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A level result stress and Clearing

Thousands of students across the UK, will be waiting for their A level results. Even if you are confident you have done well, there will still probably be some results day stress.

Concern is normal in these circumstances, fuelled by so many what if’s, going round your head, it is natural to look at all the different outcomes you may be faced with, the trick is to make sure this doesn’t spiral and get out of hand.

We have pulled together some tips that could help de-escalate the what if’s, to a sensible level.

Find someone to talk to

We have all faced a problem and bottled everything up, building the problem into the worst-case scenario in our own minds. Your friends will probably be doing exactly the same as you, and will probably be as relieved as you, to talk about it with someone. Don’t forget your family or mentor will also have taken exams at some point, and will know all too well the stress of waiting for results, they are there for you to talk to and to support you. Bottling things up doesn’t work, the old adage 'a problem shared is a problem halved' is absolutely true.

Take time to rest

If you feel yourself going into a cycle of stress, make sure you take time out, even if it is just five minutes doing something for you, that you really love, although your results are on their way, that doesn’t have to be the only thing you think about. Keep your sleep pattern as normal as you can, It can be hard to sleep when your mind is racing, but not looking at your phone or screen before bed, using a sleep spray or taking a bath, can all help you get the sleep you need.

Make plans

Having a plan for any outcome can be calming, you will probably get the results you need, but putting a plan in place, so you can spring into action and know exactly what you need to do means one less thing to worry about. Take a look at how Clearing works and have a set plan of who to contact and steps you need to take, universities have dedicated teams who are there to help students through the process, it is important not to panic and do nothing. Take the time to also plan for a celebration of your results with your friends and classmates, you deserve a treat after all your hard work, and remember you are more than these results, and if you don’t get what you need, there are lots of options. Here is some great advice from the Complete University Guide to help you through the Clearing process should you need it - Clearing FAQs

Collecting Results Have someone with you when you receive your results, they will be there to give you support and reassurance if you need it. And It’s good to have a friend, mentor or family member with you, to celebrate your success, they can also help you look at options if the results are different than what you were expecting, here is some more information on clearing from the Times Higher Education if you are still unsure of what Clearing is. Make sure the person you choose to be with you is someone you feel will be supportive, being with your friends can be fun, but there can be peer pressure to open them together, if this is something that would make you feel uncomfortable, then decline. Don’t put more pressure on yourself.

And finally remember that you shouldn’t compare your results to anyone else’s, social media will be full of people sharing their results, just look at what your results mean for you, if your friend got higher results that doesn’t lessen your achievement in any way. And remember if you do go into clearing you are not alone, More than 47,000 students were accepted through Clearing last year (source: Ucas, 2021).

If you feel you are struggling and it is more than exam results stress, please speak to someone you trust, your GP, or please contact one of the below organisations for help.

· Mind

Lisa Ravenscroft – Communications Manager for ProtectED.

You can contact on: m: +44 (0)7889 933034 or at

Twitter: @ProtectED_HEI

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