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Exams and University Applications 2020

A-Level Results :
Best of luck to those of you getting your results. The guide below is designed to help support you through any outcome. We look at university applications, clearing, adjustment and exam results. Take a look below, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us via email or the form below.

On the 18 March 2020 the UK government announced that examinations for A-Levels and GCSE’s would be cancelled for the summer 2020 and there would be alternative arrangements made to award students their qualifications to enable progression to continue.

Since then there has been a range of information provided and we have tried to break that information down to help support you with understanding how you will receive your grades and if you are looking at applying to university what you need to know. If there is information to still be decided we will update this when new information becomes available.

clearing 2020 – what’s it all about?

Clearing allows you to search courses at different institutions which still have places available starting this year . It is open to all students who have already made a UCAS application and it runs from 6th July to 20th October.  

It is a good way to look at courses and providers that you didn’t consider before to see if they have vacancies. They may then make you a verbal offer and a deadline for you to accept. You can get as many offers as you like, but you can only confirm one place at one provider.

You might consider applying via Clearing if you:

  • missed the UCAS application deadline (30th June) and you want to go to uni this year.
  • didn’t get the grades you need for your firm or insurance choices.
  • have changed your mind about the university or course you’ve chosen on your UCAS application.
  • you don’t have any offers from providers through UCAS.
  • your grades are better than you were expecting and want to see if you can get into another course / go to another university (UCAS Adjustment).

If you didn’t get the results you wanted, but they are still reasonable and you’re flexible about the course and location, there’s still a good chance you’ll get a place on another course.

For more information, visit What Uni Guide’s Clearing 2020 page and to search for courses, explore the UCAS Clearing portal.

If you’re one of the lucky ones with better results than you expected, Clearing Adjustment offers you the chance to apply for a more competitive course. Adjustment is available from Results day until 31st August. It is completely optional and a lot of courses will already be full, but there are opportunities to be had if other candidates missed their predicted grades or change their minds about their course.

Take a look at the UCAS Adjustment page for more details.

Clearing Plus is a new service that UCAS launched this year. It will personally match you to courses you may be interested in from the details on your application form. If you’re unplaced on Results day this option will appear under UCAS Track under My matches. There will be up to 50 courses listed. If you wish to view all available courses this is still an option.

The Student Room has produced a useful FAQ page on Clearing Plus.

UPDATE JUly 2020

From when we launched this page in March further information has been released regarding this years examinations and university applications. We have added this information below as well as updating the FAQs below. Should you have any questions please do get in touch with us.

We are getting the final information from Ofqual the exam regulator for all exams. Last week they released clarifications on certain points and these are outlined below.

  • Students will be awarded calculated grades in GCSEs, AS and A levels this summer, giving them the opportunity to move on to further study or employment, despite the cancellation of exams.
  • Students will be able to appeal – through their school or college – if they believe the process this summer was not followed correctly in their case; and centres themselves can appeal if they believe something systemic has gone wrong in relation to their results.
  • Any student unable to receive a calculated result, and others who would like to improve their grades, will have an opportunity to take the full suite of GCSE, AS and A level exams in the autumn.

Further information about this is available here.

If you are doing a course which does is more technical based or vocational there is a tool to search for these specific qualifications to find out what is happening with these exams.

View the tool here

  • UCAS are closely monitoring the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation to ensure they can do all they can to help. They have a dedicated Coronavirus (COVID-19) update pages on the UCAS website which will continue to provide students with the latest information and advice related to the 2020 and 2021 application cycles.
  • UCAS are hosting live Q&A panels every Thursday on Facebook. Everything from what you need to know about Clearing, preparing for results days, and what student life is really like.
  • Some questions from previous Q&A sessions are hosted on the coronavirus video wall.
  • There are lots of ways students can contact UCAS for help and advice, including through direct message on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Through Unibuddy students can chat to current undergrads about their experiences.

  • UCAS are closely monitoring the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation to ensure we do all we can to help. We have a dedicated Coronavirus (COVID-19) update pages on the UCAS website which will continue to provide customers with the latest information and advice related to the 2020 and 2021 application cycles.
  • Supporting you through Confirmation and Clearing – find all you need to know as a teacher or adviser for 2020, including information Clearing Plus.
  • Information about UCAS Hub including free lesson plans and resources. UCAS has also developed a series of homework packs to help teachers and advisers support those who are starting their research into university and college during this unprecedented time.
  • Teacher and adviser toolkits – these include resources, presentations and pre-written communications to help you support and guide your students through each stage of their application. The toolkits cover pre-application, application, Extra, International, Confirmation and Clearing, Care leavers and students with individual support needs.

