Careers options

1. I didn’t get the results I expected/I failed to meet the conditions of the offer made by a university. What I should do?

Further education

The Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is happy to speak to any applicants in this situation.

UCAS contact details:

Telephone number:    0371 468 0468           
Operational hours:      Monday – Friday, 08:30 am – 6.00 pm.
Address:                      UCAS, Rosehill, New Barn Lane, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL52 3LZ

Careers advice

Please call the Skills Development Scotland Exam Results Helpline. Qualified careers advisors will be on hand to offer careers advice, and to discuss clearing vacancies and alternative options.

Skills Development Scotland Exam Results Helpline

Telephone number:    0808 100 8000
Operational period:     6 – 14 August 2019
Opening hours:           Tuesday 6 & Wednesday 7 August                8.00 am – 8.00 pm
Thursday 8  – Wednesday 14 August            9.00 am – 5.00 pm
(including Saturday and Sunday)


2. I haven’t received my certificate in the post — how can I find out my results?

a) Has the mail been delivered?

If No, remember that there may be a delay, due to the volume of mail. Wait until you know that the post has been delivered in your area. Go to b)
If Yes, please go to c)

b) Did you register to receive your results by text and/or e-mail?

If Yes, you will have received notification of your results.
Please check your spam and junk folder, or contact your service provider.
If No, please be patient and wait until the post has been delivered in your area.

c) Did you register to receive your results by text and/or e-mail?

If Yes, you will have received notification of your results. Contact your school/college when the new term starts to arrange for another certificate to be sent.
If No, SQA Candidate Advice Line staff will transfer your call to a member of the escalation staff, who will ask for relevant details to investigate the situation further. If a member of the escalation staff is not available, Candidate Advice Line staff will arrange to call you back.

3. My certificate is damaged.

Please contact your school or college when it re-opens, and they will arrange for a new certificate to be issued on your behalf if your certificate is damaged.

4. My name has been spelled incorrectly.

SQA uses the details your school/college supplies us with. Please contact your school after the holidays and ask them to update/amend your details and advise us to arrange for a replacement certificate to be sent to you.

5. There are results missing from my certificate.

Please contact your school after the holidays to discuss your missing result. The school will look into this and amend your record accordingly. SQA will only send you an updated certificate once the school enters and submits results for the missing unit(s).

6. Why have I received two certificates with different information on them?

The most likely explanation for receiving two certificates is that we are holding your results under two different Scottish Candidate Numbers. Please take both certificates to your school or college and ask them to arrange a ‘merge’ with us to bring the information together onto one single certificate.

7. Can I have something removed from my certificate?

No, this is not possible. Your certificate is a record of all your achievements. Items can only be removed if they have been included in error. If you think something has been included by mistake, you should contact your school or college who will liaise with us to resolve the matter.

8. I successfully completed the National 4 Added Value. Why is it not on my certificate? 

SQA has issued your certificate based on the information your school/college sent us. If the Added Value is missing from your certificate you will need to contact your centre.
(If your school/college has registered you, the Added Value will be located under the National Units section as follows: [subject area] Assignment SCQF Level 4).

9. I’ve received a letter stating I have not been successful in achieving the full award(s) in the National Course(s) that I sat this year.

This means that you have not attained grades A – D in any of your external exams for the National Courses you sat this year.
If you have passed any National Units, you will receive a separate certificate for these. Please speak to your school or college for further clarification and advice.        

Certificate in Gaelic

10. I sat my qualifications in Gaelic — does this make any difference?
This year, each candidate who has undertaken subject examinations through the medium of Gaelic will receive a single certificate displaying these qualification titles in Gaelic. At present, the following subjects are available from SQA through the medium of Gaelic:


Qualifications achieved through the medium of Gaelic will be displayed in Gaelic in the abbreviated text message and the e-mails that you receive (if you have signed up for MySQA).

SCQF points

A qualification undertaken through the medium of Gaelic will attract the same number of SCQF points as its equivalent in English.

UCAS tariff

A qualification undertaken through the medium of Gaelic will attract the same number of UCAS points as its equivalent in English.

11. I sat my exams in Gaelic, but the course title does not appear on my certificate.

Course titles and all units/elements attained through the medium of Gaelic will be reported in Gaelic on the certificate. This includes the exam code element in the detailed record of attainment. Candidates who do not complete the external assessment (exam), or who fail it, will still see the units/elements they have attained. These will be reported in Gaelic.
Qualification titles and units/elements that appear in Gaelic on the certificate will be followed by an English translation in brackets. There will also be a recognition statement (in English) on the detailed record of attainment to indicate that the course was assessed and attained through the medium of Gaelic. The recognition statement will not appear if the candidate achieves only units/elements or only the external assessment, ie does not achieve the complete course award.
Please contact your school/college to discuss further any questions you may have about not completing the course or failing the external assessment.

