Top Tips for Exam Results Day 2023

A parent and child receiving good news on exam results day.

It’s Exam Results Day! On Thursday 17th August, students all around the country will be finding out their A-Level exam results followed by GCSE exam results on 24th August. Despite the joyous A* students that celebrate triumphantly in newspaper photos, many students have a more anxious experience. With the opening of the results email, young people realise their dreams or can feel as though they have had them taken away. However, there are ways to help your teen through less-than-ideal exam results, both mentally and practically.

With even more pressures on this year’s cohort, exam result support could be more important than ever, especially when we consider the impact of the pandemic on learning and catch-up, as well as the effect of teacher strikes. What’s more, it has also been announced that Ofqual will be restoring A-Level grades to their pre-pandemic levels after two years of higher grades.

In this blog, we explore a range of exam result support tips and strategies you can use on exam results day in 2023 to offer support, and what not to say if your child doesn’t get the results, they thought they would.

Spurgeons Top Tips: how to approach A-Level and GCSE Exam Results Day 2023

In the build-up to exam results it is important that we offer the support that children need and make this a positive experience for them. What’s more, regardless of the results, this is a huge milestone in your child’s life, and should be celebrated as such.

A student is disappointed with their exam results.

What if my child doesn’t get the result they need?

Although it might feel as though GCSE and A-Level results are the be all and end all, there are always options and it’s important that your child knows that (ideally even before sitting their exams). This will help them to avoid exam result anxiety, especially when they know there are always other avenues to explore, like re-sits and apprenticeships.

Exam results day can be a stressful situation for all involved, but it is important to recognise that added pressure isn’t going to help a young person, who already probably feels overwhelmed. Take a little time to explore how they’re feeling and create plans of action to enable your child to feel more in control of their situation.

What not to say when your child receives their A-Level or GCSE exam results

Debbie Pattison works as a counsellor for Spurgeons children’s counselling service. Debbie points out there are some things you should not say.

  • If you feel that your child could have revised more, try not to remind them of the times you nagged them to. It is never helpful when someone says ‘I told you so.’
  • Don’t compare what they have done to how much better you or others performed. If you feel tempted to, then leave the room for a few minutes to calm down.
  • Don’t go in with all guns blazing suggesting this or that option. Try to listen to what your teenager says. If they aren’t saying much, try to give them time to think without confusing or overwhelming them.

Plan out your child’s next steps: Top tips

Resits/ repeating a year

Students are able to resit both their GCSEs or A-level exams. Whether this is a good option is dependent on how far below the desired result their original mark was, and if achieving the mark they need is an honest possibility.

It also means potentially wasted time, which could have been spent perhaps finding another course or career route that may suit them better.

GCSE students can retake English and Maths in November, and other subjects can be retaken in June. They can also retake the year if they wish. For GCSE students who do not wish to resit their exams, local colleges offer a wide range of courses in all sectors, from beauty to photography to engineering.

For A-level students, the first port of call is the college or university that your child was intending to go to. It’s possible that they may still be accepted onto their course even without their requested exam result.

Entering clearing

For students who missed the marks their university requested, they can find an alternative course through clearing. Clearing is the process of universities offering available spots on courses, which students can then apply for.

Even top 10 ranked universities have opportunities during clearing- including Warwick and Bath.

Students must make sure they’ve carefully considered where they’d like to spend their next 3 years at university, as grabbing a place through clearing can feel pressured.

A mother and child experiencing disappointment over exam results.

Take a gap year

A gap year can be a life-changing experience, and it doesn’t have to entail lazing around on a beach. Most gap years now involve interesting voluntary work, perhaps on conservation projects or teaching children abroad.

Gap year experiences teach youths about different cultures while building confidence and gaining new skills. Plus, they can be much less expensive than you may think.

An apprenticeship

Nowadays, it’s possible to build a great career without even setting foot in a university. Apprenticeships are on the rise, and not just for the trade industries. Even blue chip companies such as Rolls Royce and Santander run apprenticeship schemes, which allow teens to hit the ground running with their career development. Plus, they’ll earn while they learn.

How to help your child cope with exam results

Looking for more tips on how to offer effective exam results support, when your child is finding it challenging to cope with their results? Students who have missed out on their desired results can feel crushed. It’s important to reassure them that nerves and stress can have an impact on their marks and that an exam is not an indication of their overall academic capability.

Top tips for offering exam results support

  1. Sit down with your child and go through all possible next steps and consider carefully how best to move forward. It may be that their original plan was not the best course of action and that a different subject area may be worth looking at instead.
  2. Speak to them about how they’re feeling and offer reassurance and support.
  3. Create opportunities for worry time and talk to them about their fears. By having a specific time in the day to focus on this, can help them to redirect their attention elsewhere, and take their minds off it.
  4. Practice mindfulness and breathing exercises.
  5. Remind them that they have your full support, and you will help them to find solutions. Discuss how there are many paths to the same destination. So, even if they didn’t get a desired result to move forward in a certain direction, a slightly different path can still get them where they want to be.

Contact your child’s school and ask for advice on the next best move or seek their advice on your child’s ability to resit and pass their exams, and how you can offer further support at home.

It’s important to remember that there is always a way to get back on track and have a successful future.

Further Reading:

How to deal with exam stress

Coping with exam results | Dad.Info

This blog originally appeared on DAD.Info.

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