University results day explained

After three or more years of hard work (and hopefully lots of fun) results day is the final step in your university journey. It’s also the first stage in your new career or life path. It’s the start of a new chapter and a really exciting time, but it’s also understandable you’ll be nervous when your degree results come out.

What makes it even more nerve-wracking is that each university releases its results in different ways and at various times—so you’ll have to keep an eye on the process for your particular institutionTo help you feel calm(er!) on the big day, here’s a guide to what you should expect and how best to celebrate.

When do you get university exam results?

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Unlike A Levels or GCSEs, the exact date uni results come out isn’t the same across all UK universities. Even in the same university different degree programmes can have different results days. So don’t be surprised if your mates get their final grades before or after you.

If you’ve had to defer or retake individual modules, this may also affect the timing of your results.

Typically, your results will be available three to four weeks after you’ve taken your final exams. Across most universities, the summer exam period runs in May and June. This means most results are released in July, giving students time to consider if they want to resit in the August exam period or not.

If you’re waiting for results from January exams, then these are likely to be released around the beginning of March. Those studying a postgraduate course may have exams at any time of the year. This might be slightly earlier than the main timetable, such as in December, April or at the beginning of May.

How do I get my degree results?

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Each university will have its own method of sharing degree results. Usually, they’ll send an update through your online student portal. The department that runs your course should tell you how to find your results in advance of the release date. So, if you’re unsure or haven’t heard about how to gain access, you should contact your school or faculty.

A specific time and date for when the portal is updated should be given. You might also be able to get an email alert to tell you when your classification is ready to view.

Uni grade boundaries

It’s likely you’ve already got some results from previous years’ coursework, essays or exams. Your final set of results will break down your marks by modules or individual assessments.

Based on this, you will be given a final classification. This is calculated using an overall percentage grade and is what will be written on your degree certificate.

Here are undergraduate classifications and degree results explained:

  • First-class degree percentage: 70% or more
  • Upper-second class percentage: 60-69%
  • Lower-second class percentage: 50-59%
  • Third-class percentage: 40-49%

Master’s degrees, including Integrated Masters qualifications, are typically graded as follows:

  • Distinction: 70% or more
  • Merit: 60-69%
  • Pass: 50-59%

If you achieve 40% or less, this means you haven’t passed and won’t graduate from your degree.

What do I do after results day?

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Once you’ve got your final classification, it’s time to take a breath and think about your next step.

If you’re unhappy with your results

After getting your degree results, it’s not possible to resit your exams to try and get a better grade, unfortunately. You can retake particular modules, or even the whole final year, but all of your scores will be capped at 40%. So this is only worthwhile for those who’ve not passed their degree.

If you want to get your final classification looked at again, you’ll need to appeal directly to the university. You can do this by following your institution’s procedure. It’s important to check how long you have to submit your appeal, as the timeframe is usually only a few days after you’ve received your results.

Also check if you need to send an appeal or complaint, as this differs between each university. Once they’ve investigated, you should get a procedure completion letter. This will sum up their findings and the outcomes. If you’re still unhappy, you can complain to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator.

If you’ve graduated

It’s pointy hat and gown time—woo hoo! Of course, your university will have a graduation ceremony where you can go and celebrate all your hard work. For postgraduates, this is usually held in January. Undergraduates will receive their degrees in July or August.

You might prefer to have your own party or mark the day by exchanging gifts with your friends—it's not compulsory for you to attend a university ceremony,they’ll send you the certificate in the post instead. So all you need to think about is making plans for the summer ahead. Whatever your results, we want you to remember that there’s lots and lots of opportunity ahead and many paths you can take on your journey into the world of work—uni is HARD and you did it!

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