Stress, Anxiety & What Next- A How to Guide to Cope with Exam Results

Exam Results! Just those words can put many of us in a state of overwhelming emotions,memories of the anxieties taking the exams some months previously then the wonderful weeks following of free time, no studying and feelings of freedom. Then suddenly the long awaited results are nearly there. Panic, fear and guilt can become overwhelming as the anticipation suddenly causes a plethora of emotions, appearing out of nowhere and suddenly anxious teenagers across the country are seen waiting to know if their hard work has paid off; if they have succeeded in gaining the grades they need to be ready for the next phase of their life.

Advice and practical tips are always beneficial to help ease the stress before and on the day so I hope the following information will help you cope through this time.

For young people

Don’t panic you’re not going crazy! It is totally normal to feel apprehensive, scared, anxious or even relief ; yes thousands of others young people are experiencing similar feelings but often with so many different scenarios for what the outcome maybe whizzing through your head, these tips can help you from feeling overwhelmed and on your own.

– In the run up to the results day try to do something you enjoy, spend the day with friends, watch a film. Anything that feels like fun, makes you laugh and takes your mind away from thinking about “the day”.

– Are your feelings completely consuming you? Try not to keep these feelings to yourself and speak to someone you trust. This could be a parent, friend, teacher or professional, anyone you feel comfortable with talking to and who can put your mind at ease.

– Don’t want to talk? Write your feeling down- don’t feel embarrassed,you certainly wont be the only person feeling this way.

– We all have that friend who gets amazing results, and we wonder how they do it. But don’t try to compare yourself with them! You are your own unique person, with your own journey to take, and look upon your own skills and achievements rather than others.

– Your results don’t define you as a person and on the day if your results are not what you hoped for, this is not the end. You have so many different options and opportunities to consider, take your time and think which feels best for you at present.


For Parents

Stressed, irritable, snappy ! Yes your teen is waiting for their exam results! So what should you do?

– Stay calm! Acknowledge that your child is feeling anxious and worried and reassure them that whatever the outcome of their results, you will still be proud of their achievements

–Try to avoid conveying your own disappointment if the results are not what is expected. Don’t compare with other siblings results and don’t criticise. Give them space to express how they feel; they may even not want to talk about it so it is important to give them time to process their own emotions.

– Let them know that there are always different options and different pathways in life; things don’t stop just because of exam results and their opportunities to succeed haven’t completely disappeared.

– Plan an activity, a holiday or something to look forward to for after the results to keep them focused on something else.

– Acknowledge your own thoughts and feelings too. As parents we put a lot of demands upon ourselves that our children should do well, and if this isn’t the case, often feelings of guilt and chastisement can consume us. Remember this is not your fault, not your journey and you can help your child by giving positive reassurance and encouragement.

On the Day

Don’t panic! The most beneficial thing to be is organised and prepared. Make a plan ready for the day. Know what time the results can be picked up, where you need to go and who is going. Its always good to have someone with you whatever the outcome.

If you’re hoping for an University place, read up on the UCAS clearing system so you are aware what to do if you need to.

Don’t forget to plan something to look forward to on the day, whatever the outcome, as its good to spend time with family or friends. Exams and the waiting game are over and that is always a good reason to go out and celebrate.

Whatever happens be proud. Having a positive approach, whether you’ve achieved your goals or needing to look at plan B, this all helps build up your positive mindset and emotional resilience. Remember that achievement is not always about success but it is often how you accept challenges under all circumstances and continue with determination to succeed.

Ali xx