Tag Archives: exam results

What’s next? What to do if your child’s exam results aren’t what you hoped…

Exams are often stressful, but waiting on results and then dealing with the outcome can also be just as stressful for not only young people but parents too.

With that in mind, it is important to note that in the majority of instances children/ young people in Northern Ireland do pass their exams, so it is important not to be too concerned until you know the outcome. Last year, 81.1% of children doing GCSEs achieved A*-C grades. For A-Levels, 84.5% achieved at least a C grade.

It is important to take time to read the results document thoroughly. GCSE grades changed last year, and often the results papers are confusing. If you have any doubts about the results, ask a teacher or professional who is familiar with them to confirm.

If exams are considered quite important, how can parents prepare for results? How can they help their children if they do not get the results they want? Parents have the benefit of a wider depth of experience, parents can reassure a teenager who might struggle to see beyond the result itself and help them consider the many paths that might be an option e.g. return to school, college, apprenticeship, university, work etc.

Less positive results might mean that they are unable to continue on the path they had seen themselves on. They may no longer be able to attend the same school. They may be worried about losing touch with friends, falling behind or being seen as a “failure”. It is important that parents provide them with emotional comfort right away after getting results that they feel are disappointing.

Parents can be an important emotional support for a young person who is unsure of how to react to bad news. BBC Newsbeat suggests a number of ways to handle poor results for young people, many of which can be applied equally to parents:

Find someone to talk to. This may be you as a parent, but be open to the chance that they will want to talk to someone more “neutral”;

Ignore the “noise”. When you get your results, open them in private and do not immediately compare yourself to your friends. Remember that each teenager is an individual, and what is “good” or “bad” for them varies. As such, a happy or unhappy child did not necessarily do “better” or “worse” than your own;

“Move On” it is important for young people to understand that while exams feel very final, life does indeed go on;

Be careful sharing the news. Only do so with people you know will be supportive, as anyone else may impact your teenager’s mental health.

The best time to discuss the future is when you have both had reasonable time to digest the implications. Once that is the case, you can sit down with your teenager and whoever else you might find helpful to plan. Keep in mind that it may be useful for both you and your teenager to seek out advice about next steps. This might be together, and it may be better apart. There are a number of organisations or people who can provide support;

*        The Schools careers advisory service, if they are available;
*         The Careers Service (available here);
*         A trusted friend;
*         A community worker;
       The Apprenticeships service (available here);
       Your local regional college.

In conclusion, it is important for parents to:

*        Remain calm in the event of disappointing results;
*        Reassure young people as they process the meaning of their results;
*        Give context and perspective about what it means for the future;
*        Provide help and support in a new path.

You can listen to our podcast episode on this topic or download the full article below.

Read the full report

Click here to download the What's Next? Article and find out more about the research around young people and exam results. Our Support Line is also available on 0808 8010 722.

Coping With Exam Results Stress

Exam Results

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Exam results day is upon us! It is normal to want the very best for your child’s future and to therefore feel a little anxious about their exam results.

Stress is normal but it’s not good for you or your child to be worrying. In this blog we’re going to give you some top tips on how you can ease your own stress and help your young person on results day.

1. Get a good nights sleep
We can often find it difficult to sleep if we have worries playing on our mind but a nice sleep the night before will put you in a good frame of mind for what lies ahead. Sticking to a normal routine will also help to keep things as worry free as possible.  If you are well rested emotions are less likely to boil over due to tiredness.

2. Be prepared for ‘Plan B’
If the results don’t go the way you’re hoping for or aren’t what you expected, encourage your young person to think about other options, for example looking at different courses/universities through Clearing.

3. Keep calm and don’t panic
Try to remain calm and encourage your child to stay calm and not to worry if they don’t get the results they need or would have liked. Encourage them to take deep breaths and to relax as it will make it easier to process everything and think through their next steps.

4. Remember to reassure
Try to promote the positives regardless of the results. Your young person will probably worry about letting you down so reassure them that they won’t be letting anyone down and that you will be there for them to work through the next steps.

5. Take your time
Encourage your child not to make decisions too quickly. Sit with them to discuss what they want to do next and weigh up the options. Clearing opens in the afternoon and so gives you time to prepare and reassess the situation before starting the process.

What can my child do to reduce exam results stress?

Below are a few things you can do to make you and your child feel more at ease before results day. Worrying won’t change the result to try and make sure everyone in the house feels relaxed.

walk Go for a walk to take their mind of things.

friends Spend time with good friends.

reward Enjoy a treat to reward them for their hard work regardless of results.

read Read a good book.

social media Encourage your young person to stay off social media. Others posting about their anxiety might make them feel worse.

movie Have a family movie night or watch their favourite TV show.

meal Have a nice, healthy meal together.

If you are feeling anxious or your young person is anxious and feeling disappointed with their exam results there is help and support available. Parents you can give us a call on 0808 8010 722 or have a chat with us on Web Chat. Your child may find the links below useful.

NI Direct Results   CCEA Results Information UCAS Results Helpline   BBC Advice