – ucas.com alerts will give details of when Track is available in the lead up to results days. From summer 2021, applicants will no longer be presented with an ‘AS12’ Confirmation letter once their place is confirmed. The 'CU12' Confirmation letter for UCAS Conservatoires applicants will still be available in Track.

You can view details of your students’ applications, including Confirmation decisions, in the adviser portal.

To help universities and colleges understand how qualifications were awarded in 2020, we’ve shared details with them, including key considerations for students applying in 2021

Results for students in England who took autumn exams

Following the cancellation of exams in 2020, students in England were awarded Centre Assessment Grades (CAGs) or calculated grades, but also given the option to sit their exams in the autumn.

Results for 2020 applicants who chose to sit their exams will be made available to them by their school or college on 17 December 2020.

If they’re holding a conditional firm place, they should get in touch with the university or college as soon as they have their results to discuss their application and to check if they have met the conditions of their offer.

It’s important that they remember that their final certificated grades will be the highest they received – whether that was their CAGs, calculated grades, or autumn exam results.

How you can help

There are a number of ways you can help your students throughout the exam results process.

Changes to exam details

Complete our qualifications amendment form straightaway if any of your students’ exam details change, and let the universities/colleges know too. That includes anything from exam subjects, modules or units, to awarding/examining bodies and centre numbers. We cannot add or amend predicted grades or units.

It's important to tell us, as it could delay the processing of the exam results. If results can’t be verified, your student might not get their place.

If anything affects your students’ results, we advise the applicant to contact the university or college that's holding their place, either as a firm or insurance choice. They should explain their situation, and provide a supporting letter from their school, college or exam centre (with supporting documentation if necessary, e.g. a letter from the doctor if it’s a medical issue).

Late exam results

Universities and colleges have until 7 September to receive exam results, unless they specify a different date. If the results aren’t available by this date, they’re not obliged to hold a place. If you know of any results likely to be subject to delay, it’s important to let the university or college know in good time.

Important qualification information

International Baccalaureate (IB)

  • Please make sure UCAS is listed in the IB Information System (IBIS) as a provider who has permission to access your students' results, due on 5 July 2020. You’ll need to submit your request through the ‘request for results service’ option in IBIS. If you need any help with this, email Support@ibo.org or phone 029 2054 7740.
  • If permission is not given, we won't receive the results due on 5 July 2020. This will delay Confirmation decisions from universities or colleges.

Pearson BTEC

If you have students taking Pearson BTEC qualifications this year, their results will be published on the dates below.

  • Unreformed Pearson BTEC qualifications – will be released to students on a rolling basis from July.
  • Reformed Pearson BTEC qualifications – will be released to students in August.

If any of these results are released during an embargo period, it’s important to remember UCAS Undergraduate Track and the adviser portal won’t update with any decisions, and universities and colleges cannot discuss an individual’s status with them, or advisers, until the embargo period has ended.

As a reminder, the embargo periods for 2020 are:

SQA embargo period

18:00 on 27 July until 09:00 on 4 August (UK time)

JCQ (A level) embargo period

14:00 on 7 August until 08:00 on 13 August (UK time)

We've produced a guide to reformed vocational qualifications in England (2.9 MB), which you may find useful. 

My student’s grades aren’t what they expected – what can they do?

If a student’s grades aren’t what they had hoped for this year, there are a number of options available to them.

They could:

  • Sit their examinations: In England, students will be able to sit examinations this autumn. If they live in Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland, they can sit them next summer. If they do decide to sit an exam, they will be able to use their highest grade.
  • Appeal their grade: They’ll need to discuss this with you – here’s our advice for students on appealing grades
  • Speak to the university or college: They may be flexible, especially if they only narrowly missed their offer.
  • Use Clearing to find a course: Last year, over 70,000 students used Clearing to find a course, and most universities and colleges have vacancies, which they can find using our search tool. This year, our new Clearing Plus service will match students to appropriate courses making it even easier to find the right option for them. Find out more about Clearing.
  • Consider an apprenticeship: Earn a salary while they study – and have their course fees paid by their employer and the government. Read more and find a vacancy on the Apprenticeship Hub.
  • Research alternatives to university: For other options, read our advice on internships, gap years, and studying overseas.

Understanding how students’ grades were awarded this year

To help students understand the way grades have been awarded this year, the qualifications regulators around the UK have produced information to support them. Here you can also find out more about the appeals process and details of how they can sit their exams, should they wish:

England: Ofqual’s Student guide to post-16 qualifications results: Summer 2020

Scotland: SQA’s results support resources

Wales: Qualifications Wales’ COVID-19 support pages

Northern Ireland: CCEA’s guidance on the summer 2020 examinations

Looking after their mental health and wellbeing

For students who didn’t get the grades they wanted, this can be a difficult time. They aren’t alone, and there’s support available to help them look after their mental health and wellbeing.

Student Minds is the UK’s student mental health charity – visit their website for resources and advice.

The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust has practical advice and tips to manage anxiety and stress to help during Clearing.

Young Minds has advice for young people who are dealing with disappointing exam results.


Centres are strongly advised to submit enquiries about results for all candidates for whom they have concerns at the earliest opportunity.

Universities and colleges will endeavour to be flexible in keeping places open. It’s important to keep the universities and colleges informed of any appeals.

Appeals in England

A student’s centre will be able to submit an appeal on their behalf if they believe they made an error when submitting information to the exam board, or an exam board made a mistake when calculating, assigning or communicating a grade. In addition, students who do not feel their grades reflect their performance will be able to take exams this autumn.

For full details about appeals and the autumn examination series, visit the Ofqual website.

Appeals in Wales

Qualifications Wales has confirmed the appeals process for the summer 2020 exams series. They conducted a consultation to formulate their approach, receiving over 4,000 comments from stakeholders, students, advisers, and parents.

Appeals in Scotland

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) has confirmed details of the appeals process for 2020. Read more details on the SQA website.

Appeals in Northern Ireland

CCEA has updated its information about the appeals process for 2020. This can be found on the CCEA website.