If you are currently planning to go to university in the UK this September, exam results day carries significantly more meaning than if you plan, for example, to go to the US (where students will have already been accepted irrespective of results, or India, where it is the university entry exams that matter).
In this guide we look what UK university hopefuls need to know, and what you can do if things do not go exactly to plan...
The IB results are published on July 5 and made available to all students on Monday, July 6 at 12 pm GMT; your school can decide to issue them to you on paper first on July 5. From July 6, you can access your results online by logging in here; you’ll need your personal code and PIN to log in, which your IB Coordinator will have provided to you earlier in the year.
In most countries, your chosen university will be notified of your results automatically. In this case you don’t need to do anything.
If you're going to university in the UK, UCAS receives your results directly and will update 'Track' – this is normally about 8am GMT. While Track will tell you whether your chosen university has accepted you, it won't detail your grades. You may well be accepted for your firm choice even if you haven't achieved the exact requirements of your offer.
The Track system will be very busy, so you will need to be patient to find out whether you’ve been successful. Try not to stress too much – although doing so is of course totally understandable. Universities may also take a while to make their decision and for this to show on Track. If Track is not updating, you can always contact them directly over the phone.
When Track updates to show your place is confirmed, UCAS will email an AS12 letter. Follow the instructions as to what your university requires you to do. Some don't need you to do anything else to confirm your place, but others do. Store the email. You'll need it as proof to open a student bank account and other official requirements.
University offers are often dependent different factors; for example, it’s possible to score the required overall grade but not the required grades for your HL subjects. So, it’s important to read your original offer requirements carefully so you know where you stand. Seek advice from your chosen university, and in many cases, they can decide to accept you anyway.
The university may wait until after A Level and other results days before deciding on your place, so you’ll need to be patient. Alternatively, the university may let you know that they will not be holding your place. If so, you need to speak to your second-choice university if you have met their requirements.
If you are not offered the university place you want, you can consider getting your exams remarked. However, remember that your results can go down as well as up. You may prefer to retake some of your exams in November or next May; your IB coordinator will be able to advise you the deadline for registering. Or, if applying to a UK university, you can enter the Clearing process.
Paula Wilcock, chief assessment officer for the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) said:
"International Baccalaureate Students, parents and IB coordinators need to remember that universities fundamentally want great quality students and IB programmes ensure that students develop great qualities! Our global recognition team has been having regular conversations with universities and government bodies around the world since the start of the pandemic to ensure that all IB students are not at a disadvantage when applying to university.
"400 institutions, from over 50 different countries, with representation from each of the continents, confirmed that IB results will be adequate for admissions this year and students will be treated fairly. Our global recognition team will be available to support schools with specific recognition or admissions queries after the release of results as well.
"Since taking the decision to cancel the May 2020 examination sessions, we have made sure that students, teachers and schools are aware that, if candidates wish to, they can retake a subject in any future examination session and at any IB World School offering the DP or CP. Restrictions will apply to this based on the regulations of the individual schools, as well as local government restrictions on movement and social distancing at the time of future examination sessions - IB students can discuss their options with their programme coordinator. "
If you do not get the grades you need for your original university course, and you still want to go to university in the UK, then you need to go through Clearing.
UCAS Clearing is for anyone who didn't meet the conditions of their university offer, did better than they expected and wants to see if they can find a 'better' course, didn't receive any offers - or anyone that accepted no offers.
You can apply until October 20, providing you are not already holding an offer from a university or college, and the course you're applying to still has space. If you decide that the firm offer choice is perhaps not the right one after all, you will need to ask the university to withdraw the offer in order to enable you to go through Clearing.
More than 60,000 applicants obtained places through Clearing last year. These include places at top universities and on sought after courses, for a whole number of reasons – not least because of students failing to get their grades, or last-minute switches from students who perhaps did better than expected.
The International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) has said that, currently, the November 2020 exam session will proceed as scheduled.
It says: “If current May session students would like to sit exams in the November session, if their subjects are available, we would welcome it and therefore we are prepared for that eventuality.”