Results Week and Clearing 2022


Understand the key events from Results Week and the impact they are having on students.(View comparative 2020 and 2021 insights).


SQA Results Day

(Tuesday 9th August)

Near-record numbers of Scottish applicants placed in firm choice

On the morning of SQA Results Day, UCAS reported 60% of Scottish students (30,490) had already gained a place at their firm choice university (higher than 2019 levels at 57.5%, and UCAS predicted the 2022 figure would increase further). Only 2021 had higher numbers of students being placed.

More females than males are going on to HE, but the gender gap is closing:

50% more females

47% more females

39% more females

Participation from disadvantaged areas was also above pre-pandemic levels.

Scottish students came onsite to congratulate each other, share their results and seek advice (e.g. grade boundaries, what to do if they haven't been accepted yet and what their university options are having received their grades). Discussion threads like this show how pressure from parents can hit students hard in Results Week.

The weekend before A-level, BTEC and T-Level Results Day

(Published Tue 16 August; Data: Fri 12th - Sun 14th August)

(At the time data was collected: 166 poll responses)

Students not confident they will secure their firm choice university

Ofqual, has said: "As we return to summer exams, in 2022 exam boards will set the grade boundaries based on a profile that reflects a midpoint between 2021 and pre-pandemic grading." Ofqual and UCAS have released a joint letter to students aiming to increase students' confidence about getting a university place.

In June, 48% of students we polled thought they had missed the grades for their university offer. This was taken in the middle of exams, so we wondered whether the answers were related to their feelings about how specific exams were going. We asked the same question again over the weekend, and concerningly, over 50% now think they’ve missed their grades for their firm choice university (though the percentage of those who feel they have exceeded their grades has increased by 4% to 18%):

"I feel sick"

"I'm getting so impatient now, these next few days are gonna go soooo slowly"

Expert insight, key events and onsite engagement

UCAS: There has been record demand for higher education (44% of 18-22 year olds). Clare Marchant (Head of UCAS) was positive that the majority of students would get placed at their firm choice and praised "conservative and responsible" offer-making by universities so far. UCAS found 40% of students intend on using Clearing (which reflects what we are finding on The Student Room). Based on what we are seeing in Scotland since SQA Results Day, UCAS predict a "very active" Clearing. Although disadvantaged students are being well-supported this year (offer rate falling less than for more advantaged students), the cost of living crisis is an immediate concern for students.

WonkHE: (Read full SQA summary here) Growth in grades for those taking Higher or Advanced Higher qualifications in Scotland, compared with 2019:

  • Grade A: +7.6% (women) and +5.6% (men)
  • Grades A-C: +4.2%

Activity on The Student Room: Over the weekend, our top search terms were "ucat", "results day", "a level results" and "clearing". We saw year-on-year growth in article pageviews for General Results (+109%) and our A-level Hub (+17%).  Guide to A-level Results Day 2022, was the most viewed article on our site, followed by six other articles about exam results, Clearing and A-levels. Our top thread by pageviews was this A level/AS 2022 Results Day Countdown - a poll on this thread revealed that 24% of students are feeling nervous and 19% are feeling scared.

(At the time data was collected: 149 poll responses)

Media articles (e.g. The Times, Telegraph, Independent, Guardian) are unsettling students - especially as these are the first exams in three years:

"I am so worried also. Just read an article (Guardian) that stated "up to 60,000 students applying to university could be at risk of losing their preferred place."

How students are feeling and what they plan to do next

For students who miss their grades, Clearing is their top choice. Last week, 42% of students told us they expected to use Clearing this year, and the top reason was that they thought they would miss their offer.

There was also lots of chatter onsite about students being upset with Cambridge International results - which is making A-level students more nervous about their own grades.

Overall, our student sentiment score (which tracks how students are feeling based on post content) was up 12% year-on-year - 4.7 compared with 4.2 for the pre-results weekend in 2021. The top factor impacting students' mental health this summer is social worries, followed by uncertainty about career prospects. Universities should consider the impact of lockdowns on applicants' ability to make friends and overcome loneliness. For students placed through Clearing, even more support may be needed to foster a sense of belonging, since they might not have seen the campus, expected to study their course, or had time to prepare emotionally for being part of that university.

