What to do if your exam results aren’t what you’d hoped

Charity Childline gives its advice on what to do if your exam results aren't what you'd hoped.

Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Unsplash

A-Level and GCSE results day is coming up this week, and young people’s charity Childline gives some advice for those who may not have achieved the exam results they wanted.

Wendy Robinson, service head of childline, said: “At Childline we know that results day and the period running up to it can be a really challenging time.

“The impact of the pandemic has made this even more difficult – and young people have told our Childline counsellors they are understandably feeling anxious and stressed. 

“The last year has been incredibly tough for young people with school closures, exam cancellations and changes to the assessment process – so it is vital that they are supported and listened to.

“Young people have told us they’re concerned that they may get lower grades than if they’d been able to sit their exams, or that their results are out of their control – whereas others are concerned that they won’t get the results they need for their future. 

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“Some also said they struggled to prepare and do the work they were being graded on due to having so much time out of school because of restrictions.

If any young person is feeling apprehensive and worried about their results, I’d urge them to talk to someone about it.

“And if they don’t get the results they need, there are options they can take and there are trusted adults that they can turn to for help and support. This could be a teacher, careers advisor, parent, carer or Childline.”

Advice if you don’t get the results you expected

  • Ask a teacher, careers advisor or any adult you trust what they think and discuss your options and how you are feeling.
  • Remind yourself of what you did well in whether that be specific pieces of coursework, or other parts of your life.
  • Don’t compare yourself to your friends.
  • If you do not feel your grade reflects your ability speak to your school about making an appeal. This doesn’t always mean you’ll get a better grade but it can help if you think things would have been different had you sat the exam.
  • Look at other courses or training programmes and apprenticeships that you can do.
  • If you haven’t got a place at your chosen university, try not to worry as there is a chance you could get a place at another university through the clearing process.
  • Take a gap year and do something different like volunteering.
  • Look at different courses that you can do with the grades you have achieved.

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