SQA Results Day: What next if you're staying on at school?

This article was last updated on 30 July 2020.

Moving from National 5s to Highers or Highers to Advanced Highers? Just because you are staying on at school doesn't mean that you don't have choices.

Use our handy decision tree to work out what options might suit you best.

I’m going from National 5 to Highers, or from Highers to Advanced Highers. What happens next if...

...my grades are what I expected?

  • Well done you! You’re in a good position to carry on with your plans for next year.

  • If you’re moving from S4 to S5, and from S5 to S6, then you will already have started your new timetable before the summer holidays.

  • Of course, there’s no harm in assessing your options. Take a moment to think about your choices and make sure they line up with your future ambitions. You can always talk with your school careers adviser or a teacher to make sure you’re on track.

  • If you want to make changes to your timetable, just talk to your teachers and they will advise you on your options for when you return to school.

...my grades are better than I expected?

  • That's great! You could consider taking a course or apprenticeship at a higher level or applying for college.

  • Some colleges have late applications to fill courses before the end of term so, if this appeals to you, head online to see what’s out there.

...my grades are worse than I expected?

  • Try not to worry – you still have options no matter your results.

  • This year SQA is providing a free appeals service for schools, colleges and training providers. That means if your final result is lower than the estimate grade your school or college supplied to SQA, your teachers can appeal the result providing they have your permission, and sufficient evidence to support the initial estimate. If you have any questions about your results, speak to your school or college first. More information is available on the SQA website.

  • You could redo your qualifications, taking the course again and sitting the exam next year. Talk to your school or college to see what options are available to you.

  • Don’t forget, college can also be a good option for resitting Highers. You can combine re-takes with a fresh start as well as a useful introduction to more independent study.

Where else can I get advice?

The SQA will run its Candidate Advice Line on 0345 279 1000 from 8am on Tuesday, 4 August 2020, until Friday, 7 August 2020, answering questions about your results, and your Scottish Qualifications Certificate.

Skills Development Scotland's Results Helpline will be available from 8am on Tuesday, 4 August 2020, contactable on 0808 100 8000. Their expert careers advisers will be on hand to discuss options and next steps such as course vacancies at UK colleges and universities, Confirmation and Clearing, Modern, Foundation and Graduate Apprenticeships and jobs or volunteering.

As well as running from 8am to 8pm on results day, SDS's Results Helpline will also be open on 5 August from 8am to 8pm, 6 and 7 August from 9am to 5pm and 10 to 12 August from 9am to 5pm.

Your guide to SQA results day
Making decisions and changing pathways
Staying positive