Education & Family

Results scramble: Your stories

While thousands of students are celebrating a record-breaking year of A-level passes, many others have begun the stressful process of hunting for a university place.

Meanwhile, Ucas - the authority in charge of the clearing process - was forced to temporarily take down the website on which students can track their university offers, after it was unable to handle the volume of people trying to log on.

Ucas has apologised. By mid-afternoon on Thursday it said the service was "fully restored after a period of intermittent disruption for some users".

Here frustrated students and parents explain how they spent the day trying to get results, or scrambling for a clearing place.

Josh Sanderson, Lichfield

Image caption Josh Sanderson has had a rather stressful morning

I waited more than five hours for the Ucas Track website to work so that I could log in to the application page, but it was no use.

The whole point of the site was to let me see whether my university choices had accepted me.

I was referred to @ucas_online on Twitter where they said ''our specialist advisers can assist with queries such as results, offers and clearing.''

Unfortunately the advisers were so inundated with referees from the track system that it was a lottery as to whether your question was answered.

And to top the entire process off, the premium-rate helpline you could call was constantly engaged.

It was only after sitting in a queue for the best part of an hour I finally got through.

I got the grades I needed - A*, ABD (the D was Economics) and I've been accepted by my first choice university so will be going to study quantum mechanics at Sussex University.

But it has been an unbelievably stressful morning.

This event happens once a year. I have no figures to hand but a vast majority of applicants use Ucas to handle their process from school to university.

Despite claims of a four-fold increase in traffic, surely it is logical, just for one day of the year, to dedicate a server that can handle all applicants logging in at once.

After all, Ucas had a (ruthlessly strict) deadline of January 2011 to assess how many students would be using their services.

From the point of view of the service from Ucas, it has been a very frustrating, very disappointing and potentially crucial few hours.

I just hope lessons are learned.

Sam Barr, Manchester

Image caption Sam and Tom Barr have been trying to log on all day

The system is absolutely crazy. My son Tom knows his results, but is now stuck in limbo because Ucas won't confirm the results.

Tom didn't get enough points to get into his first choice university Nottingham Trent - or at least we assume so.

The problem is because of the issues that Ucas is having with its Track website and hotlines, Tom's results aren't finalised.

His firm offer - Nottingham Trent - can't confirm that his application has been declined which means his insurance offer - Liverpool Hope - can't accept him.

And then if Liverpool Hope decides his grades - which fall just under their requirements - aren't acceptable, he will have to try to get into clearing.

But he can't get into clearing until the above is sorted. We don't know what to do and we're now going around in circles.

It's a complete nightmare.

I don't understand why this sort of problem wasn't flagged up as a potential issue before the Track site went live. Now it isn't working and I'm worried Tom will not get any place at all.

He's on the phone constantly trying to speak to just anyone.

Tom had a phone call from Nottingham Trent later on Thursday, confirming a place on his first choice of course.

Kazim Pardhan, Birmingham

Image caption Kazim Pardhan spent hours trying to contact Ucas to find out his results

I was up for hours waiting for my results.

I was trying to get B and C grades for my Media, ICT and Business Studies A-levels so that I could confirm my place at De Montfort University in Leicester.

But it's been extremely frustrating because the Ucas tracking website where you can find out your results has not been working.

We were told it would be live from 0800 this morning, but every time I tried to log on there was an error message.

I spent 20 minutes trying to figure out what I had done wrong but eventually went to the Ucas Facebook site where I found so many others in the same boat.

I've spent the whole day sitting by my computer just trying again and again.

The college said they were going to make our results available online as well - but the only problem is that all of our passes had expired so we couldn't even see them there.

I have just checked the Track site and am relieved to see it's now working and I've got my place at De Montfort University.

I still don't know my grades, I'll find them out tomorrow in the post, but at least I have my university place.

Alice Brien, Huntingdon

Image caption Alice has had a chaotic day.

I have just got my results and didn't get the grades required.

I have had major problems logging on to the Ucas Track site.

I've been trying to phone university phone numbers, but they are constantly engaged.

It has just been chaos.

I got ABC grades, but needed at least ABB.

My first choice was to go to Sheffield to do English Literature, but they wanted three A grades, so I know I'm too far off there to have got in.

I've finally just managed to get through to my second choice university, Nottingham, and have heard I haven't got in.

I needed ABB and wanted to do English Studies with them.

I've been trying to go through clearing, but it's so much more difficult due to the website problems.

I've now applied to Liverpool and I'm waiting for an email to find out whether I've been accepted.

More comments

I am a mature student and this is my second year of trying to get into university. I've been trying to log onto Ucas since 0830 to find out if my place has been secured but the site has been down on every occasion that I've tried. It is frustrating as can't move forward with clearing or anything as Ucas can't supply me with the decision of the university that I've applied to. Michelle Clooney, Hertford

We are on a big family holiday to Florida, and had we not been able to ring the university which had offered our daughter a place, we would still be waiting to find out if she had been accepted. We have been up since 0100 due to the time difference and only got a confirmation on Ucas Track on a limited service six hours after the website was supposed to have opened. Surely Ucas should realise the extra demand (especially this year as tuition fees are being increased next year) and should have systems in place to deal with this demand. Steven Barnes, Florida

I went to pick up my A-level results today only to find one was missing. After talking to tutors and having unsuccessfully tried getting on to Ucas, I was told that the exam board had put my result in as blank. This means I have lost my university place and am now in the clearing process. I've now spent three hours trying to figure out what has happened but I'm not very impressed at all. They have ruined my chance of going to university and have not even bothered to try to fix it. I was told my Ucas profile will be updated in two weeks but nothing about the university place that I have lost. Sabrina Sharif, Nottingham