Remember the long summer holidays – weeks and weeks of loafing and lolling and just having fun with your mates? Looking back that’s how it seems, with the exam results a tiny little hiccough at the end.


However, perhaps the pressures are greater, perhaps I’ve just forgotten how it really felt, but today the shadow of results day looms over their summer break.

Here are some suggestions for keeping the nail-biting anxiety at bay if your home contains an exam candidate.

Don’t go over the exam. There isn’t any point, what’s done is done. And, in any case, the memory plays tricks, it almost certainly isn’t as bad as they fear.

Know when you are going to get your results. What time are they published – are they online, will they be sent to you or do you have to go to school to check? Decide what is the best way for your son or daughter to get the news, if doing it with everyone else at school will make things worse, then arrange to have them sent to the house.

Have a plan for the day, and include a celebration. Arrange a treat for later in the day, that way there’s something to look forward to whatever happens.

Make three sets of plans for the future. It’s always helpful to look at the very worst possible scenario and realised that it isn’t the end of the world. Then consider the best result and what affect that will have. And finally look at the middle way – OK, but not awful results – and work out what will happen in that case. Talk them all over so plans are in place for whatever happens. This will help with that awful feeling of not knowing what the next chapter holds.

Keep busy. Long periods of nothing to do might sound wonderful while you’re swotting away before the exams, but with nothing to do but fret about results, they might not be the best idea. Fill the days with activity – there are dozens of things to do that don’t cost much in most towns and cities. Visit museums and galleries, join classes, learn a sport and make new friends.

Have a holiday. A change, as they say, is as good as a rest. This is an ideal time to take a trip, a working holiday or a visit to friends and family. Plenty of fresh experiences to take anyone’s mind off the uncertainty ahead.

Don’t panic. While studying it might have seemed like these exams were the most important thing in life ever. But now, they’re not. They are just a relatively small chapter in life’s book.

Until the big day, keep calm and carry on having fun.

UCAS – the link with further education – know a thing or two about the wait for results. They have some advice to parents on their website.




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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.