What to do if you don’t get the results you were expecting

We will all too soon be back to that fraught time of year again, when thousands of hopeful students await the outcome of all their hard work. It can feel as if your results will make or break your entire life, and the pressure to do well from various sources can take its toll on even the most confident and optimistic students. So when results day does roll around, what do you do if you don’t get the grades you were hoping for? How are you supposed to manage with your own disappointment, never mind that of parents or teachers? Here’s a handy guide on how to get past any issues that might arise from your exam results, and how to make sure you stay sane in the process!

1. Don’t panic
There is no point whatsoever in panicking about your results. Repeating negative self-talk in your head and in your interactions with others will only elevate your stress and anxiety levels. Make a conscious effort to tell yourself that no one’s life was ever over because of an exam result; and that you have a bright future to look forward to – regardless of which path you decide to take.

However, if you are struggling to drive feelings of panic from your mind, ask for help. Talk to your family and friends about how you feel, and ask for reassurance that you will be able to bounce back and start again.

2. Start planning for the future
You’ll feel much better about not getting the results you had hoped for if you take control of the situation. Rather than being a passive recipient of your results, use them as a springboard for taking action. What do you want to do next?

Perhaps repeating the exam would be your best option. Or, you might decide to focus on your strengths in other subjects. Alternatively, you could use this time to decide on a completely new course of study, or even a way to combine studying with work experience at the same time. If you’re not sure which direction you should head in, don’t be afraid to seek the advice of tutors, teachers, parents and friends. Each person you ask for advice will have their own unique perspective – so you could come away with a whole heap of ideas on what could be next for you.

3. Go out and celebrate!
You don’t have to hide yourself away if your results aren’t what you wanted. Regardless of what that little piece of paper says, you have worked hard to complete your course of study – and you’re entitled to celebrate that!

Make a point of getting in touch with your friends, and arrange a night out or a party. You all deserve the chance to blow off some steam after months of studying and feeling the pressure – so go for it, in whatever way that suits you.

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I'm a former English teacher and private tutor who is passionate about education. I've been writing professionally for the past three years and have written educational worksheets for use in schools as well as contributing to an educational journal. I've also written on every other topic under the sun!

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