4 min read

How important are predicted grades?

How important are predicted grades?

by Caroline Hardaker

Predicted grades help show a university how academically capable you are, and whether you’re likely to achieve the entry requirements needed for the degree you want to study.

They’re the results your teachers think you’ll achieve, whether that’s at A Level, in your Scottish Highers, or equivalent exams if you’re an international student.

But how important are entry requirements when it comes to a university deciding whether or not to make you an offer? And what can you do if your grades aren’t high enough for the degree course you’re passionate about?

How will my grades be predicted?

Each school or college usually has its own system for predicting grades, but they’ll be based on your performance and be predicted by your teachers.

Your teachers will draw on their professional judgement and experience when predicting your grades and may take into account any, or all, of the below:

  • GCSE or Scottish National 5 results
  • AS results
  • mock exams or in-class tests
  • classwork
  • attitude to your studies
  • how you cope with your revision and the stress of exams

When will I get my predicted grades?

UCAS recommends students receive their predicted grades as early as possible – ideally, you should have received them before your summer holidays at the end of Year 12, or S5 in Scotland, or the equivalent for international students.

Knowing your grades as soon as possible means you can match them against the entrance requirements of the degree courses and universities you’re interested in. Ultimately, you won’t be responsible for adding your predicted grades to your UCAS application – your teachers will do that when they also attach your reference.

Can I change my predicted grades?

Once your predicted grades have been submitted to UCAS they can’t be changed. So, if you’re concerned about your grades, speak to your teachers immediately.

Remember, these assessments aren’t just for your UCAS application – they’re also a valuable way of measuring your progress. If you’re disappointed with your predicted grades, now’s the time to find out if there’s anything you can do to improve them.

How accurate are predicted grades?

Your teachers will have assessed your progress and performance carefully, but the clue is in the name here – these grades are predictions. It’s always possible you might do better or worse in your final exams.

According to the End of Cycle Report for 2019 Entry from UCAS which examines university applications and admissions, just one in five 18-year-olds met or exceeded their predicted grades.

How important are predicted grades to my offer?

Your predicted grades are a key part of your application, but they’re not the only thing universities look at when assessing your potential and deciding whether to make you an offer. Consequently, it’s important your application is strong in other ways, too.

Universities take into account any related experience you have and your references. You may also have to submit a portfolio of work or take part in an interview. Your personal statement is a vital part of their deliberations, too. This statement is your chance to showcase your ambition, skills and what makes you perfect for your chosen course. So, if you need some top tips on writing an impactful personal statement, why not download our guide?

At Newcastle, our commitment to widening participation in higher education also means we make contextual offers, using additional data (socio-economic, school or college and/or personal or family circumstances) when considering all undergraduate applications.

We take into account any barriers you may have faced when making you an offer – and that could result in you receiving an offer up to two grades lower than the typical programme offer. You don’t need to do anything differently when you apply, and you can find out more here.

Can I get an unconditional offer?

Unconditional offers – where you’re offered a university place irrespective of your final results – are made for a variety of reasons, and are not solely based on predicted grades.

You might receive an unconditional offer based on the totality of your academic achievements, for example if you’ve aced your GCSEs and you’re predicted grades are also very good.

You might be made an unconditional offer if the university is particularly impressed by you and your talents and feels you will succeed on their course, or it might be in recognition of your outstanding performance at an assessment, interview or admissions test.

What if my predicted grades are low?

Universities will consider slightly lower predicted grades for most degree programmes. This is because they know your predicted grades might not be an accurate reflection of your abilities and your final results could be higher.

It’s important not to be disheartened if your predicted grades are lower than you’d hoped. Instead, be proactive. Talk to your teachers about how you might improve your final grades and consider slightly alternative courses – you might be surprised by your degree options.

It’s also worth investigating supported entry routes to university. If you’re eligible to join our PARTNERS Programme you’ll not only be supported to develop the skills you need to be a successful student, you could also receive a lower conditional offer – up to three grades lower than a typical offer – to study with us. Find out more here.

How might Covid-19 affect predicted grades?

To be honest, it’s difficult to know how the global pandemic might affect predicted grades.

Your school or college will be working hard to make sure you’re well prepared to take your exams next year. Again, if you’re worried about your progress, talk to your teachers and they might be able to help with study plans and additional support.

Remember, too, that it’s not just your school and your teachers who know how much your education has been disrupted by the global pandemic – universities know as well.

We hope you’ve found this blog useful; do remember to keep checking back for more resources to help you on your journey to university. If you’re preparing your university application and would like further support, why not download our application checklist?

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