You've missed out on the grades you needed. What happens next?

You've didn't get the exam grades you wanted. You've got in touch with your first and second choice universities and they have declined to offer you a place. At this stage, you might consider re-sitting some or all of your exams as an alternative to entering clearing.

Before you rule out clearing, have a long, hard think about re-sits. Could you cope with another year at school or college while all your friends are off at uni, starting work or travelling the world on gap years? Do you think you are capable of working harder and getting better grades second time round? If the answer is yes then, um, yes, then re-sits could be the way forward. Greg's story could help you decide...

Predicted results: AAB

Achieved results: AAB

Greg Purssord writes...

"On results day, I felt a a bit nervous, but at the same time I knew I had studied hard and there wasn't much else I could have done beforehand. My chemistry modules had been playing on my mind a little, because I knew I had to make up quite a few marks from AS to get the A I needed, despite the intense revision I did for it.

I had been predicted As in Biology and General Studies, an A/B in Chemistry and a B in Physics. I needed AAB for my uni place. I already knew I had an A in General Studies as I had sat all these modules in the January exam period. The plan was to head to Birmingham to study medicine. As this was my only offer from my four choices, I didn't have much to decide on - I just needed the grades!

I remember walking into the reception of my sixth form, signing for the envelope and then walking out again. When I opened my results I saw that I had got my A in Biology and B in Physics. The Chemistry grade was on the last page. It was a B, I had missed the A by five marks out of 600.

Hurt feelings

"To say I felt gutted doesn't quite cut it. I went straight back into my sixth form to phone the university to see if these five marks would matter, but I already knew they would. Being very competitive as medicine is, I knew that anything less than the offer would be rejected, and it was. They offered me chemistry instead, which I thought was a kick in the teeth considering the circumstances. However, because I only want to do medicine, I declined.

I had always wanted to travel and get some experience abroad, but because medicine is such a long course I didn't want to take time out from it unless I was forced to. I did phone round almost all of the medical schools in the UK to see if they had any places available, but I now realise I had more chance of winning the lottery. So I decided to re-sit one of my chemistry modules and re-apply. I didn't want to go back to sixth form full time so I got myself a job and started planning my trip abroad.

After re-sitting the chemistry module, I now have the required grade A. I also spent a good portion of the year working to raise money to go travelling and I have since travelled to Shanghai, China and completed three different hospital-based placements.

All I would say is that if things don't go to plan on the day, don't panic. If your heart is set on doing something, like mine was, then don't give up. Do what is necessary to put yourself in a stronger position to then re-apply. Remember a lot can happen in a year, and a year out of your life is nothing if it means you get where you want to be. Make sure you don't waste the extra time you've been given, you won't get many opportunities like it in the future.

Now I am studying medicine at university and working part-time in a hospital and all because I took a bit of time out to do re-sits and to get some medical work experience on my gap year. It's the best decision I could have made."