Publish date: 4 August 2021

With the cancellation of exams due to the Coronavirus pandemic and results being determined by teachers, receiving your results this year may be an especially stressful and anxious time.

Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust is encouraging students to look after themselves and is sharing advice and guidance on how to help reduce anxiety ahead of results day.

Claire Williamson, Head of Psychological Therapies, for Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust, said: "Many students and their families find waiting for results to be stressful. This year could be particularly difficult for students who have spent a lot of time during the last year in and out of schools. To add to this, teachers are now grading work based on coursework and mock exams, with no external assessments taking place, which could cause even more feelings of uncertainty than usual.

"The stress associated with these kinds of thoughts and feelings can then result in physical symptoms, such as stomach ache, increased heart rate and nausea, and can even lead to changes in behaviour, such as not wanting to pick up the results, or leaving them unopened. We'd like to remind students that if the results you receive are not what you were expecting, there are always other alternatives available. Talking these through with family, friends and teachers can help you create a plan of action."

Tips on coping with stress leading up to receiving results

  • Talk to friends and family about your feelings - 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 provide you with emotional and practical support. It may be especially helpful to talk to other students in a similar position to you, as this can reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.

  • Look after yourself - Evidence suggests that as well as affecting our physical health, what we eat may also affect the way we feel. If your blood sugar drops, you might feel tired, irritable and depressed. Eating regularly and choosing foods that release energy slowly will help to keep your sugar levels steady.

  • Get active - Regular physical activity can increase our self-esteem and can reduce stress and anxiety.

  • Reduce caffeine and alcohol intake - Caffeine and alcohol can affect your sleep patterns, poor sleep can have a negative impact on your mental health.

Claire continued: "Every student has the right to appeal their grades if they don't get the results they had hoped for. Other options available include choosing an alternative course or university place, exploring the clearing process to see which courses have vacancies, taking a year out or resitting exams. You can speak to your school, college or careers advice centre about your options."

For advice on re-sits and re-marks

The National Careers Service has an exam results helpline where you can speak to a professionally qualified careers advisor. The number to call is 0800 100 900. The helpline is open from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 5pm Saturdays from Monday 9th to Friday 20th August. You can also access ongoing support from the National Careers Service by visiting or searching for the National Careers Service on social media.