12. My certificate does not have the correct Gaelic spelling (eg grave accents).

The Scottish Qualifications Certificate will display the subject and any associated units/elements in Gaelic. Due to restrictions with system functionality at this stage, we are unable to produce certain characters, such as grave accents. This is, however, under review as part of our Gaelic Language Plan commitments.

13. Can I order a replacement certificate in Gaelic?

Replacement certificates can be ordered via the Replacement Certificate Service. Only replacement certificates ordered for candidates who sat exams from 2012 onwards will display course titles and units/elements in Gaelic. Replacement certificates for years up to and including 2011 will be issued in English only.

Core skills

14. What are core skills?
Core skills are a group of five skills that are key to learning and working in today's world. Employers have identified these skills as those that are most likely to be needed in any work environment. This does not mean that every job will need people who are proficient in all five core skills, but it does mean that every job will require some level of ability in some or all these skills.
The five core skills are:

15. Why do the core skills I’ve been awarded not show on my certificate at the same level as my course and unit achievements?

This is perfectly normal. As described in the Profiles section of this guide, the core skills that are built into our qualifications are not always at the same level as the course or unit itself. For further information about this, you should contact your school or college, or visit the Core Skills page on our website.

Return of materials

16. Can I get any of my external assessment material back?
We understand that the materials your school or college sent us as part of your assessment might be of special value to you. Recordings, artwork, and written pieces that you have produced may not be easy to re-create. For this reason, we provide a service to send non-examination material submitted to us for assessment back to you.
For further information on this service and details of how you should make a return request, please see the Request for Return of External Assessment Material page on our website.

17. Can I get access to my exam script?

SQA does not provide access to or copies of exam scripts, even this is if requested under Data Protection or Freedom of Information legislation.

Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002:

A request for an examination script is a request for personal information, which is exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Data Protection Legislation

This legislation gives you the right to access the personal information that SQA holds about you. However, exam scripts are exempt from release.
You can find out more about your personal information on the Personal Information section on our website.

Grade or result queries

18. How are National 2 to Advanced Higher courses graded?
Courses at National 2, National 3, and National 4 levels are not graded — the units that make up the course are assessed as pass or fail.
Courses at National 5, Higher, and Advanced Higher are graded A–D. Grading is based on your performance in the course assessment. If you fail the course assessment, you will receive a no award result.

19. What is the fallback position for National Qualifications?

There are no automatic compensatory arrangements at any level. However, our Recognising Positive Achievement arrangements support learners who don’t achieve the course award at National 5, but who may be eligible to achieve National 4 instead. This is also in place for National 4–National 3.
For National 5–Advanced Higher, you will need to re-sit all components of the course assessment — the mark for the coursework component cannot be transferred from one exam session to the next. For some coursework components, such as projects or investigations, it may be possible to use your previous research or stimulus material. However, in all cases you will need to undertake a new coursework assessment. It is at the discretion of the school to decide whether or not to re-enter candidates.

20. I have been awarded a grade D — what does this mean?

This means that you have achieved all the units (where applicable) in the course and have achieved a band 7 in the course assessment, which equates to:

Candidates who score less than 40% for Higher and National 5, or less than 45% for Advanced Higher, are not awarded a National Course and will receive a no award result.

21. Can I see my grade banding/component mark? 

Grade banding/component marks can only be obtained from your school/college. Please note, however, that even if your school/college has staff available during certification week, they may not have access to this information, as banding and component marks are issued directly to your school’s or college’s SQA Co-ordinator — we would advise waiting until the start of term for this information.

22. I completed a National 5 course, why have I been awarded a National 4?

If you have received a National 4, this means you did not receive enough marks in the National 5 course assessment for a grade D, but that you have benefited from our Recognising Positive Achievement arrangements. These arrangements support candidates who attempt a National 5 course but who do not achieve a grade A – D in the course assessment. Where there’s a corresponding course at National 4, you are awarded the course at this level instead.
To be eligible for Recognising Positive Achievement, you need to have passed:

The opportunity to achieve the National 4 course is available until the following April. Consequently, if you fail the National 5 course, but haven't met the criteria to achieve National 4 instead, your school or college may choose to enter you for the National 4 award instead, provided that you meet the criteria before April of the following year.

23. Is the achievement of a Grade D in a National 5 course of more value than achieving a pass at National 4?

Yes. National 5 courses (which are graded A – D) carry 24 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 5, reflecting the level of demand and challenge involved.
National 4 courses (which are not graded) also carry 24 SCQF points, but these are at SCQF level 4, which has a lower level of demand and challenge.

