Results days for GCSEs and A-Levels are fast approaching. We know there are a lot of students eager to find out how they’ve done. If you’re the one waiting, you’re probably feeling rather worried. This is completely normal, but lots can be done to avoid negative feelings leading up to the day and on the day itself. Read on for our top tips on how to prepare for results day.
The most boring one, but perhaps most necessary. It’s likely that, due to the pandemic, almost all results will be available online. So it’s a good idea to have everything you need for the day prepped and ready the night before. A fully charged laptop/computer and phone, as well as all the sites you’ll be receiving results from bookmarked or ready to refresh (so you don’t have to get them up all jittery on the morning).
It’s also a good idea to have transport to your school prepared, just in case you do have to go in to collect them in person, or, for A-Level students, in case you have to go to get specific percentages or advice about applying for a remark or going through clearing or adjustment. It’s also a good idea to have contact details for your first choice and back-up universities ready, in case you just miss your grades but want to ask if they’ll still take you (and lots of the time, they do).
For A-Level students, if you do have to go through clearing (which happens to more students than you might think), it’s a good idea to have multiple family members ready with phones. Speaking from experience, the hold times are massively long, and it’s good to be in the queue for several universities at once. It’s a stressful experience, but if your grades aren’t quite what you hoped/planned, it at least means you’re too busy to focus on them!
Finally, the UCAS clearing page has a really helpful option of chatting with students who can give advice on life at different universities you just might need a crash course on.
Probably the most important one. It’s easier said than done, but the best tip we’ve all got is to try not to agonise as results day gets closer. Realistically, whatever the outcome, you will be ok. Whether you have to resit, change your A-level options, change your course, change your uni, or consider a different path (such as an apprenticeship), there will always be options open to you.
If reading this makes you feel a bit uneasy, and if trying not to think about it doesn’t work for you, the thing to do is to prepare for every outcome. What most people recommend is have a rough plan for every possibility, and then forget about it, as you know you’ll be ready for anything so there’s no point continuing to stress. If you think about how you’ll react and what you’ll do if you do better or worse than expected, or just as expected, it means when results day comes around and whatever happens, happens, you’ll be set.
Being nervous and worried is natural, but if you think you’re feeling more stressed than you should be or what is usual, don’t suffer in silence. Talk to friends or family about your expectations, and what will happen if they’re not met. You’ll very likely be reassured by all that, no matter what happens, you will still be loved by all. Again, try not to panic and get too worked up. In the end, your results will make you follow a path that, in many years’ time, will feel like you were always supposed to take.
Be wary of social media
Social media is now, unfortunately for many, a massive part of results day. If you’ve done well, it can be a great way of sharing your achievements with friends and family. However, if your results are good, consider how sharing and discussing them might impact your peers. Is posting your results actually going to make you feel better? Or will it just make others feel worse? It’s fine to celebrate, but just be mindful that some of your friends might not have done so well. In either case, don’t feel any pressure to compare yourself with others publicly, or even anyone at all. They’re your results, and they’ve got nothing to do with anybody else.
You are not your grades
A cheesy slogan, but true nonetheless. It is said every year on results day, but, again, rings true each time. Exams are, some say (and we tend to agree), a rather old-fashioned way of testing ability and intelligence. This is not to disparage those who have done well – you should be extraordinarily proud of yourself for working hard. But at the end of the day, lots of exams are memory games. They don’t always indicate who is truly bright from who has been lucky. If you have done your best, then that is all you could hope for. There is so much life ahead of you. You will find something you’re great at, regardless of some numbers on a piece of paper.
Are other people feeling the same way?
To show you’re not alone, we’ve asked some students (who have not so long ago been through results days themselves) how they felt and how they approached the big day. Here is what they said:
How did you feel while waiting for results?
- “Anxious and distracted”
- “Anxious and irritable”
- “Distracted and hopeful”
- “I was so sure I was going to miss my offer so I was just preparing for that mentally and looking at clearing choices”
- “Nervous but a little excited”
How did you feel when you got them?
- “Shaky and still a bit nervous (just in case they made a mistake haha!), but happy”
- “Underwhelmed but happy, I got what was expected so felt a bit silly for worrying a bit”
- “Relieved the waiting was over”
- “I ended up getting one grade below what I needed and one grade above, so I was disappointed with the lower one, but I had already had my firm offer confirmed as they balanced my grades and decided I still hit the target, so I wasn’t too upset”
- “Happy! But also underwhelmed, even though I got what I was hoping for”
What helped you approach results day?
- “Running and working”
- “Keeping busy!”
- “Stress eating” ?
- “Working full time to stay busy, and then over-preparing for every eventuality which helped me feel a bit more secure”
We hoped that this has a little in planning how to prepare for results day. If you’d like to chat to other students, too, then check out the The Student Room website – there’s always a thread from someone in the same situation.
Good luck everyone!!
Louise & Anna x