In the UK we are approaching to those exam results for those that may have taken their GCSE’s and those with their A-Levels. Although this last year has been extremely difficult and exams are not how they usually are, it still is a stressful time. Therefore, I want to share things to remember during exam results week.
Of course these tips I am sharing can be applied universally as well, I just wanted to make it clear that I am from the UK so if I refer to anything specifically that will be because of my exam experience here. Also if you are struggling then please head over to Young Minds as they have a variety of resources, articles including how to cope with stress and support available – it is ok to ask for help.
What is my experience with exams?
I would like to think that I have done my fair share of exams, and trust me when I say that for me personally they never got easier and I hate exams. When I compare my coursework grades to my exam grades it is so different, however at this moment in time we don’t have another system to grade people of what they know (apart from the coursework and of course during a time where exams haven’t been set)
I have completed GCSE’s, A-Levels, a Degree and a Masters all of which had exams in their own right. I know though that things have changed during the pandemic to which no exams are sat and students are being awarded on their merits throughout the year from teachers. However, it doesn’t make this time/week any less stressful especially when your future relies on these results. For example, it could be you are going to University or you might be hoping to get into a Sixth form (or something similar depending on your Country).
Distractions can be good
Of course it is tense when you know results are coming up, but it is important to remember during exam results week that diving into things you love doing is a positive way of keeping those worries at bay. For example, hanging out with friends, playing video games or doing anything else you love.
Also if you are extremely anxious then please do not be afraid of opening up to others around you. So many people are in the same situation or feeling the same way, so talk about it and then ensure you do things you enjoy doing to help you relax.
Exam results do not determine success
Sometimes in our life we don’t always get what we want and at the time it might feel like the end of the world but we all have setbacks. However, there are other ways to showcase your skills and talents that can still get that University place or whatever it is you need.
The truth is success is not just determined by grades but success comes in different forms and sizes. If you keep working hard towards your goals you will get there.
Map out all your options
Linking to the point above your results may lead to a change of plan, and this could make you feel confused/emotional especially if you had one route/plan you wanted to take.
However, it’s important to remember during exam results that you should take the time to sit down and just map out every potential path you could take. It could be that you may have not got the results you wanted but you can still stick to your plan. If this is not possible then just mind map other options you have.
It could be that there are opportunities to resit, you could take a gap year to figure things out, choose an alternative course, go to a different University, think about potential jobs or internships you could take and the list goes on. Make sure that when you map out your options you include the positives and negatives but also skills and support you will need.
I know it is hard when you feel like you cannot do the course you wanted so it might even help to write down the pros and cons of this too. I think in life for us to overcome / lose things we have to acknowledge what we have lost.
Be kind to yourself
Something that is a priority to remember during exam results week is to be kind to yourself. When we don’t get the things we want it can be easy to fall into a trap of telling ourselves that “I always mess up” or “I knew I would fail” or “this always happens to me”.
But remember that you are only human. We all make mistakes and then we learn and grow, and again success is not determined by your results. So be kind to yourself, tell yourself not to give up and that you will do whatever it take to get to where you want to go. Treat yourself like you would your best friend.
Make the time for self-care
Another top priority to remember during exam results whatever you get is to make time to look after yourself. Practicing good self-care is essential for when you may be feeling anxious about the future.
This should include ensuring you are eating, sleeping, talking about how you feel, scheduling time for what you enjoy or even making time for friends.
There you have it some things to remember during exam results week, and I hope these bring some peace and let you know it is ok. But if you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed then do talk or open up to those around you or seek further support, never go through this in silence.
Remember during exam results week that if you do need further support then check out the following (and also at the beginning of my post):
Samaritans – Talk to a volunteer for free and in confidence, 24/7.
Thanks for reading,
Gemma Jayne x