Here you’ll find updates from the Scottish Government and information from SQA (the examinations regulator) about how grades will be awarded this year, and any updates to the results and appeals process

Applying to university in Scotland in 2021?

Here you can find all the information you need around how qualifications will be awarded this year, and how this may impact your application. 

How will grades be awarded in 2021?

This year, National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher courses will be awarded based on provisional results and a quality assurance process overseen by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA).

A provisional result is a judgement, made by teachers and lecturers, of a final band.

Students will be given provisional results, but these cannot be used to confirm university or college places – this can only happen after final results are awarded on 10 August 2021.

The SQA’s Exceptional Circumstances Consideration Service will not operate this year due to the ways in which the Alternative Certification Model – used to award results this year – will allow centres “to base provisional results upon a wide range of evidence.” 

More information

Read more from SQA about the revised model for delivering National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher results in 2021 here.

Read about the ‘alternative certification model’ here.

SQA guidance on Appeals 2021: information for students

When is results day?

Tuesday 10 August – National 5s, Highers, Advanced Highers results day

Provisional results will be shared with students by 25 June. 

Appeals process

The SQA appeals service will be available directly to students, for free, for the first time this year. Alternatively, you can appeal through your school, or college if you prefer – it is recommended that you speak to your school or college in the first instance if you think your grade is wrong.

A priority appeals will be available to students holding university or college places. 

Remember: grades can go up, down, or stay the same as the result of an appeal. 

SQA have also made this helpful video to explain the process further.  


The Scottish Government (SG) has been developing a new student website – It's currently a beta site, but offers a range of financial information to both further and higher education students.

It includes a budget calculator and a funding checker, which tells you how much you could potentially need, and gives an estimate on how much you could potentially receive.

The Student Awards Agency Scotland will endeavour to continue to fund students on time, and you will be kept updated throughout. The Further and Higher Education Minister is working closely with the Scottish Funding Council, college and university principals and unions.

Universities are working very closely with the Scottish Qualifications Authority, schools, Government, and others to make this work. We want to ensure that even in these extraordinary circumstances, students are able to demonstrate their abilities and progress to higher education.

Looking after your mental health and wellbeing 

Awaiting results can be a time of stress and anxiety. If your results are not what you hoped for, it can be an especially difficult time, but you are not alone, and there is a lot of support available to help you.

  • If you’re feeling overwhelmed or don’t know what your options are, talk to someone at your school or college if possible.
  • If you need help with understanding the Clearing process, call UCAS on 0371 468 0468 or drop us a line on social media. We’ll talk you through it and answer any questions you have.

There’s also lots of information available online to help:

  • Student Minds is the UK’s student mental health charity and has lots of information and resources to help. They’ve also developed a new online hub called Student Space to help you manage the challenges of student life during COVID-19.
  • The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust has advice and tips to for managing anxiety and stress during results and Clearing.

Young Minds has good advice for young people awaiting their results.

Attending a UCAS event?

You can attend a virtual open day to find out more about unis, or chat to current students with Unibuddy. 

Search for virtual open days

Chat to current students