The day before/morning of A-level, BTEC and T-Level Results Day

(Published Thur 18th August; Data: Weds 17th - Thur 18th August)

Results Day - how students are feeling

The day before Results Day the student sentiment score on site rose again to 5.8 (4.9 over the weekend), showing a move towards slightly more positive conversations as Results Day approached. Most conversations about results this week have been in our busy Results countdown thread, but we also saw activity in other areas of the site, including a popular more light-hearted thread of Where to get free food on A-level (and others) results day. Students have already been celebrating and sharing their results this morning on threads like this ‘I got into university!’ celebration thread.

Initial conversations this morning see a mix of celebration and anxiety:

"I'm so happy i got into my first choice and I've wanted to go there since y11!!! so happy, I cant stop smiling"

"I got into my firm!! I can't believe that I've actually done it!!"

"I didn’t get into my first choice. I never get lower than an A in mocks for AQA biology and apparently I got a B. I got a B in everything. I was predicted A*A*A so ****ed. Gonna appeal"

"I got the grades I wanted! However my UCAS has only updated my insurance, not my firm, when should I start to worry?"

Site activity and Clearing in the lead up to results

20,360 students found out today they don’t have a place on a course (down from 24,260 in 2019). A broader range of Clearing-related conversations are popping up onsite e.g. what happened to my grades, application is under review and  Medicine UCAS Clearing for 2022

The most popular article yesterday (17th August) in page views was "University phone numbers and contact details for Ucas Clearing 2022" and the three most popular forums (based on posts and pageviews) were: A-levels, Medicine, Applications, Clearing and UCAS.

When we asked our community in a recent on site poll “How did The Student Room help you with your uni application”, the top response was talking to peers going through the same thing (34%) followed by talking to current university students (18%). The next few days this will be ever more pivotal and our staff, Clearing and Applications Advisors and University Official Reps are doing a great job at talking through the options available to students and giving them the 121 reassurance and praise they need on-site on this important day.

Results Day Grades

(Published Thursday 18th August)

A-Level outcomes on Results Day

Two-thirds of students who applied to UK higher education have gained a place at their firm or insurance choice (425,830). The second highest number on record and a 19% increase compared to 2019 when the last examinations were held.

Comparing to 2019 (rather than 2021 when there was a different method of assessment):
A* increased from 7.7% to 14.6%

A*-A increased from 25.4% to 36.4%
A*-E increased from 97.6% to 98.4%

Females outcomes are higher than males at all grades in 2022

14.8% A*          37.4% A*-A          98.7 A*-E
14.4% A*          35.2% A*-A          98.1% A*-E

This year has also seen the first award of the first three T-Levels. The overall pass rate for these learners is 92.2%

Results Day

(Published Fri 19th August; Data: Thur 18th August)

307,187 words were written across multiple forums and threads as students explored their options and spoke to peers and advisers about their results with our key Applications, Clearing and Ucas forum receiving 1060 posts (up 43% from 2021).

Results Day - how students are feeling

Community activity was mainly positive for Results Day with a lot of students getting their firm choice and celebrating. Our team have, however, seen some errors with papers and vocational grade submissions which we are working to support students with resolving.

On Thursday the student sentiment score showed a positive rise to 6.7 (up from 5.8 on Wednesday) showing increased confidence as grades were finally received and our education forums were booming with more than 773,00 pageviews throughout the day (a rise of 17% compared to Results Day 2021). 

The most recent conversations in the Applications, Clearing and UCAS forum on the morning of the 19th are showing how much support students are still needing. For those who didn’t receive the results they were hoping for yesterday, this is an important and challenging time for them to readjust their expectations and learn about the alternate options available to them. This was also seen in traffic to our Apprenticeships and alternative to university forum yesterday, which had a rise of 26% on pageviews yoy, as many students explored other potential pathways. This has been an ongoing trend over the summer, with the cost of living crisis prompting exploration into alternative pathways in addition to Results Day outcomes.

Popular content

The top thread throughout the day on The Student Room was Medicine UCAS Clearing for 2022 entry, aligning with Google search demand seen around the topic of medicine clearing. This was followed by the threads A level 2022 Results Countdown, Free food on results day and Post Your A-Level Results Here!

