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Coping with Results Day This August

Posted on 31.07.2018
by  Michelle Emery

Every year in mid-August, the newspapers (and our news feeds) fill with images of students clasping sheets of paper and laughing, crying, and hugging – it’s results day. And whatever the outcome, this can be a stressful time for students and teachers alike. This year, results day falls on 16th August, so we have put together a little guide to dealing with the highs and lows that go with it.

The anticipation

For most, exams are the culmination of months, sometimes years, of hard work and commitment. When they are over, no matter how they went, it’s a huge relief – and summer can finally begin. However, as August edges nearer, anxiety can set in. There are endless resources online to help you curb your panic, but here are quick few tips on how to keep calm:


* Take a moment This may seem like obvious advice but it’s important. Sometimes the world can feel overwhelming, and when that happens, taking a deep breath can slow things down. Go for a short walk or make yourself a cup of tea – anything that feels familiar and comforting. This will help to clear your head.

* Picture the worst-case scenario Very often, it’s the fear of the unknown that scares us most. Once the worst has happened, we usually find that we can cope with it. Imagine the worst possible outcome and then think about what your options are. You’ll soon discover that, whatever happens, it’s not the end of the world.

* Talk to someone Whether you’re a teacher or a student on results day, there are other people in the same boat as you. Call a peer or colleague, and you may find that they’re going through a similar thing. Even if they aren’t, they will understand how you feel and be able to empathise – there’s no reason to suffer alone.


How to manage disappointment If you, or your students, get all the grades you hope for then huge congratulations! However, exams are a challenge and every August, some people will be disappointed with their results. The first thing is to feel your feelings. You are entitled to your disappointment or your sadness – it just means you care. So, have a good old wallow.


However, after you’re finished processing your reaction, take a step back. This is your opportunity to plan your next move. If you are a teacher, be there for your students. If they come to you, commiserate and then be ready with options.


Another important thing to remember is not to punish yourself. You can’t go back in time and change what has passed, but you can move forward – beating yourself up will not help, as tempting as it can sometimes be. Instead, try taking positive action. Writing down what has happened can help, as can the physical act of making lists of next possible steps.


Research your options

A lower-than-desired result is not the end. Whether it’s GCSE, A Level, or IB, you have options. Several colleges offer retake courses for these exams – there are a few restrictions on how and when this can be done, with sites like Which? offering useful information.

For A Level students there is also clearing, through which you can find courses with lower entry requirements. You might even want to start researching courses you might be

interested in before results day, so you have a back-up plan in place. Another option is taking a gap year and travelling for a while before reapplying to universities.


Some students may wish to change direction entirely, starting in a profession straight out of school instead of going the university route. Apprenticeships are a great way to do this and there is plenty of information on this particular option on the website.

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