How to banish results day nerves
Next week, you’ll be heading to school or college to pick up your A-level results.
Does the thought turn you into a nervous wreck?
You're not alone. Each year, thousands of students experience this unwanted, unhelpful feeling as they await the outcome of 2 years’ hard work.
This guide aims to help you keep those nerves in check – from the days leading up to results day, to the moment all is revealed.
On the lead up
1) Talk to someone
Bottling up your nerves has a multiplying effect, i.e. those negative thoughts and feelings just intensify if you keep them to yourself.
Talk it out.
Sometimes it’s good to speak to friends who are going through the same thing as you, when you’re going through it. On the other hand, your collective worrying can make the situation worse...
You might find it more helpful to talk to a parent, sibling or teacher. They’ll be more removed from your circumstances so that they can offer perspective, but not so unfamiliar that they can’t empathise.
2) Draw up your back-up plan
Nerves are often a physical reaction to a feeling of helplessness: that your destiny is out of your hands and there’s nothing to be done.
But this doesn’t have to be the case.
You can take control of the situation and do things NOW that will ensure you still have a great year ahead of you - even if you don’t get the grades you need.
Heart set on going to university? Make sure you understand Clearing inside out and have a list of universities ready to ring on the day.
Happy to take a year out but have no idea what you’d do? Explore different routes from volunteering to interning to travelling.
Walking into results day with a Plan B is going to make you feel empowered and prepared for all outcomes.
3) Do something you enjoy
Dwelling on ‘what could go wrong’ is both a waste of your energy, and your summer!
So distract yourself.
Whether that’s playing sports, watching movies, or going away for a mini holiday with friends, make sure you squeeze the most out of your summer break.
On the day
Should things turn out perfectly, you can relax, celebrate and forget you ever read this.
However, if you don’t get the grades you needed for your first or insurance choice – or you decide you want to explore other options – do these things.
1) Avoid social media
When you’re feeling disappointed and stressed, the last thing you need to see are boomerang celebrations of papers flying and corks popping.
Do yourself a favour and steer clear. Most people only share positive life moments on social, which could give you the false impression that results day has been rosy for everyone but you.
Plus, you have more important things to do than scroll today. Delete the apps if necessary so you can focus.
2) Take a moment
If you don’t see the letters you want on that piece of paper, it’s completely natural to feel upset and concerned.
And it’s hard to think straight when your body is flooded with emotion. So take the time you need to try and relax.
Call your mum. Take a walk. Breathe deeply.
The idea is to rid your body of all the adrenaline that comes with a big shock or disappointment, so you can start to think more clearly.
3) Follow your plan
This is when you’ll really thank past you for having come up with a contingency plan.
If you’ve decided to go down the Clearing route, you’ll need to act fairly quickly as demand will be high.
Find a quiet place where you can call your chosen universities. Make sure you have your notes ready and in front of you.
These should include your UCAS Clearing and personal ID numbers, reasons you’d like to enrol on each course, and any questions you have about the university.
If you’ve decided that a year out feels right for you, you probably have more time to build on your plan and seek advice about next steps. Just don't lose momentum! You have 12 months to experience a study-free life, so make it count!
We wish you ALL the luck for 15th August.
Keep reading: Clearing: 5 things to do before A-level results day