We also saw high engagement on The Uni Guide with pageviews up 44% YoY, resulting in a 65% increase in university lead generation buttons clicked compared to Results Day 2021. 

Supporting students

According to our poll, 40% of students on The Student Room received results better than they expected, while around the same amount (36%) received lower results than they had anticipated. A further 25% received the results they had hoped for. 

The TSR team, Clearing and Applications Advisors and University Official Reps have and continue to work tirelessly to support students with their queries and uncertainties as well as cheer on the successes and give much needed encouragement. 

Just received A Level Physics (AQA) and sadly 1 mark off for the grade needed for my firm. Spoke to the university and they won't consider it unless the grade goes up. So I sent it for priority remarking. How soon would I get it back and what are the chances of getting that one extra mark?

My college has messed up what course they submitted my grades for, I did a one-year 90-Credit BTEC Level 3 diploma in public services which if you review the Pearson grading scheme, should end in a double grade. However, they submitted my grades for the Level 3 EXTENDED public services diploma, year one. I don't know what to do, not only do I have to get the college to see they have confused up my course in the UCAS process and final grades submitting, but even after that Pearson will have to re-review the grades and give me a double grade. I don't know what to do, all within two weeks. I'm pretty sure university is not happening for me anymore.  

We did see a number of instances with students missing their grades, but being accepted into their universities anyway: I received an email from UCAS congratulating me on getting in to my chosen course, and when I checked my track it said congratulations your place is confirmed...But when I checked my results I haven't got the grades. I received EEE, but I needed BBC. Is this a mistake? I'm so confused. Also my results were emailed, as I'm on holiday I don't understand what is happening.    

We saw a few instances of students being kept waiting for their offer to be confirmed by the university despite achieving their grades Hi I got in ! But I’m still a bit wary because I got two emails from ucas saying I got in and then another one saying my college is still deciding. But ucas still says my place is confirmed on ucas.

Search trends and activity on Results Day

Demand for keywords: Searches around A-level keywords and topics kicked off from as early as 6am on Thursday and peaked at 8am with initial terms including ‘how do I get my a level results’, ‘a level resits 2022’ and ‘how to check a level results online’. Clearing searches started to pick up in the evening of the 17th August and then peaked around 9am on Results Day. As seen in most previous years, medicine was by far the most popular search term related to clearing courses. 

Search terms and socials: #AlevelResultsDay2022 was the stand-out Twitter trend throughout the day with other popular hashtags and topics including #ExamResults2022, #GoodLuck, University, UCAS and of course, Jeremy Clarkson.

Across 1,200 keywords that we track related to clearing and A-level results we saw an average Google ranking position of 4.88 for The Student Room website in the lead up to results day. Our nearest competitors averaged 4.99 and 6.05 for those same terms.

Trending terms on Results Day itself saw a lot of searches in Google for advice around A-level remarks, what is a pass at A-level, how to appeal results, how to understand A-level results, A-level grade boundaries and average A-level grades. Clearing searches on Results Day continued to be heavily weighted towards specific university searches, but we did see students looking for ways to calculate UCAS points, how to add clearing choices on UCAS, how to accept a clearing offer, UCAS helpline, can you add more than one clearing choice on UCAS, how long does clearing take as well as searches for university rankings and student finance.

Some trending searches around BTEC over the day, included: what does pa mean in BTEC results, what does d1 mean in BTEC results and what is BTEC equivalent to. Some of the biggest apprenticeship topics over the day were degree apprenticeships, gov apprenticeships, engineering apprenticeships, NHS apprenticeships and business, law and nursing apprenticeships.

A-Level Google Search Trends

Clearing Google Search Trends

GCSE Results Day

(Published Friday 26th August)

For student reactions view our Post your GCSE Results here! thread

"Don't want to look like I'm bragging but I got 10 grade 9s! (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths, Spanish, Graphics, Computer Science, Latin, English Lang and English Lit). Thanks to everyone on here for the help during the exam season!"

