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The Society of Biology congratulates all students who today received results for biology A level.

With almost 64,000 students sitting biology A level this year, it was the most popular science. Biology, chemistry and physics accounted for nearly 18% of A levels in 2013, a rise of 23,000 candidates from four years ago.

For those candidates who didn't make their grades, the Society of Biology's education team are on hand to give advice about applying through clearing and alternatives to university.

Sophie Robinson, Qualifications and Skills Officer at the Society of Biology, says: "If you miss your grades, the first thing you should do is phone up the universities you accepted conditional offers from – even if you didn't get the grades they asked for they may still be willing to give you a place. If you aren't successful you can then look for places through clearing.

"Think carefully about both the university and the course, just as you did when you first applied. If you wanted to do a specific subject such as neuroscience, it's worth considering doing a broader biological course and you may be able to specialise after your first year."

The courses available through clearing are listed on the UCAS website.

Amy Whetstone, Qualifications and Skills Officer at the Society of Biology, says: "It's important not to see clearing as the only option. Taking a year out can give you time to retake your exams, or to gain valuable work experience. This could help you make choices about your career as well as build up your CV.

"You may even decide that university isn't for you, and alternatives include doing an apprenticeship. Another possibility is a foundation degree, a degree level qualification which combines academic study with work-place learning."

Anyone who is considering applying for a biology course can contact Amy or Sophie on 0207 685 2571 for advice. There is also a national exam results helpline where an expert careers advisor is available.

Sophie Robinson and Amy Whetstone are the Qualifications and Skills Officers at the Society of Biology. They offer biology careers information and guidance, run three annual life science careers conferences around the UK, and develop new careers resources.

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