The countdown is officially on! In just a few weeks, those of you waiting to hear about your A-level results will finally know if (and where) you will be going to university in September. Scary, right?
You are not alone. While the next three weeks can be a difficult waiting game, be safe in the knowledge that a lot of people are experiencing very similar emotions to you. The fear, the unknown… it can all become incredibly daunting. But don’t let it overwhelm you! Have a read through these tips on what (and what not) to do in the run up to results day:
✔ Talk to friends and family about how you are feeling. It is really important to surround yourself with a strong support network. Some of you might find talking to friends who are going through the same thing, to be most comforting. For others, it may be that talking to a family member more detached from the situation is the best place to seek advice. Either way, be sure to confide in someone that you trust.
✔ Try and keep yourself busy. Aside from providing a good distraction, it’s your last summer before uni starts! This is the only time that you will find yourself with no responsibilities, so be sure to enjoy it. Spend time with family and friends while you can, and don’t let the thought of results day take up all of your time and attention.
✔ Look after yourself. Your mental and physical wellbeing should always be a priority, especially during a stressful time such as this. Making sure you are getting enough sleep, eating healthily and doing regular exercise are just some of the ways you can reduce stress and look after your body. It sounds simple, but it can be very easy to overlook the importance of taking care of yourself.
✔ Know that everyone deals with things differently, and that’s okay! There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to dealing with results day anxiety. While your friend may seem completely unfazed, you may be having a day when you feel you are completely crumbling under the pressure. This is a completely normal reaction; you just have to learn how to manage it. And remember, this feeling won’t last forever.
✔ Remember that this is not the end of the world. Though undoubtedly important, your results do not define you. You may think an exam hasn’t gone as well as you wanted it to, or that a piece of coursework could potentially bring down your overall grade. But there will always be another option. If you feel like you might find yourself in this position, have a quick look online to see what else is available. You may not need a back-up plan, but it will put your mind at ease to know that there is always something else out there. UCAS’s Clearing page is always a good place to start.
✘ Spend hours on student forums. While these sites can be great to discuss issues with other students, too much time spent on them can be detrimental. You will find hundreds of threads about exam question answers, mark schemes and grade boundaries… but there is very little truth in them. There is nothing more you can do about your answers, so leave them be!
✘ Believe everything you read. In the lead up to results day, you will see many a ‘drop in A-level results’ headline hit the news. Don’t let this scare you! Headlines like this are usually pretty sensational anyway (#fakenews). It is your results that matter, no one else’s.
✘ Be pessimistic. It’s really difficult to strike a balance between pessimism and optimism when waiting for exam results. Overconfidence can lead to a false sense of security, while pessimism may mean you are too hard on yourself. As long as you know you tried your best, have a little faith in your own abilities whilst trying to remain realistic.
✘ Be afraid to reach out for help. Help is always out there, you just have to be proactive about it. Whether you need advice from a tutor at school or college, or just a friend to discuss your worries with… reach out! This can be a scary and stressful process, but there are always people willing to help you; all you have to do ask.
Good luck everyone! But remember that whatever your results, this isn’t the be-all and end-all. Other options will always be available to you.
Ellie has just finished her second year at Cardiff University, studying English Language. She also writes a blog ‘Forget the World’ about lifestyle and university experiences.
Note: 'Student Blog' pieces highlight the student perspective on issues relating to ProtectED. Consequently, this article reflects the views of the author and not ProtectED.