Remember finishing that last exam and being so excited for the long summer holidays with your friends? You might have an extensive travel itinerary booked, have plans made with friends to go on days out, or perhaps you just want to chill out at home and have a few lie-ins.

Regardless of how your summer ahead looks, you'll probably put that tiny insignificant date to the back of your mind, which you obviously play down in your head because you don't want to even think about results yet.

However, you might be a little less care-free. Perhaps you feel the pressure more greatly, especially as the date gets a little closer...

How can you manage to put your exams behind you and try not to worry too much about the results?

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Coping with Nervousness Ahead of Exam Results Day

If, indeed, you will fret and stew about how things will turn out, you're not alone. Test anxiety is not just a condition that manifest in the run-up to exams; it impacts those nervously waiting their results, too.

Here are some suggestions for keeping the nail-biting anxiety at bay if you are a student hoping to graduate with good marks.

If you happen to be a parent reading this, please remember to be kind! Think of how you felt waiting for someone you care about's medical results as, to your child, this momentous day is as gut-wrenching as getting a health test back.

1. Don’t Go Over the Exam

There isn’t any point in replaying the day in your head or worrying about what you did and didn't do during testing. What’s done is done, and the fact is that you did the best you could in the given circumstances - why would you do anything else?

And, in any case, the memory plays tricks on you and you will begin to doubt yourself more and more with each and every thought.

Looking back with worry or concern very rarely leads to feeling confident, so it's best to just keep a positive attitude instead! Don't ignore the cloud hanging over your head, but just learn to focus on the things that you can control, like your reaction and plans for the future.

2. Know When You are Going to Get Your Results

This is very important so that you don't get a sense of panic or chaos the night before.

What time are they published?

Furthermore: are they available online? Will they be posted to you? Do you have to go to school to pick up the certificates? What are you supposed to do on the day results come in?

Decide what is the best way for you to get the news, and perhaps check what your peers are doing. This doesn't mean you have to do the same, but knowing what others are planning to do will help you to prepare and make your own decision.

If doing it with everyone else at school scares you in case you don't get the results you want, then make alternative arrangements. You don't know how happy or sad your friends will be on the day so be sure to have someone like a parent or older sibling come with you so that you aren't alone and dejected or ecstatic but unable to celebrate with friends who are disappointed.

If you're feeling uneasy then you may not want to make plans with friends on results day.
Would you rather be alone or with friends when you get your results? Photo credit: VisualHunt.com

3. Have a Plan for the Day that Includes a Celebration

Arrange a treat for later in the day, regardless of how you do. That way there’s something to look forward to whatever happens.

It might be a meal out with family or friends, or even a trip to a spa for the afternoon. Either way, be sure to reward yourself for your efforts as no matter what happens you deserve it. You never know, if you do incredibly well then there may be an extra surprise organised for you by your proud parents!

4. Prepare for How You Might Feel

It’s always helpful to look at the very worst possible scenario and realise that it isn’t the end of the world. Then consider the best result and what effect that will have. And, finally, look along the lines of feeling just "ok" with your results – as in you could have done better but you also could have done worse – and work out how you will feel what will happen in each case.

Think over all of your different scenarios and consider what your plan will be if/when they happen. This will help with that awful feeling of not knowing what the next chapter holds, as you will already know what you need to do next and won't waste time mulling it over.

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5. Keep Busy

Long periods of nothing to do might sound wonderful after all the stress of exams, but as the summer holidays come and go with nothing to do but fret about results, it might not be the best idea to be free.

Fill your days with activities and things to do – there are dozens of places you can go that don’t cost much in most towns and cities. Visit museums and galleries, join classes, learn a sport and make new friends. Even going for a walk each day can help to keep your mind at ease.

6. Have a Holiday

A change, as they say, is as good as a rest.

This is an ideal time to take a trip (at home or abroad) or a visit to friends and family as a distraction might help you to stay calm in the lead up to results day. Plenty of fresh experiences to take anyone’s mind off the uncertainty ahead!

To take things off your mind, try to get away even if just for a short break in the countryside.
It's good to get away from your usual environment when you are waiting for a big event. Photo on VisualHunt.com

7. Talk to Someone

It is never a good idea to bottle up your feelings or fears. It doesn't matter who it is, even if it is writing in a diary, that is better than keeping your negative thoughts in your head!

Opening up to a parent is a good place to start, telling them about your worries. Rest assured that no matter how much your parents want you to do well, they will still support you no matter what. If you don't feel comfortable talking to someone in your household then ask your teacher if there is anyone at the school or college who can offer emotional support at this unnerving time.

Finally, if you feel really down or you are suffering mentally, then do consult your NHS doctor.

8. Think About Your Future

Okay, if you are sixteen then it can be hard to know where your life will lead you. But by eighteen, you should be beginning to think about what is next for you.

Do you want to go to uni? Do you want to do vocational studies or apply for an internship? Do you want to start working professionally?

If you can, at the very least, think about your short-term goals then you can set your targets and really think about what grades you'd be happy with and what you wouldn't. Without any plans in your head, it can be hard to analyse and absorb your results and what they mean for your future.

9. Know Your Backup Options, Just in Case

Nobody wants to think the worst, but as we've already discovered sometimes it pays to be one step ahead in the event of some surprising or unwelcome news.

If you don't get the results you need to go to your desired college or to enrol at your chosen university, then what can you do to rectify this? Do you have the option to retake your exams and, if so, when? Or perhaps you feel that your grade isn't a true reflection of how hard you worked and think the exam needs to be re-assessed? How do you go about getting re-marked?

These are useful things to know in advance.

It's always good to be well-prepared and have back up plans.
Know what you need to do next in the event of not getting the grades you needed or expected. Photo credit: elaclibrary on Visualhunt / CC BY

10. Don’t Panic!

While studying it might have seemed like these exams were the most important thing in life ever. But while they are an important part of your own education and your personal growth, there are always more important things (like health, for example). Try to tell yourself that these are just a relatively small chapter in life’s book, but that your book won't be complete until this chapter is written.

So, until the big day, do your very best to stay cool, calm and collected and Keep your head on whilst having some fun!

UCAS knows a thing or two about the wait for results. They have some advice to parents on their website, too.

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Sophia

A vagabond traveler whose first love is the written word, I advocate for continuous learning, cycling, and the joy only a beloved pet can bring. There is plenty else I am passionate about, but those three should do it, for now.