A-levels: Tips for results day, whatever the outcome

A girl and her mum look sad about her results Image copyright Getty Images

The best bits of summer: BBQs, parties, festivals. The worst bits: collecting exam results.

Hundreds of thousands of students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are getting their A-levels back today.

Some people will get the results they want, some people won't - but everyone will be working out what to do next.

So we've gathered tips from people who survived their own results day.

From taking a gap year, to calling up clearing on the bus - they're living proof that there's not just one way of doing things.

Image caption Matthew ended up taking a year out to work

'You don't have to go to university right now'

Getting the results you want means your future is set, right?

Well - not for Matthew Cartwright. He's 20 and from North Wales.

"Although I got my grades, I still didn't go to university because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do.

"I took a year out and decided to work instead."

That year made up his mind - and he decided to give it a go after all.

His eventual journey to Northumbria university started on the bus.

"I was staying away at a friends in Llanddulas and I decided that I needed to get this sorted.

"On my way home I got on the bus and rang Northumbria university, and by the time I got off at Llandudno I'd been offered a place."

Matthew says he's happy he took some time away to think about his options.

"Don't get caught up thinking you're on some train track in life and you can't divert off and do something else.

"You don't have to go to university right now.

"There are different ways of doing things and sometimes you just need a bit of time.

"It will all turn out alright in the end."

Image caption "I honestly didn't think I'd go through clearing"

'You can smash it'

Tahmid Ali, who's 20 and from Kent, didn't get the grades he needed to get into where he wanted.

He was aiming high - for Oxford or Cambridge.

"I was really sad because all my friends were off to Oxbridge. At the time I was thinking should I re-sit, should I take a gap year, what should I do?"

Although his results were tough to swallow he has no regrets over what he did next.

"At that time it felt like the end of the world, but I went through clearing and after 20-plus calls I found Hull uni, and honestly it's been the best choice ever."

Tahmid is working at a summer internship with L'Oréal in finance, which he says wouldn't have happened if he wasn't at Hull.

"A lot of students open results, don't get what they want and think that's it - it's the end.

"If you haven't got your first choice or second choice it's not the end. You can still smash it and go to a really good university that's right for you.

"I wouldn't be where I am now if I hadn't gone through clearing."

Image caption "I had to keep reminding myself that it's not the end of the world"

'Everything happens for a reason'

When Amber Kalejaiye, who's 20, didn't get the results she was after last year, she wasn't surprised.

"I had a gut feeling that I wasn't going to get what I needed.

"I was really anxious. I was up at 05:30 in the morning because I just couldn't sleep."

She missed out on a place at the University of Manchester.

"As soon as I realised I just called up the University of Sussex. I got through within about 10 minutes.

"They gave me the option to do a foundation year in arts and humanities and it was all sorted in a couple of minutes.

"I just honestly feel like everything happens for a reason. I didn't need to stress out about it as much as I did - it ended up all working out for the best."

Research and remaining calm are Amber's words of wisdom.

"Have a quick look at the UCAS website - it tells you if there are places on offer and what grades different universities are willing to accept.

"Just don't panic, take your time and keep trying. If you can't get through straight away it's absolutely not a problem, it's going to be a very busy morning."

Students studying for their Scottish Highers received their results on 6 August.

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