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Teen Calm talks about how to manage exam disappointment

Exam results day can be stressful at the best of times, especially if you didn’t do as well as you expected but this year has been exceptionally difficult for many students in the midst of the covid pandemic.  At Teen Calm we know the pressure is on so we have some advice that we hope […]

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Exam results day can be stressful at the best of times, especially if you didn’t do as well as you expected but this year has been exceptionally difficult for many students in the midst of the covid pandemic. 

At Teen Calm we know the pressure is on so we have some advice that we hope will help with how to manage exam disappointment in 2020:

Don’t compare your results unfavourably to others

There are bound to be people posting their results on social media and it’s easy to feel with all of the celebratory posts that you’re the only one who didn’t do as well as you hoped but remember – people tend to post the highlights and there will be many other people who don’t feel like sharing their results. 

Be kind to yourself

Firstly, let’s not forget that you didn’t sit those exams. Your grade was determined by an algorithm and isn’t a reflection of the hard work you put in or the months you spent at home adapting to new routines during a global pandemic. 

These grades don’t define you or your potential. You are far more than a number on a sheet of paper (or a computer screen). Success is rarely a flat line, you’ll experience plenty of highs and countless more setbacks on your journey. It’s how you deal with them that counts. 

Take some time to relax and gather your thoughts, breathing exercises can also help to reduce stress levels.

Find out your options

There are lots (hundreds of thousands) of others in the same boat. This is a unique situation and it is expected that colleges and universities may be more flexible than usual. Due to uncertainty around covid and a lack of gap year travel options, some 80k students are expected to be looking for uni places via clearing so it’s worth investigating what UCAS advise and checking with places you’ve applied for to see if they are willing to accept you.

If you don’t have the A level grades for University and are unlikely to be successful at appeal, consider sitting the exam in the Autumn. Otherwise is there a more vocational alternative? There are non-academic qualifications which are equal to A-levels and degrees and may even allow you to go to university at a higher level in the future. This framework compares academic and non academic qualifications. 

For free and impartial advice and guidance, the National Careers Service’s Exam Results Helpline has professional careers advisers available to young people, parents and carers. 

Whatever the case, don’t panic. When you’ve done your research, list out your options and take some time to think them over and discuss them with family before you decide. Making big decisions about your future when you’re upset or stressed isn’t a good idea.

Talk to someone if you feel overwhelmed

Talk to friends and family if you feel able about your feelings.

If you are struggling or are worried about someone else, you can contact the Samaritans at any time on 116 123 or email [email protected].

Alternatively you can access Young Minds Crisis Messenger for urgent help by texting YM to 85258.

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