If you feel like the countdown to receiving your exam results is incredibly stressful, you are not alone. The anticipation of waiting for your GCSE, A level, BTEC, CTech, IB and even degree results can lead to a few sleepless nights and a change in appetite or mood. But try not to let the cycle of stress and panic consume you, give space in your mind to other things.
Be prepared to collect your results at the right time and location. Get a good night’s sleep, eat a good breakfast, leave home with plenty of time and ensure your phone is fully charged with credit and data. Decide whether you want to collect and read your results in private or with friends, or a family member who will be able to wait outside, the choice is entirely yours.
Brush up on your research, the courses you want to do next, locations you could realistically travel to and if you are university bound read this UCAS page beforehand.
Hopefully you’ll get the results you wanted or expected, but if you don’t you’ll need a plan for what to do next and some understanding of what your options are.
You will need to know:
who to contact at school, college or university if you think there is a problem with your results (e.g a missing grade).
who is available to speak to and help you decide what to do next (e.g retake an exam or apply for a different qualification)
contact details for sixth forms or colleges with slightly higher or lower entry requirements (e.g if your results are different to what you expected)
a list of preferred university contact details if you don’t yet have a place confirmed
If your results are vastly different to what you expected, you’ll be able to complete online searches and call different institutions. This often takes a bit of time so it’s better to collect your results in good time with the support of staff or your parents or guardians.
Share your feelings
If you are feeling worried or nervous, don’t bottle your feelings up, it is healthy to share these emotions with others. Try talking to a family member or friend especially if they have been through the same experience as you. If this is not possible, you could check in on student room blogs or contact The Mix (they offer support to under 25s). You will want to be as calm as possible on the day so that you can make the most sensible decisions. You could watch videos about How to prepare for results day, or mindfulness exercises and controlled breathing to help you get through the day.
Take a deep breath before you open the envelope. Once you have read your results, take a few minutes alone to digest what they mean for you and if you are not sure check with staff.
Hopefully you will be pleased with what you have achieved and will be grinning from ear to ear. You’ll want to share this with your friends, family and teachers as soon as possible. Make sure you confirm your next destination and whether your results give you the opportunity to study a different qualification with higher entry requirements.
If opening the envelope was disappointing, remember that you are not alone. Take a quiet minute if you need to manage your emotions. The last thing you want to do is project that frustration onto others, but it is ok to let your teachers and careers advisors know you are disappointed. Avoid the temptation to run home and bury your head in a duvet, use the staff there to support you, they will have advice and contacts that will help you on coming up with a new plan forward.
You got the results you wanted.
Massive well done and congratulations! Make sure you celebrate this achievement and take the time to be proud of your hard work. Be aware and considerate that some of your peers may not be in the same situation as you, so be a good friend and check in with them.
You didn’t get the results you wanted.
It is okay to feel disheartened and disappointed that you did not achieve what you wanted to. You will need to understand that failing an exam or low grades does not make you a failure, you have simply not done your best this time around.
Exams results are not the beginning or the end of the world for anyone. There are many options available to you. Listen to as much advice and information as you can, make notes on your phone and then discuss these options carefully with a parent, guardian or teacher. You will need to focus on what is best for you and not what sounds impressive to other people. If you are still feeling emotional, hold off on making a final decision until you feel calm.
If you are still unhappy with modifying your plan, explore the cost and time implications of re-sitting your exams. You could always think about taking a gap year, reapplying next year or completing an apprenticeship instead.
If you feel really cross with yourself for not working as hard as you should have, learn from the experience and use that passion to make better decisions moving forward.
Remember there are many successful people who didn’t get the grades they wanted, instead of following the linear, conventional route they took a different path. Don’t let this bump in the road stop you from finding your success.