I failed in some subjects in exams, but my friend passed in all. Now, he is an engineer in Microsoft and I am the owner.
– Bill Gates.
Exam results day can be a stressful time for young people and those that care for them. Families operate as emotional units and if a young person is feeling stressed, this can cause a ripple effect onto other family members. It’s natural to feel stressed on behalf of a child in your care. We have put together a short list of tips to help you support young people on results day.
1. Take stock of their achievements together
Even if their results aren’t what they wanted or expected, take a moment to praise the hard work that went into their exams.
Young people often feel pressure to perform, and disappointing results can have a significant impact on their self-worth. They may fear disappointment or judgement from their support network.
Even if a young person hasn’t done as well as they expected, giving praise and highlighting dedication can help young people focus on the positive behaviours they used to get through exam season. Remind them that no exam result will define their future, there are always opportunities to retake exams.
2. Explore pathways and options together
Whether they have achieved the required grades, or missed the mark, this is a perfect time to reassess the next steps they see for themselves. Support them to consider all options, so they can make a considered decision.
Remind them that further education is not the only pathway, there are many vocational or skills-based courses that provide further education and training for their career.
Some people are naturally more suited to academic type courses, and others to more creative and vocational type courses. Remind those in your care that neither is better than the other, they are simply different.
3. Comparing themselves to others
Friendship groups are vital to young people, and can influence choices, ideas and aspirations. It can be difficult to support a young person who hasn’t achieved as high as their friends on some exams, and it can be equally difficult supporting a young person who has done well in their exams, when their peers have not.
Young people are likely to share their results on social media, and if a young person is disappointed by their results- spending some time away from social media can help them process their feelings and discourage them from comparing themselves to others.
4. Encourage young people to reach out and practice self-care
Exam results can be stressful and create lots of anxiety for young people. Thinking about the future can be overwhelming, so taking some time to help young people stop, pause and think can help them feel calm and focus on their next steps.
- If a young person in your care needs support, you can remind them about Childline.
- If you need support as a parent or carer you can contact family lives.
- If you have concerns about the immediate safety of a young person you should contact 999 immediately.