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Anticipating exam results can be really stressful, especially with all the attention surrounding them amongst friends, family and on social media. You may hear people say ‘it’s not the end of the world’ - but for some it can feel like it and those feelings are valid.
For some students, the pressure around exam results can feel overwhelming and they may start to think about suicide. We want to reassure you that help is available and, with the right help and support, you can start to feel more hopeful and stay suicide-safe. If you are a young person thinking about suicide, or if you are concerned about a young person – contact HOPELineUK for confidential advice and support.
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Additionally, we have put together 5 tips for students and parents for coping with exam results:
Explore other options: Resitting an exam, repeating a year, appealing a grade, entering clearing, taking a gap year or considering different courses, careers, apprenticeships and internships are some of the options available for you. Perhaps something else been has been going on for you? Sometimes special considerations can also be taken into account. Consider who you can contact for more advice; a teacher or tutor, a careers adviser or even a service such as the NCS. Remember that your future is about you and what you want to do. BBC Bitesize has advice on results and options here. If you are considering higher education you can also find advice on clearing from UCAS here.
Reach out for help: It can be hard to talk about the stress we are feeling or take time to look after ourselves and reduce the impact of results stress. However, bottling stress up and trying to manage it alone can often make things feel worse. Try and discuss how you are feeling about the results with someone. Childline can offer phoneline support and advice here. You can also access support from the following organisations: Young Minds, Student Minds and The Mix.
Take care of yourself. Be mindful of the potential for a lot of news coverage of exam results, or a lot of discussion on social media. Practice self-care by taking breaks from social media or by reminding yourself that this kind of coverage can disproportionately increase the importance of exam results. Regardless of results, you’ve worked really hard - reflect on what you have achieved. Plan something positive for results day and stay in touch with people who make you feel good, to remind yourself that there is more to life than GCSEs.
Get some support: Identify someone supportive to be with you when you get your results or when you tell people your results. Get the advice of those you trust. We can have high expectations of ourselves or feel other people expect us to get good grades. This can cause us to experience symptoms of stress, anxiety and even panic attacks. Events have different meanings and values to each person – however you feel, reach out for support. Our website has a list of resources here.
Put things in perspective: ‘Failing’ exams does not make you a failure. You can still achieve your dreams. Yes, you may have to take a different route but setbacks can increase strength and resilience. Allow yourself time to experience your emotions and reflect instead of rushing into a decision. Draw strength from the experiences of others.
If you are a parent:
Talk openly about your child's results and avoid being dismissive of their concerns. Encourage them to discuss their feelings and talk about other possibilities for the future (but don’t pressure them to make decisions or take certain paths). Perhaps most importantly - praise them for the work they have put in and remind them of their good qualities.
For further support:
The National Careers Service https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk
The Mix http://www.themix.org.uk
For Parents http://www.familylives.org.uk/advice/secondary/learning-school/exam-results
Exam results helpline 0808 100 8000
Young Minds www.youngminds.org.uk
Student Minds www.studentminds.org.uk/