Supporting students following exam results
26th August 2020
This year, children and young people have experienced great stress, disruption and uncertainty when it comes to their education. If schools being closed wasn’t enough, those who should have been taking exams have had to deal with a U-turn on grades, causing lots of stress around exam results.
Exams have always been a stressful and anxious time for many students, however the current situation that we are in has heightened the entire process for many. Childline have seen an increase in calls from students concerned about their exam results. Recent research from the charity also shows:
- Between April and July, 61% of young people were struggling with their mental health and emotional wellbeing as a result of the exam stress.
- Since the publication of A-Level and SQA results, from August 4th to August 16th, Childline delivered 113 counselling sessions with young people who were concerned about their future.
These statistics are very worrying and have led to fears of the long-term impact on the mental health of many students.
What are the key concerns students are battling with?
Some of the common concerns highlighted during counselling sessions with Childline included:
- Feeling anxious, overwhelmed and stressed at the news that exams had been cancelled
- Struggling to cope with uncertainties and no longer feeling in control of exam results
- Feeling cheated and robbed of opportunities
- Regretting they had not taken mocks seriously, and wishing they had revised more
- Concerned that coursework and predicted grades would not be good enough
How can we support students struggling with exam results?
Childline have a dedicated website and message board for anyone who needs help or support during this challenging time. They also have trained counsellors who can offer advice on coping with exam and result stress. You can see this here: https://www.childline.org.uk/info-advice/school-college-and-work/school-college/exam-results/
6 tips for students
For anyone who has received their results and are feeling unhappy, anxious or stressed, remember the following:
- Keep calm – making decisions about your future isn’t easy when you’re upset or stressed. Give yourself a few moments after your results take a few deep breaths and keep calm.
- Talk about them – telling your parents or carers can help you to think about what to do next. It’s natural to be scared about how they’ll react. If you’re worried, try practising what you’ll say, or talk to one of your teachers first.
- Make an appeal – if you think your result was unfair, you may be able to make an appeal. Whether you can depend on what’s happened, and you can speak to your teachers for advice.
- Take your exams later – GCSE, AS and A-Level exams can be taken later this year if you want to. This means that your grade will be based on that exam and not the result you were given. Talk to your teachers to find out more, but check if it’ll affect your place at college or university
- Look at your options – if you didn’t get the results you were hoping for, there are still options. Check with places you’ve applied for to see if they can still accept you, use clearing for universities or speak to your teachers, parents or carers about finding other placements.
- Build your confidence – your exams are just one part of your life, but they have a big effect on your confidence. If you’re disappointed, there are ways to start feeling better.
Here at Impero, we want to wish those students who received the grades that they wanted the biggest congratulations. You did it! For those who are disappointed with their grade, please remember that although exam results are extremely important, they are not everything. Your results do not reflect or define you as a person. You got through this during a global pandemic and should give yourself some credit for that. Well done!