24. Why is there no grade on my certificate for my course?

First, check that the course grade that you're missing is for a National Course and not for a Skills for Work course (which are also available at National 5 and Higher). Skills for Work courses are not graded; the units that make up the course are internally assessed as pass or fail.
If your certificate is missing a grade for a Higher or National 5 National course, this would mean that you have not achieved a grade A–D in the course assessment.
To achieve a Higher English or National 5 English course, you must pass the compulsory English: Spoken Language component, plus the course assessment. Look under the heading for the National Unit; if the title of the course is showing (eg X824 76 English: External Assessment), a pass result has not been submitted.
To achieve the course award at Advanced Higher, you need to pass all units plus the course assessment. Details of the units you have passed will be listed in the National Units sections of your certificate pack (on the Summary of Attainment and detailed record of attainment pages). Look under the National Units heading : if the title of the course is showing (eg X721 77 Drama: External Assessment), either one or more unit results are missing or you have failed a unit. Please contact your school or college and discuss the matter with them. Staff in your school or college can get in touch with SQA to take action if they need to rectify this.
Alternatively, it might be that your final units were not formally assessed in time for the certificate being issued on results day, as there is a final cut-off date for schools and colleges to submit the results to us before the end of the session. If you fall into this category, we will issue you with an updated certificate in the month after we receive your unit results.

25. Why have my National Units not been graded like my course results? Why are there no levels against my National Units?


Units in National Courses are not graded — they are internally assessed as pass or fail. If they are listed on your certificate, you have passed them. If they are not on your certificate, it is possible you have failed them or that your school or college has deferred a decision until you complete the evidence needed for a pass. If you think your unit results are missing, please discuss this with your school or college.


Some National Units do not have levels. These are usually the units called ‘modules’ or ‘short courses’ that were offered by SQA’s predecessor bodies. Now, for certification purposes, we call them ‘unlevelled National Units’.

26. What does ‘Exam Only’ mean on my certificate?

‘Exam Only’ means that you have passed the Advanced Higher course assessment, but you have not passed all the units required to achieve the overall course award.
For English Higher and English National 5 courses, a pass result must be submitted for the compulsory English: Spoken Language component. 

27. What does ‘no award’ mean on the letter that accompanies my certificate?

For Higher and National 5 courses (excluding English), ‘no award’ indicates that you have achieved band 8 or 9 in the course assessment.
For Advanced Higher courses, ‘no award’ in the grade column indicates that you have passed all of the contributing units and achieved band 8 or 9 in the course assessment.
For English Higher and English National 5 courses, ‘no award’ indicates that you have passed the compulsory English: Spoken Language component, and achieved band 8 or 9 in the course assessment.


28. I’ve not received my results by text or e-mail?
Text and e-mails containing exam results will be sent to candidates who have an activated MySQA account from 8.00 am on Tuesday 6 August 2019. Please note that e-mails and texts cannot be resent.

a) Have you registered for a MySQA account?

If No, you will not receive a text or e-mail.
If Yes, please go to b).

b) Did you activate your MySQA account?

If No, you will not receive a text or e-mail.
If Yes, please go to c).

c) Did you sign up to receive you result by text?

If No, you will not receive a text or e-mail.
If Yes, please go to d).

d) Have you studied for National Courses, National 5, Highers or Advanced Highers during 2018–19?

If No, you will not receive results by text and/or e-mail. This service is only available to candidates who have sat a National Course.
If Yes, please contact your service provider. Texts and e-mails with exam results are sent out to candidates who have an activated account from 8.00 am on Tuesday, 6 August 2019.
NB If you are abroad, you will only receive a text if your phone is set up to receive messages abroad and if you have enough credit.

e) It’s 8.10 am and I still haven’t received my e-mail.

Check your spam/junk folder regularly, as delivery times from individual service providers may vary.

f) I can’t see the English: Spoken Language component for National 5 English on MySQA.

This is normal. You will not see your English: Spoken Language component on MySQA. However, it is included as a recognition statement on your certificate, and will appear as follows:
The National 5 English Course includes a demonstration of skills in Spoken Language (Talking and Listening)

29. When will MySQA re-open?

MySQA will re-open on Wednesday, 7 August at 9.00 am.

Results services

Key dates for post-results services



6 August 2019

Opening date for post-results services

16 August 2019

Closing date for submission of priority marking review requests (for candidates with a conditional offer at university or college)

26 August 2019

Date by which centres and higher education institutions will receive priority marking review results 

27 August 2019

Closing date for submission of clerical check and marking review requests

27 September 2019

Date by which centres will receive the results of clerical checks and marking reviews

End of November 2019

New certificates issued to candidates and MySQA updated

If there are any changes to the timeline for advising of post-results services results, SQA will contact schools and colleges.

