What to Do If Your Predicted Grades Don't Meet University Entry Requirements

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Entering university is an exciting journey, but what happens when your predicted grades don't meet the university entry requirements? 

Fear not! Last year, 767,000 people were accepted through UCAS, and you could be one of them this academic year with our tips.

In this article, we’ll be discussing how predicted grades work, and what you can do if yours aren’t quite up to scratch!

What are predicted grades?

Predicted grades are an integral part of your university application process. These grades are typically based on your performance in mock exams and coursework and are submitted by your teachers to universities. 

They provide institutions with a pretty strong general idea of your academic capabilities. This helps them decide if they want to give you an offer to your desired course or not.

Because predicted grades can play a major role in determining your academic future, it can feel like a roadblock if they fall short, but there are strategies to overcome this hurdle.

When do you get your predicted grades?

Predicted grades are provided to you by your college or sixth form typically before the end of year 12. They can then be used in time for your university application. 

How are predicted grades calculated?

Predicted grades are established by your teachers, and are based on a variety of different factors, including mock exam results, coursework and general attitude to learning.

What if my predicted grades are lower than entry requirements?

We know it can be disheartening, but this isn’t the end of the road!

Here are a few things you can do to secure a place at uni.

Apply through clearing

UCAS clearing is a lifeline for students who haven't secured a place through their initial university choices. It's a process that matches students with available course vacancies at universities across the UK. Clearing typically opens in July and continues into September.

If your final grades meet the requirements, and your desired course is available for clearing, you can apply on results day to secure your place.

Improve your predicted grades

Predicted grades are typically calculated prior to the start of Year 13 and of course, before your university application.

Talk to your teachers and let them know that you aren’t happy with your predicted grades. They can give you tips on how to improve them. You could study harder and retake your mock exams to prove you can get a higher grade. 

This must be done before your UCAS application, as it is not possible to change predicted grades after submission.

Seek contextual offers

Universities often lower grade boundaries for students who have personal circumstances which can prevent them from reaching the original grades.

Although they can vary across universities, typically, grade boundaries are lowered for:

  • Those from low-income backgrounds
  • Students from colleges with low progression rates
  • Students who are the first in their family to go to uni
  • Student with disrupted learning (change in parental status, family death etc)
  • Students in care

Pursue an Access to HE course

A-Levels, T Levels and BTECs aren’t the final step towards higher education. If you haven’t achieved the grades to secure your place at your dream course, you can do an access course once you reach the age of 19. 

Rethink your course choice

Your predicted grades might be a sign that your course choice is not the right choice for you. 

It could be a sign that you need to explore other options and find a course that suits your capabilities. Of course, if you are not happy with the idea of changing your course choice, you can explore the options above!

By understanding predicted grades, exploring contextual offers, and leveraging UCAS clearing, you can still secure a place at a university that aligns with your aspirations. 

Remember that your determination and commitment play a significant role in achieving your academic goals.

Discover alternative pathways to university – learn more about our Access to Higher Education courses.