Top five results day worries – and how to cope with them

This article was last updated on 10 August 2020.

How is it August already?! Well, it is – and you know what that means: results day! If reading those two words makes you feel a bit sick, keep reading.

Helped by the Mind Set coaches, we've put together a list of the biggest and most common results day worries, and we've asked clinical psychologist Dr Anna Colton, who specialises in working with young people, to help you overcome them.

1. "I won't get into my university/college of choice"

Don't panic. If you haven't done as well as you'd hoped, this is not the end of the road. Take advice from your teachers, and remember that many schools and colleges will allow you to retake a course while you are also enrolled on other courses.

There are other paths, such as mixing A-levels and vocational courses, apprenticeships and college or degree apprenticeships to get you where you want to be.

Remember that you always have options – discuss them with your teachers and if you are ever in doubt, contact the school or college admissions team. They are there to help you!

2. "I'll be letting everyone down if I don't get certain grades"

It is disappointing if you’ve not done as well as you’d hoped, especially when you worked hard. As long as you did the work you won’t be letting anyone down.

If your grades aren’t what you need for college, the first step will be to call them and talk to them. They may well still let you come. And if not, there may be other options such as re-taking or finding a different college.

3. "I can't manage my anxiety"

You can manage your anxiety!

Thinking that you can’t will make it more likely that you struggle, so the key is to tell yourself that you can and will manage. Tell your mind what you want it to do and it will. Ruminating on your results and over thinking things before you get them won’t change them, so pause, make sure you’re breathing slowly (rapid breathing increases anxiety) and tell yourself ‘you’ve got this’ and you can cope. As long as you tried your best then no one can take anything away from you.

4. "I don't want the pressure of opening my results in front of other people"

That’s fine, there’s no need to open your results in front of anyone. Decide where and how you’d like to open them and then do exactly that. You can find a quiet place and open them in your own time.

Remember your results do not define you. You are still the same person and you will have the support of your friends and family, whatever you get.

5. "I'll have to re-think my whole future depending on my results"

Not at all. The future is just that, and it doesn’t need to be decided now.

Take your time, assess or re-assess your situation and look at your options. The future can be scary but it can also be exciting and when you look back on life, it always works out even when it doesn’t feel that way at the time. It’s comforting to know which direction you are heading, but try to live in the present not the future.

Before results day it can help to look around at options for the worst-case scenario so that you’re prepared. But don’t spend too much time on it as you can’t predict the future and you don’t want to throw away your summer by worrying.

Life is for living. Results don’t define you. Whether you are delighted or disappointed, it’s important to re-focus and think about your next steps.

If you need support

You should always tell someone about the things you’re worried about. You can tell a friend, parent, guardian, teacher or another trusted adult. If you're struggling with your mental health, going to your GP can be a good place to start to find help. Your GP can let you know what support is available to you, suggest different types of treatment and offer regular check-ups to see how you’re doing.

If you're in need of in-the-moment support you can contact Shout 85258. It's a free, 24/7 text messenger support service for anyone in the UK. Text the word “SHOUT” to 85258 to start a conversation.

There are more links to helpful organisations on BBC Action Line.

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What NOT to do on results day