"I'm so so upset with my GCSE results. With the sciences, I was so sure I was going to get minimum 8s and I got a 7 and two 6s. I counted my marks up, compared them with the mark schemes our teachers made and then checked them with the 2019 grade boundaries as well and still I got so low."

"I am so happy with my results, I got exactly what my teachers predicted me! Hope everyone is happy with theirs."

GCSE Results Day - Results analysis (Source: JCQ)

In 2021, the proportion of GCSE entries awarded top grades rose to an all-time high after exams were cancelled for the second year in a row. The GCSE results grading profile has returned to a midpoint between 2019 and 2021 this year (same as A-level). Though like A-level, we have seen overall results fall on the slightly more generous side of the midpoint. The comparison below shows grades for 2022 versus 2019 (when exams were last sat):
7/A increased by 5.5 percentage points (pp)
4/C increased by 5.9pp
1/G increased by 0.1pp

Subjects growing in popularity: There has been an increase in entries in some subjects, including Business Studies (+4.6%), Geography (+2.7%) and Biology (+1.3%). Science continues to grow, with Biology (+1.3), Physics (+1.0%), Chemistry (0.6%) and Double Award Science (0.9%) all seeing increases in entry. 

Gender patterns: Overall outcomes for female entries continue to be higher at all key grades, than for male entries.
• 30% of female entries achieved 7/A, compared with 22.6% of male entries
• 76.7% of female entries achieved 4/C, compared with 69.8% of male entries
• 98.8% of female entries achieved 1/G compared with 98.0% of male entries
There are variations within subjects: Mathematics and Physics are examples of subjects where outcomes for male entries are higher at 7/A compared to outcomes for female entries. 

The Guardian has also reported that there is a widening of the regional attainment gap this year. In London, 32.6% were marked at grades 7/A and above but in north-east England and in Yorkshire and the Humber, just 22.4% got top grades.

Around 7000 BTec Firsts, Technicals and Tech Award students were set not to receive their results on 25th August, due to delays at Pearson. This adds to the issues already experienced for many BTEC level three students last week (which Pearson has since apologised for).

Search trends on GCSE Results Day

Demand for keywords: GCSE search demand began picking up from 6am on the day, peaking at 9:30am and then again at 10:15am.

Search terms and socials: GCSE was a trending topic on Twitter throughout the day with 39k tweets, followed by Year 11 and Sixth Form. The biggest search terms earlier on the day focused on GCSE quotes and good luck messages, alongside the expected ‘when are results released?’ related queries, explanations around grading and grade boundaries – all of which were reflected in our own trending content on The Student Room. Later in the day, GCSE/BTEC-related terms developed into queries around the much publicised free food promotions that many chains offered.

Top content on The Student Room: The most popular content on site during the day was generated by users trying to understand their results - What does the M mean in the column End1, Confusing Combined Science grade, Is a 33 in science gcse result a pass, 'P' on my results sheet, alongside articles on How GCSE combined science grades work: a quick guide, and the GCSE forum. We also saw renewed interest in the Where to get free food on A-level (& Btec, GCSE) results day 2022 thread which was also very successful on A-level results day last week. Over on The Uni Guide, our most popular articles were How important are my GCSE grades, GCSE results day 2022: what to expect and What are BTECs? with the A-level Explorer also proving popular.

We have seen lots of questions about how to interpret different grade results on results slips, specific subject questions about subjects like combined sciences. This shows the diversity of students from different achievement levels and experiences coming to the site for the support they need. 

"I just got back my GCSE grades and I got 9/8s in all places except 1, my foreign language, where I got a 5. I was planning on applying to top Uni's and was wondering if this would be a deal breaker for them in accepting me?"

"Okay so, I’m normally getting average grades for everything . I got much better grades than my predictions, and I’m able to take science thankfully as I got the grade for it, but I got a 3 in ENGLISH LITERATURE. this was due to my time management. I saw it and I freaked out. ....... Im in pure shock though. I ALWAYS PASS , I got a 6 in my last English lit mock. so surprised . Never thought I would fail one subject. but I haven’t returned home yet, I’m just so ashamed and disappointed. Help please."