30. I was expecting a better grade than the one achieved. What do I need to do to get a better grade?

If you have any concerns about your grade, you should discuss this with staff at your school or college. If they share your concerns, they can submit a post-results services request for either a clerical check or a marking review. SQA does not accept post-results services requests from candidates or candidates’ representatives. You must give your consent if the centre makes a post-results services request because grades can stay the same, go up or down.

31. I want to have my award reviewed, but my school/college does not believe that there has been an error in marking. What should I do?

The final decision regarding whether to submit a post-results services request lies with the head of your school or college. You should discuss your concerns directly with them. If you are still unhappy with their response, you should follow your school’s or college’s own complaints policy.
SQA will only accept a post-results services request that has been submitted by the school or college. Schools and colleges may have their own policies on candidates’ eligibility for post-results services, and many have published these on their websites.

32. I achieved a grade A but would still like a marking review.  

In most circumstances, candidates who have been certificated at grade A are not eligible for post-results services. This is because the service is intended to cover concerns that there may have been an error in the grade certificated; as there is no higher grade than grade A, a review would therefore not be required. If you have a conditional offer for a university, which has a specific requirement regarding the band achieved within the grade A result, you should ask your school/college to contact SQA to discuss this.

33. Can my grade change if my school/college submits a post-results service request?

Yes. Grades can go up, go down, or remain unchanged after a post-results services review. Because of this, you must give your consent to the centre making a post-results services request.

34. Where can I find more information about post-results services?

For more information please go to the SQA post-results services page on our website.

35. Can a centre submit an exceptional circumstances request after I have received my results in August?

No. Exceptional circumstances is a pre-certification service and requests must be submitted and approved by the head of your school or college within 10 working days of the examination.
Please contact your school or college to discuss further.

36. Why doesn’t SQA issue component marks for the grades awarded to exceptional circumstances consideration service candidates?

When looking at exceptional circumstances cases, examiners review a range of alternative evidence produced by the candidate, which can come in a variety of formats (as opposed to the same examination paper used by every candidate). The examiner is looking to determine what grade the candidate has demonstrated, rather than a specific mark.
In some instances, if a candidate with an exceptional circumstances request had attempted to sit the exam, component marks will be shown in reports issued to the centre by SQA. However, these component marks will have been superseded by the examiner reviewing these examination responses alongside alternative evidence and awarding a grade (as described above) so they should be disregarded.

37. When does SQA dispose of examination materials?

Materials submitted as evidence for the exceptional circumstances consideration service will be held securely for at least 12 months, at which point they will be sent for secure disposal, unless we have received a request to return them. All materials reviewed as part of a post-results services script are retained by SQA for a period of at least 12 months from the date of certification. All other materials from the May/June exams are sent for secure disposal in the first week of January in the following academic year.

Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF)

38. What is the SCQF and what does it do?
SCQF stands for Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework.
The framework shows how all qualifications in Scotland, such as those awarded by SQA and universities, compare with each other. It supports progression or movement between different qualifications — eg how Highers (SCQF level 6) help prepare learners for HNC/HND (SCQF level 7/8) or university degree courses (beginning at SCQF level 7 and awarding at SCQF levels 9 or 10), or how learners who have achieved an HND (SCQF level 8) can often get direct entry into the third year (SCQF level 9) of a related undergraduate degree course in some universities.

39. What does SCQF level mean?

The level of the qualification shows how demanding it is. There are 12 SCQF levels, with level 1 being the least difficult (introductory level of qualification) and level 12 the most demanding (eg PhDs). SCQF level 7 is the starting point of the higher education levels on the framework.

40. How do SCQF credit points work? What do they mean?

SCQF credit points are based on the amount of time the average learner would take to complete the qualification. As well as including the time spent learning in school, college, university or training, it also includes self-directed learning — ie study at home or the library. One SCQF credit point represents a notional 10 hours of learning. So, for example, if you achieve a Higher course (SCQF level 6) with 24 SCQF credits, you will have undertaken about 240 hours of learning.

41. Why is SCQF information on the certificate?

The SCQF has been used in Scotland’s schools, colleges and universities for over 16 years, and employers are increasingly aware of it. With more and more qualifications being placed on the framework, we feel that it is right to include SCQF information on your certificate.
Knowing your SCQF information can help you make decisions about what to do next. It also helps colleges and universities make decisions about entry or progression and, increasingly, helps employers understand how your qualifications compare to other qualifications. It also helps people outside of Scotland to understand Scottish qualifications, as they will use certain tools to align or benchmark them to qualifications on their own qualifications frameworks.

42. Are SCQF credit points the same as UCAS tariff points?

No. SCQF credit points do not relate to UCAS tariff points. UCAS tariff points are designed solely for determining how useful a qualification is for progression into higher education. They are allocated according to the type of qualification and the grade achieved. By contrast, SCQF credit points are a measure of how much learning needs to be done at a certain level to achieve a qualification, regardless of the grade achieved.