Dr Mark Winwood, Director of Psychological Services for AXA PPP healthcare
Pressure on students to succeed is higher than ever, with fierce competition for university and school places. This pressure is heightened with exam results looming.
The hype means that Results Day can present a mix of emotions – joy, regret, stress or euphoria. And this isn’t just limited to the students! However, it’s important to look after yourself in the best way you can – which includes keeping healthy and reducing stress in the build up to the day.
How to cope ahead of results day
1. Talk things through
It’s natural to worry, to want to do well and to dread disappointment, but keeping positive will help to ensure you’re not just dwelling on the negative. It’s normal to be anxious, emotional and potentially snappy as pressure mounts.
2. Keep active
In the days before the results are posted, socialise with friends and enjoy activities to keep your mind busy. You should take some time for yourself too, so that you can keep a sense of perspective. Perhaps you can go for a walk as exercise will have a beneficial effect on both your physical and mental health.
3. Eat and sleep well
Taking care of these basic needs will help to build your resilience and lessen the impact of stress or anxiety.
4. Coping with disappointment
If your results aren’t good or not up to the expected standard, try not to panic. Remember that difficult situations can be overcome. If you don’t get the grades you want, there’s always the option to re-take the exam. Though you may view this as a setback, it could give rise to opportunities you hadn’t considered before - such as taking up an apprenticeship. Planning ahead and looking at the various options you can take if your results aren’t what you’d hoped for will give you reassurance, whatever the results.
While exam results can bring anxiety, they can also be a source of joy. If you’ve worked hard and done your best, you need to celebrate your effort (even if you didn’t get the place you wanted). We spend so much of our lives worrying about things to come that it’s worth savouring these special moments!