  • UCAS are closely monitoring the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation to ensure they do all they can to help. They have a dedicated Coronavirus (COVID-19) update pages on the UCAS website which will continue to provide customers with the latest information and advice related to the 2020 and 2021 application cycles.
  • UCAS have lots of resource and information dedicated to helping parents and guardians support students
  • UCAS are aware parents have lots of questions about how coronavirus (COVID-19) has impacted the application process and university life. They held a Facebook live with a panel of experts on 30 April, which they can playback.
  • Parents/guardians can also sign up for the parent newsletter to get updates and all the information they need, along with timely explanations of the application process.


A video has been provided by the exam regulator Ofqual to help look at how exams are being graded this year.

Your results will be based on a collection of evidence available: exam results, tests, homework, coursework, mock exam results and general progress during the course.

This video is also available in British sign language here.

Results Day

A and AS level results will be published on Thursday 13 August and GCSE results on Thursday 20 August. These are the same dates as were originally planned.


Your results will be based on a collection of evidence available: exam results, tests, homework, coursework, mock exam results and general progress during the course.

Ofqual, the exam regulator has said that the results must be “fair, objective and carefully considered judgements of the grades schools and colleges believe their students would have been most likely to achieve if they had sat their exams”. To make the judgements on your grades as fair as possible, teachers will be asked to put students in order of expected achievement within each predicted grade band. This will moderate the overall share of grades in schools across the country and adjust the grades suggested by teachers if they seem too generous or harsh.

Ofqual, the exam regulator has stated that schools are not allowed to tell students the grades submitted to exam boards or how they are ranked.

You will have an opportunity to resit your exams in the autumn. Ofqual have now confirmed a full series of exams will be available for students to take the exams if they are unhappy with the grades give.

You will have the option of resitting exams, however the process and date for this is still yet to be decided by Ofqual, the exam regulator. Universities have not confirmed yet whether they will allow students to start university courses late.

Absolutely, this is a great chance to focus on revision. Try to make a revision schedule and allocate at least an hour on each subject every day.

There is a range of further information available. The government has released an FAQ document which they are updating regularly and this is available here.

University Applications 2020

Applications for universities are continuing as normal and you can still apply for a university place starting in September. UCAS have amended some of the dates you need to send your response to any offers you receive. Universities are working hard to support students as best they can. If you have specific questions regarding your university application we would recommend contacting the universities you have applied to directly.

UCAS have created a detailed series of information with regards to COVID-19. This can be accessed here.

KEY Dates

There are a number of key dates you should be aware of with regards to applying to university this year.

Virtual Open Days

A number of universities have developed Online Open Days to enable students to look around before they make their decisions. Do look to see if the universities you have applied to have put these together.

Open Days are a great way to connect with the universities you have applied to and ask any questions you may have.

Here is a video which looks at how best to prepare for a virtual Open Day.

Student Finance

If you are looking at attending University from September or are a continuing student you will need to apply to Student Finance if you are planning on receiving a loan from them. Applications for this are open now. Apply as soon as possible to ensure there are no delays to payments.

To help support you through your Student Finance Application this video outlines the key steps.

There is also an information bank available with the key steps.

University Applications FAQS

With the exception to some decision deadlines being extended your university application will continue through the admissions process in the same was as was planned. Universities will use the examination grades awarded in the summer for the application.

Yes. If you are currently holding an unconditional offer this will still be valid from the university you received the offer. If you have a conditional offer you will still need achieve the grades set out in the conditions of the offer.

Yes. There will still be a number of courses available through Clearing and Adjustment as there have been in the past. UCAS are working on a new service for this year to help you through this process should you need it this will be called Clearing Plus.

Some universities may have to continue to deliver content virtually from September. It is expected this content will match the standard of content that would have previously been delivered. It has recently been announced that the full tuition fee will still be applied for these courses.

We would advise applying for accommodation at your chose firm offer university. Each university will have different dates for this so check with the university. If you are planning on applying for a Student Finance loan it is recommended you apply as soon as possible to avoid any delays with payments.

There has been a number of live sessions hosted by UCAS. The responses to questions asked during these are available to view here.

There is lots of information available online to help support prospective students. Most universities have added information pages to help support students applying to their institution. Have a look at the universities you have applied to in the first instance. You can also contact the universities directly if you need support, you would normally need to contact the admissions team.

There is also a detailed COVID-19 FAQ page been created by UCAS and this is available here.

If you have questions above that you can not find the answer to above HEON are happy to try and help. Please contact or use the form below and we will do all we can to support you.

We wish you the best of luck with your university application.


The Outreach Hub is here to answer any question you might have regarding Higher Education. We will work hard to answer question you might have and signpost you to the most useful information. You can either use the form below or the details on our contact page.