Exam results day can be a nerve-wracking day that can either bring about total jubilation, complete disappointment or even—for some—something in between the two. As a charity we’re all about resilience and bouncing back—especially when things don’t go as you had planned. The ability to carry on when life doesn’t go your way is a quality that many employers will value highly. So if you didn’t quite get the results you were looking for, here are some of our top tips:
1. Don’t panic. This is more of a ‘what not to do’ but it’s really important. This is not the end of the world, no matter what it feels like now. Take some time to think about your options and most importantly don’t rush into a decision you might regret later on.
2. Let out your emotions. It’s not always good to ‘keep it all in’. If you’ve suffered a disappointment, you’re allowed to be sad or angry or frustrated. It’s normal to feel these kinds of emotions. Sometimes having a good old cry will really help the situation. According to research allowing yourself time to experience and explore your feelings is not something to be shied away from. If you’ve always been told that only weak people cry, or that crying is just for women or children, think again. It’s the body’s natural way of releasing stress and helping you to deal with disappointing situations. Keeping it all in is actually the unhealthy option. According in Neuroscientist and tear researcher Dr. William H. Frey II, “crying is a natural way to reduce emotional stress that, left unchecked, has negative physical affects on the body”, including increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease and other stress-related disorders.”
3. Don’t give up on your dream. If, for instance, you didn’t get the A-level results you were hoping for or expecting but are still super set on pursuing the same course, we encourage you to get in contact with the university you’d hoped to go to. Lay out your case and ask them whether you might still be considered—there is no harm in asking. You can also check out other universities through clearing and see what they still have available. If you want it more badly still, you may even decide to resit the year. That might sound like the worst thing ever, but actually, you may find that you understand stuff way more the second time round.
4. Get advice from people you trust. Your family and friends will probably all have different ideas of how you can go forward so listen to them! But remember, at the end of the day, this is your decision and you have to choose what will be best for you. There are also some really great articles out there about how people have bounced back from bad exam results and how to tackle not doing so well in your A-levels. You’ll soon find that there are lots of people who have found themselves in a similar boat to you.
5. Consider doing something different. Sometimes shut doors (or bad results) can lead you through new and exciting doors you’d never have imagined. This could be another college course, a year out, volunteering, work placements—there are endless options.
Speaking from my own experience, I didn’t get my predicted grades and ended up with no university place. It was a stressful time but after looking on clearing I found a completely different course at a different university and applied for that instead. I have ended up with a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree and a job. It made me realise that it’s really not the end of the world if things don’t go right at first. Success is often not a linear trajectory, but full of bumps and winding roads—just consider bad results as one of them. Failure doesn’t have to be final—if you don’t believe us, just take Richard Branson’s word for it when he says, “do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.”
Written by Alex Ashton-Cobb