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A-level Results Hong Kong – What can we help you with?

A-level results, both for International A-level (IAL) and the GCE, are out and we hope you got what you were hoping for. If you did then almost certainly you are going to continue with your plans through the year such as joining an undergraduate degree course, starting a year of travel or going into further education or work training.

But not everyone will have got the grades they wanted or needed. Some perform better or you may perform worse. That may raise questions about how to continue your application to a UK university, a non-JUPAS application in Hong Kong or a variety of other destinations that made a conditional offer. Here we bring together decades of counselling advice and experience as teachers, parents and examiners to list out the options you have with the various pros and cons for each.


There is the question of proportion and material impact. Take a typical 3 A-level combination. If you needed to score ABB and you got AAB, does this change anything very much? It means you have met you conditional offer. Presumably you applied to the university because you really want to study there. Did that change? Probably not, or at least not because of the grade.

Of course it might bring into reach a university that you did not apply to because you thought you had no chance. Now they may accept you. You may be happy with the one you have but wonder whether you could get one that would make you even more happy. Well it could be an option to try and apply. Come and speak with us to assess the value of this.

However, if you smashed your expectations, say you got BBB when you expected CCD, then this is probably a moment to step back and think through what to do. Of course, you may still carry on as you thought. If you’re 100% convinced the course you will join is the one for you then great. Carry on. If you’re taking a gap year to go travelling or get work experience, great. Carry on and rethink your options in a few months. But if you were very practical in your university applications and never applied to a dream place because you thought you’d never be ‘good enough’? You just proved yourself wrong and you should seriously reconsider. Depending on both country of destination and the rules of entry for different universities, you could find yourself at a completely different destination. Or you may defer. Or on balance you may carry on with what you had planned anyway. This is where a counsellor comes in and proves invaluable.

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First question to ask if you missed your grades is what are the implications? If the grades do not materially affect your plans then do not worry about it. It’s disappointing for sure but it does not change what you are able to do. Believe us, no-one, especially you, will care about your A-level grades within a year or so. Don’t let it change your life. Take the positive from experiencing, and getting over, disappointment and move on. For many universities, the offer they make is unconditional so they may also be disappointed but they still accept you and they hope as much as you do that you will perform better as you continue learning. However, if missing your grades changes the university offers you have you may need a clearly thought out strategy. Read on…

If you needed BBC and you got BBD or BCC for example, then you are one grade out. You may have missed a first choice course but still have a back-up you can access. You can reassess whether you still want to follow this course though. You may want to appeal to your first choice and see if they will still accept you. You may want to ask for a re-mark of your exam to see if the grade will go up. Or you may want to rethink where to go and what to do. The rules are complex and the implications varied. Come and see us to find out all your options.

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If you needed grades for a conditional offer and clearly missed them then you need to rethink what you do for the coming year. This could include a different study route such as doing retakes or a one year A-level programme or a foundation course [see next question]to change your university application strategy, or starting a bachelor but via a non-tradition al pathway such as BTEC. Or you could shift your study into an area for which you have more passion, perhaps something that has been a hobby until now (we have had many ex-accountants and ex-bankers come to fashion classes). Or of course you could put study on hold completely and go into work with a view to resuming study/training later with a career focus when that is more clear to you.

Come and see us to work through what might work best for you. Don’t just try and muddle through on your own. We will guide you on what an appropriate choice might look like for you personally.

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Foundation courses have increased in popularity in recent years. They last for one year and you are treated as any first year undergraduate but you just go to different lessons. In the UK this would usually involve quite a lot of English language and/or prep for academic writing as well as lessons on the subject stream you are interested in. They are designed for students who did not take a mainstream academic school pathway or who struggle to learn in English. As with all courses, they are good for some people and not for others. Our years of experience have shown us that many people actually can follow a typical mainstream path in terms of the exams they get but may need a non-traditional way to do it. ITS has a one year International A-level Science programme which incorporates Maths plus 2 or 3 from Physics, Chemistry and Biology. The class is a maximum size of 10 students and the classes follow a non-traditional structure. Come and see us to discuss these foundation course options.

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This is much the same procedure as if you missed a conditional offer. You need to ask the university to release you from any offers you have qualified for and then follow the re-application procedure. Again, there can be many pitfalls so come see us to make sure you follow the right path.

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Applicants for US courses need to take either the SAT or the ACT. This is the main route of entry. However, school grades are important as well. US students have a grade point average (GPA) but you have you’re A-level grades. You could either just take an SAT or ACT course and apply using your existing grades or you could also take one or two A-levels to boost your academic score alongside your SAT or ACT. We have a huge variety of options for you to apply to the US to suit all kinds of time frames and budgets. Come and see us.

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