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Mental Health expert advice on managing exam results day when things don’t go to plan


A-Level results have hit an all-time high, with 45% of entries getting top grades, but what about the students who didn’t quite get the results they were hoping for? 

The NEU found that four in every five teachers (82%) believe exam pressure has the biggest impact on pupils’ mental health and with that Mike Delaney, Clinical Director of Delamere Health Cheshire wants to reassure pupils during exam results week;

“It is without a doubt that the pandemic has caused levels of stress and anxiety to soar, due to uncertainties and disruption to the past academic year and it is vital that parents/carers and teachers support pupils through exam results week.  

“If a student hasn’t done as well as they’d hoped, it can be really helpful to put things into context by looking at the bigger picture.  

“It is vital that students are reminded that many people who didn’t get great results go on to do amazing things, and grades and results do not define who you are or what you will go on to do”.

Mike has also outlined three key pieces of advice for students who might be struggling during exam week: 

  1. Look ahead to the future and make plans

It is so important that your grades don’t end up defining who you are or lead to you comparing yourself to others. If you are feeling overwhelmed or upset after getting your results, it can be helpful to make a list of all the things that you want to achieve that are not dependent on results or education at all. 

Writing down these new goals can help you reframe your mind, reduce stress and help you unwind. You are allowed to have a life outside of education, work and study. 

  1. Ask for help

You don’t have to go through exam week on your own. If you are feeling overwhelmed, then there are so many different ways to ask for help. Your school or college will have plenty of help and advice to share as they will have spoken to many students in the same situation in the past. 

  1. Plan B(e kind to yourself)

If you feel as though the people around you are putting pressure on you, you need to tell them. They might not even realise they are doing it. If you are feeling a lot of pressure at home, it can be helpful to talk to a trusted teacher who will be able to offer confidential and private advice.

Though not getting the results you desired may leave you feeling lost and overwhelmed, it is important to realise this is not the only path to success, and your mental health is much more important than a university place.

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