We know that exam season can be stressful and anxiety-inducing for young people and those supporting them in their learning. There can be a lot at stake, including college, apprenticeships, and work placements dependent on achieving certain outcomes on results day. And it’s completely natural to feel these heightened emotions – this means that you care! Certainly, for pupils this year, there is increased pressure on attainment for educators, seeing as this year’s summer exams are the first in three years, following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Place2Be, one of our charity partners, and Childline, have created some brilliant resource hubs full of top tips and advice to navigate exam season:

These inspired our staff team to get together to create our own short guide for educators to share with young people who are waiting to receive their exam results. You’ll also find a list of some valuable resources at the end of our guide.

Top tips

1. Talk about how you’re feeling

It’s completely normal to feel stressed, anxious, or worried about your exams and what this means for your future. This means that you care.

When you’re experiencing these feelings though, it’s always a good idea to talk to someone that you can trust, rather than bottling up your feelings. You’re not alone; many adults will have been in the same situation as you during their time at school.

As an adult supporting the learning and development of a young person, it’s important to listen and be reassuring and supportive.

2. Look towards the future, not the past

A good way to prepare for your future is to map out all possible scenarios. Consider the various paths that you may want to take and what grades and skills you will need for each one. It might be useful to consider alternative paths depending on whether you achieve your expected grades or achieve differently to what you had expected.

There are some great online resources that can help you in making these decisions:

Remember, like we’ve already mentioned, you’re not alone in this. Speaking with a supportive adult, such as a parent, guardian, carer, or a careers advisor at your school or college, may help you to better understand your options and help you come to a decision about what you want to do in the future.

Thinking about what’s to come, ahead of time, rather than delaying things, will help you feel less overwhelmed once you get your results. It’s never too late to start planning your future.

3. Have plenty of activities planned

You’ve already done the hard work of revising and completing your exams, so enjoy your time off! Do more of what you love or spend this time trying new things and finding a passion.

Plan plenty of activities for before and after results day so that you have things to look forward to. This will also give you a space to clear your thoughts and not think about exam results. Exercise is a particularly effective way to help you destress and enjoy yourself at the same time!

4. Think about how you want to get your results

You may prefer to meet up with friends, or go with a family member, guardian or carer, to collect your results. Think about what will be more comfortable for you and again, plan something to do before and after getting your results so that you’ll have something to look forward to, regardless of your results.

If you’re supporting a young person with their learning, or if you’re a young person looking to support your friend on results day, consider how different people may approach exam results day. Whatever your friends’ preferences, remember that you can support them while respecting their wishes in the best way you can.

5. Compare yourself with yourself, and not others

Healthy competition between friends or peers is okay in the classroom and may have helped you work towards your exams, but when you get your results, compare them to your past performance(s) rather than the results of others. After all, everyone has different strengths, different future aspirations, and different paths to get there – that’s what makes us unique! Your grades don’t define you as a person, and there’s always a path to get to where you want in the future.

6. Consider your path for the future

By this point, you’ll know your grades and may have celebrated, or had time to relax, with those close to you. So, what’s next for you? 

When you had those initial thoughts about your options for the future (in ‘Step 2’ of our guide), you’ll have considered different scenarios depending on the outcome of your exams. Now is your time to reassess your options with the information you know now. If you achieved what you wanted, you can begin to prepare for what you had initially planned to do. If you didn’t achieve what you wanted, you may want to explore a different route to your future career, or a different career all together, which is completely normal!

If you’re a young person deciding what you are going to do next, it’s important that you explore all your options. This will give you a newfound hope and something to work towards, or look forward to, in the future!

And if you’re supporting the learning and development of a young person, it’s important that you are there for them. Listen to how they are feeling and offer them the support that they need to enable them to achieve their potential.

7. Seek additional support when you need it

If you feel a little overwhelmed about your situation, try to speak about how you feel to an adult whom you trust, or seek professional advice and support, such as Place2Be or Childline:

Remember that everyone is different and therefore approach results day a little differently to you. There’s no right or wrong approach; our guide for preparing for your exam results day will be a useful starting point but ultimately, it’s up to you to approach the day however you would feel most comfortable.

Similarly, for adults who are supporting young people during exam season, you may want to use this guide as a starting point then tailor our advice and guidance to the specific needs of the young person you are supporting. It’s all about supporting them to feel as comfortable as possible in what can be a stressful period and help them to feel optimistic about their future.

At Tutor Trust, we take the same tailored approach when supporting the young people we work with, by working in small groups of 1:1 and 1:3. This way, we enable them to reach their academic potential and develop important life skills such as confidence and communication, setting them up for future success.

If you are a school leader or teacher and you would like to work with us for the new academic year, please contact your local Schools Partnership Manager:

Greater Manchester: Phil Mellen, [email protected] on 0161 833 3055,

Leeds-Bradford: Sharon Sadler, sharon.sad[email protected] on 0113 733 9207,

Merseyside: Mark Wyss, [email protected] on 07733 364770.

There’s more information about how tuition works on this web page

Resources