Every year, over a two-week period in August, students receive the results of their exam efforts for A-Levels and GCSEs (in 2018, these were released on the 16th and 23rd August). For many, this can be a time of great celebration and happiness, but it can also be a period of stress and anxiety.
There have been reports within the media of increases in stress and academic anxiety for students who have taken the new, adjusted GCSEs. These updated GCSEs are now assessed almost exclusively with examinations at the end of the course, and grade boundaries altered to a numeric system (9-1, similar to the old A*-G grades), adding to student pressure. A similar story has been reported for students taking their A-Levels, particularly in light of recent changes to the qualification, whereby students are assessed with end of course exams, rather than coursework and AS levels. The stress associated with exam results is also emphasised by a recent report from Childline. Last year, the charity reported a 21% increase in young people accessing Childline counselling sessions to discuss their worries over exam results, over a two-year period. For 16-18 year olds, the increase was steeper – 68% – over a two-year period.
With these reports in mind, what kind of help is available to manage this potentially stressful and anxious results period? The following online resources, which offer advice for young people, as well as parents/carers, may be useful:
Resources for young people:
- BBC Bitesize (also helpful for parent, carers, and friends! – Results: how to cope on the day
- Blurt – A letter to those expecting exam results
- Childline – Exam results
- Times Higher Education – How to deal with stress over exam results
- Time to change – A level results day and your mental health
- NSPCC (information for young people and parents) – Exam stress – don’t suffer in silence
- Young Minds – Exam results advice for young people and Dealing with disappointing exam results
Resources for parents/carers:
- NHS moodzone – Help your child bear exam stress
- Young Minds – Exam Results stress: Advice for Parents and Supporting your child during exam time
About the author
Blog post written by Dr Rachel Moss, Research Assistant for the Office for Students postgraduate research student wellbeing project. Dr Moss is based within the School of Education and Sociology at the University of Portsmouth.