14 August 2019
Top tips to avoid stress when waiting for exam results
It is that time of year again when students are counting down
the days to exam results. Whether it is for GCSEs, A-levels
or higher education, it can be an anxious and stressful time both
for the students and their families.
While it isn't possible to change the outcome of the exam
results, it is possible to take steps to reduce the amount of
anxiety or stress that people may be feeling.
Claire Williamson, Head of Psychological Therapies for Avon and
Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust, said: "The
summer months can be a worrying time for students and families
awaiting exam results and this can often lead to raised levels of
stress and anxiety. Thoughts can often move from focusing on not
getting the results needed to thoughts of feeling useless and
concerns about parents being disappointed. This can then result in
physical symptoms, such as stomach ache, a racing heart and nausea,
and can even lead to changes in behaviour, such as not even wanting
to pick up the results or leaving them unopened.
"When students experience high levels of stress and anxiety,
they can often forget that there are other alternatives available
to them, and their family, friends and teachers can help them work
through a plan B."
How can I cope with stress?
• Talk to friends and family about your
feelings - stress may alter the way you interact with
people, so it is important to discuss how you feel with those
around you. Talking about how you are feeling and the causes of
those feelings will give others the opportunity to make allowances
for you and provide you with emotional and practical support.
• Look after yourself -
skipping meals and eating foods with a high sugar content can cause
sugar and hormone levels to change drastically, affecting how you
feel both mentally and physically.
• Get active - stress and anxiety can
produce toxins in the body, which exercise can help to
• Reduce caffeine and alcohol intake -
it's important to get a good night's sleep and caffeine and alcohol
can affect your sleep patterns, so try not to rely on them as ways
of coping with stress and anxiety.
If you don't get the results you had hoped for there are other
options available including an alternative course or university
place, exploring the Clearing process to see which courses have
vacancies, taking a year out or resitting the exams. You can speak
to your school, college or careers advice centre about your
Claire reminds everyone to give yourself a break and be proud of
what you have done: "Whether you get the results you expected or
not, that's OK. Try to celebrate what you have achieved
whether that's academically or not, you've survived your exams and
you deserve to be proud of that."
The Department for Education's Exam Results Helpline provides
additional support to students wanting to discuss their results.
The helpline is open from Wednesday 14th until Thursday
29th August from 8am to 10pm on 0800 100 900.