Pupils are counting down the hours to finding out their A-level exam results, with equal measures of nervousness and anticipation.
Experts predict a desperate scramble for university places, with fewer higher grades being awarded and thousands at risk of missing out on places at their first-choice university.
Others go into the week not yet having received an offer from any university.
When are exam results released?
A-level results in the UK are out on Thursday, August 18, while GCSE results will come a week later on August 25.
The results should be released around 8am in the UK, which will be about 11am in the UAE.
The results of T-levels, a new qualification helping people into skilled employment, university or apprenticeships, will also be published for the first time on August 18.
What is expected?
Overall, grades are expected to slide this year with fewer top grades, a result of the marking system being adapted for Covid-19 learning and lockdown testing.
The government expects grades to be higher than in 2019 — the last set of GCSE, AS and A -level exams students sat before the pandemic hit.
But with fewer top grades, it is possible that tens of thousands of pupils might not get the qualifications needed for their first-choice universities.
UK education minister Will Quince said grades are likely to drop this summer compared with last year, and then again in 2023, as part of a return to pre-pandemic arrangements.
Will students get into the university of their choice?
Tens of thousands of pupils could miss out on their first choice for university in what is likely to be the most competitive year for courses ever, education expert Alan Smithers said.
The proportion of pupils receiving top grades could fall by almost 10 percentage points compared with last year, when many were given marks determined by teachers rather than exams because of the Covid-19 pandemic, said Mr Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research.
He said there could be 80,000 fewer top grades — A* or A — awarded than in 2021, meaning up to 40,000 pupils could miss out on their course or university of choice.
Even UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admission Service, said this year will “undoubtedly be more competitive for some courses and providers”.
Clare Marchant, in a blog published in June, said 49 per cent of teachers had told the admissions service they were less confident that their students would get their first choice of university compared with previous years,
What about students without offers?
About 28,000 students have not received an offer from any university, according to analysis by DataHE, a rise from 6 per cent to 9 per cent in two years.
But DataHE co-founder Mark Corver said students can still find places.
“Places are there, but they might be at universities or for subjects that might not have been on an applicant’s initial shortlist and might need a bit of research and flexibility to take advantage of,” he said.
What can students do if they do not get the grades they need?
Students can use the clearing process to see what courses or universities might be available to them.
More than 250 people will be on hand to support students on Thursday.
The admissions service has also produced a series of podcasts to help students prepare for exam results day.
What support was available for students taking exams?
The Department for Education said exams would be graded more generously this year “providing a safety net for students”.
Students were given some information in advance to help “focus their revision” and exam boards provided advance information for exams in most subjects.
Pupils were given a choice of topics or content in some other GCSE subjects.
Exam boards provided a sheet of formulas and an updated equation sheet for students sitting their GCSE maths, physics and combined science exams.