Worried about exam results?


The coronavirus has meant that most exams in the UK have been cancelled and your results will be based on your work throughout the year and/or your mock results. You might be relieved about this but you might also think you could have done better if you’d taken the exams.


Before you get your grades

In the run up to results day, any nerves or anxiety can increase as you start to think about the possible outcomes on the day. Having some level of nerves about your results is a completely natural reaction but if it you can’t stop worrying, or if the worry is causing you to feel severely stressed, then it’s important to take some action to try to stop this anxiety affecting your health and wellbeing.

Firstly, talk to someone you trust about how you’re feeling. This might be your parent or guardian, a friend, or someone at school. Just voicing how you are feeling out loud can help put things into perspective and know you’re not alone in how you’re feeling. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone you know, you can try the TIC+ Chat helpline (0300 303 8080) or www.kooth.com. Both have trained counsellors who can help you understand and manage how you’re feeling, and you’ll also find lots of self help articles on Kooth and a forum to talk to people who might feel the same way you do.

Think about all the possible outcomes for the day and write them down. What would happen if you got the grades you want? What would happen if you got lower grades than expected? What would you do in each scenario and what could your next steps be? This can help you realise that you have options whatever the results are. You can stop worrying about the future as you have a plan for every possible situation.

What to do if you didn’t get the grades you expected

Even if you have done well, it can be hard to feel pleased if you didn’t get the grades you wanted. First of all, remind yourself of what you did do well last year, in school and other parts of your life – it can help to write these out. We can all focus more on the negatives than the positives sometimes but remembering how hard you worked on a piece of coursework or how you helped a friend through a difficult time can help to refocus those thoughts on what did go well.  

Talk your friends and family. You’re likely to have friends who feel the same way as you and realising you’re not alone in this can really help how you feel.

If you’re not happy with your results and think you should have done better, speak to your teacher to ask what they think. You can ask to take an exam when school opens again (like a retake) or sit the exam next year instead. You can also appeal your grade, although this doesn’t necessarily mean it will go up.

If you wanted specific grades for university, you might still be accepted with lower grades than your initial offer and you could try to find a new course through clearing. Clearing choices are available through UCAS from 6 July until 20 October 2020, so have a look at what might be a suitable fit for you and which universities are offering places.

Enjoy the summer

And finally, whether you’re pleased with your grades or not, enjoy the rest of the summer break and do things that make you feel good. Hang out with friends (socially distanced – of course!), get outdoors to enjoy the weather, or do anything else you enjoy. If you don’t have to take any immediate steps (like looking through clearing) then recognise that you have time to think about your options and time to enjoy yourself too. Remember that no path is set in stone; you can try again or try something new that could lead you to something else in life you love. 

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