This is an updated version of the article I wrote for results day 2011; after the great feedback last year I hope that it can again be helpful to you all. So, here are my top 15 points for results day 2012.

Before the day

1. Make sure you go to results day with ID (you may need it to receive your results) and your UCAS Track login details – there are reasons why you may need them below.

2.  This year UCAS has removed the Track app for Apple devices (not a huge loss in my opinion – it just crashed constantly for me last year), and instead it is launching a new mobile site, so if you’re looking for something to refresh every minute you might want to bookmark this. There is also the UCAS CONNECT app, which is basically a database of FAQs and a few explanatory videos.

Also available from the App Store and Android Market is the Clearing 2012 app, run by the Telegraph, which from a quick look seems to have improved over last year’s edition and could be very useful; I certainly find it much easier to navigate than anything UCAS has ever produced and it has advantages over the newspaper in that it is updated live. Most aspects of it don’t go live until the 16th, but I reckon this could be a useful tool for anyone concerned about Clearing.

On the day

3. If you meet the conditions of any of your offers on or before August 31st, the university must accept you and you should receive a letter confirming this shortly. For most qualifications UCAS sends the results to your universities automatically, but you can check if they will send yours using this page.

4. If you missed your grades narrowly, your university may still have accepted you, so check Track for that (here’s where your login details might come in handy). If Track shows as unsuccessful or still as conditional, then ring up the university and plead your case, particularly if you only missed the grades by a few UMS marks or had mitigating circumstances. From my experiences last year this is wildly unpredictable – some people reported universities just hanging up straight away, while others were accepted after missing grades even for subjects such as medicine and dentistry – so it’s always worth a shot!

5. If you are close to the grade above, or feel that your grade definitely doesn’t reflect how you did (you never know, there may have been a clerical error), then you can get a remark, which might be paid for by your school or college. If you need the remark to meet an offer then you need to apply for a priority remark, since you still need to meet the August 31st deadline. These do cost more, so if you want a remark for other reasons just go for a standard one. This also frees up the system for the people who desperately need them.

6. Changed course offers come from the university you originally applied for and will be, as the name implies, for a different course than the one for which you originally held an offer. You can accept these through Track, although you are encouraged to ring up the university to discuss the course and whether it is right for you. If the changed course offer was made by your insurance choice, your firm needs to have first rejected you before you can accept it. If you receive a changed course offer from both your firm and insurance, you may accept either or enter into Clearing.

Adjustment

7. If you’ve done better than your firm offer (not your insurance choice), you have the option of applying to other courses through Adjustment, which you can enter through Track. You need to have paid the full £22 originally for this, or pay the extra £10, but it gives you five days (including weekends) after either August 16th or when your first choice accepts you, whichever is later, to secure a different place.

8. If you do go into Adjustment, there are a few things to consider. You have not exceeded your offer if your original offer specified a grade in a certain subject and this grade is lower, regardless of whether you exceeded the rest. You also cannot use Adjustment if your original offer was unconditional. You need to ring up the universities or colleges to ask about spaces, making it clear that you’re doing Adjustment rather than Clearing (more about this in a moment). For really competitive courses it is probably best to re-apply next year, although going through Adjustment does not lose you your original place.

Clearing

9. If you did not meet your conditions, don’t hold any offers or did not reply in time you will be automatically entered into Clearing (provided you’ve paid the full £22), and you should log into Track to get your Clearing number (see, those Track login details are coming in handy again). If you had any offers that you originally turned down, however, ringing up these universities could be your first port of call.

10. Clearing vacancies are posted between mid-August and late September, and you can register for the service until September 20th even if you haven’t applied through UCAS before. Lists of course vacancies will be posted on the UCAS website and in the Telegraph newspaper, starting from August 16th. You should try to be around during the Clearing period so that you can talk to universities and make decisions yourself.

11. You may be offered places informally when speaking to universities on the phone, which you then need to consider whether to accept or not. You will normally be given a date by which you need to enter their course details in Track, and once you do this you will be formally considered. Only enter the course details if you have been provisionally offered a place and you want to accept it, otherwise you could delay your Clearing process.

Numbers for universities should be on their website, but there is also a complete list here.

12. You can apply for a course different to the one you originally applied for, but they will automatically receive your original personal statement, so ring up the university and ask if they will accept a revised copy if you want to apply for a different course.

13. With both Clearing and Adjustment, try to visit the university before making your final decision. After all, you may be spending the next few years of your life there so you want to be happy with it.

Student Finance

14. Everyone should have applied for Student Finance by now and submitted any evidence that was needed. If you are going to be attending a different course to the one for which you applied for finance (i.e. your firm choice) then you should log into Student Finance as soon as you know where you are going to make sure your course details are correct. This will mean Student Finance can pay out the right amount, especially if the amount of either tuition fees or maintenance loan you need has changed.

Lastly

15. Now to think about other things. Firstly, some accommodation may need you to pay a deposit not long after results come out if they haven’t already (mine was September 1st, for instance, although I was allowed to extend this until my first Student Finance instalment). Also, it’s time to open a student bank account, a guide for which can be found here. Some banks accept an offer letter to open one, but others need to see a letter of confirmation.

Well, there you are: what I think is the most important information you’ll need for results day 2012. Now, go relax and avoid caffeine to ensure you sleep tonight – you’ll need the energy. If not for results day itself, then for the inevitable drinks of celebration or commiseration. Good luck for the day; I really hope you get what you wanted! Feel free to ask questions and I will do my best to answer.

Alaa Jasim has also covered results day in her weekly advice column, here.