Update on Results Week

(Published Friday 26th August)

Update on A levels

According to Ucas daily clearing analysis, 66,480 18-year-olds are still free to be placed in Clearing. That’s 17% of total 18-year-old applicants in 2022 (compared to 15% of total 18-year-old applicants in 2021 at this time).

18 year olds free to be placed in Clearing - one week on from Results Day

381,750 total applicants in 2022 (4.27% more than 2021)

5 days after

66,370 (17.4% of 2022 applicants) vs 54,400 (14.9% of 2021 applicants)

6 days after

65,560 (17.2% of 2022 applicants) vs 55,170 (15.1% of 2021 applicants)

7 days after

66,480 (17.4% of 2022 applicants) vs 55,180 (15.1% of 2021 applicants)

How are students feeling?

Our poll which launched on Results Day, asked students how they were feeling about their results. Out of those members of The Student Room who have voted to date,  41% of students received better results than they were expecting, 33% received lower results than they hoped for, and 26% received exactly what they thought they’d get. A split of how this looked from responses we could attribute regionally is shown. 

Conversations over the past week have followed a similar trend to 2021. Posts happening now are often coming from students who may have ongoing challenging situation, changed their minds, or have practical questions about getting started for university. The word cloud shows some of the most popular terms used in the past seven days on site.

"I am taking Business and unfortunately missed the grades for my firm choice. Although, I have been given an offer by my current insurance and another through clearing calls. I am not sure which one is better since the league tables show they are pretty similar. Anybody have any opinions on which uni is better overall for business as well as student life and accommodation?”

"If I cancel my offer acceptance under the 14 days, but had paid the deposit, is it not clear that it means I am not intending to enrol at all and want the deposit back? Can someone cancel offer acceptance but is actually referring to a deferral?"

“My A level results were much higher than I thought they would be – I got A* A A. Also, my school is recommending a remark in one as I was one mark below an A* so might end up with a higher grade for that. I have a confirmed place in 2023 and had always planned to take a gap year. I am now wondering whether I should reapply to other universities I had not even considered before, as my school had said they were out of my reach…… I don’t want to limit my options and ‘settle’ for what I had already planned, as I now have more confidence in what I can achieve.”

A-Level subjects on site analysis

On The Student Room forums, Medicine continues to be our most popular subject from the past 30 days, with the Medicine UCAS Clearing for 2022 entry receiving 890 posts on Results Day. 

We also saw some growth in page views across a number of subject forums in the last week against comparative dates in 2021 (18-24 Aug 2022 vs 10-16 Aug 2021) including:

Medicine +5%

Architecture, building and planning +11%

Dentistry +15%

Veterinary medicine +25%

Finance, investment banking and accountancy +32%

Preparing for university

As many 18 year olds prepare to start university soon, we asked them what help they need as they need to prepare for uni. Life skills and advice on managing money is what students most need support with to prepare for university, according to our poll this week.  

This mirrors what students said when we asked the same question in 2021, showing that regardless of the circumstances of how they get their results (ie. no exams, or exams), their basic needs for support around this transition is consistent. 

As thoughts turn to starting university, our top viewed article on The Student Room in the past seven days has been our 'What to take to university checklist'

Top five answers when asked 'What support do you need to prepare for uni?'

Life skills (cooking, cleaning, doing laundry etc)
Advice on managing my money (bank accounts,bills)
Support on getting prepared for classes
Advice on Freshers'
What I need to bring with me to uni

Don't forget to also catch up on our Results Week blog

Key takeaways from Results Week 2022

Insights so far:
A higher proportion of SQA students were accepted by their firm choice this year
At the start of A-level Results Week, over 50% of students thought they would miss the grades they need for their firm choice
Gloomy media stories predicting that students will not be placed are unhelpful and worrying applicants
40% of students expect to use Clearing this year (Source: UCAS and The Student Room)
Clearing students need extra support to overcome social worries (making friends, loneliness)

425,830 18 year olds have gained a place at their firm or insurance choice - an increase of 19% compared to 2019 (the last year examinations were held).

20,360 students found out they don’t have a place on a course (down from 24,260 in 2019)

Females outperformed males at top grades (GCSE and A-level)

Speak to our team about these insights, Clearing, or student recruitment

Get in touch