Last reviewed on 30 July 2021
If you were due to take GCSE, AS Level, A Level, vocational, technical or other general exams this summer and then found out you’d be assessed in a different way, it’s understandable that you might be feeling anxious or stressed about your results and uncertain about what the future holds.
A recent poll by The Student Room (7 June - 4 July 2021) revealed that almost 90% of students are worried that receiving teacher-assessed grades is going to negatively impact their future. According to the poll, the next biggest concern for students is that grades will be seen as ‘lesser’ because there were no exams. In addition, three quarters of Year 13s said they still need more help and information from universities to get ready for starting in September.
“I’m extremely worried about one grade that will impact my whole university place.” (Source: The Student Room)
“[I feel as if] I’ve regressed this year and am no longer as confident as I once was.” (Source: The Student Room)
“I’m scared everyone will get amazing grades and I will just be looked at as average.” (Source: The Student Room)
In this article, the Good Thinking team has put together some tips to help you cope with the stress of results day during a pandemic and determine how you’ll come out the other side. More than anything, you should be really proud of what you’ve accomplished at a really difficult time. We also recommend some fantastic NHS-approved wellbeing apps that you can download for free via the Good Thinking service.
If you need specific information about the grading process, please talk to your school and check some of the websites listed at the end of this article.
Focus on what you can control
So many things are up in the air at the moment and that can be difficult to deal with. A helpful way of coping with uncertainty and stress is to focus on what’s in your control. You can’t control the grading process but you can control how you react to it.
Draw up a list of things that will make a difference to how you feel over the next few weeks. The important thing is to not measure the size of what you do; it’s completing the activity that will give you some feeling of achievement.
Your list might include:
Make the most of wellbeing apps
Good Thinking offers a range of NHS-approved wellbeing apps to help young people look after their mental health. You might find the following apps helpful ahead of results day and in the weeks that follow. All the apps below are free to young Londoners who use the Good Thinking service.
Developed by the charity stem4 with input from young people, Clear Fear uses Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) techniques to help young people reduce feelings of anxiety. The app also provides support if you have a panic episode and breathing exercises to help you feel calmer as results day approaches. Check out our webinar with Dr Nihara Krause of stem4.
Do you want to support a friend or sibling who is worried or stressed about their grades? With this app (also developed by the charity stem4), you can help them to focus on the positives and boost their resilience. Check out our webinar with Dr Nihara Krause of stem4.
Both these apps combine positive psychology and Olympic sports coaching techniques to help young people develop self-esteem, resilience and goal-focused motivation. Check out our podcast and webinar with the apps’ co-founder Dr Alastair Dobbin.
Using Behavioural Activation Therapy techniques, Move Mood helps young people to manage the behaviours associated with low mood or depression. Check out our webinar with Dr Nihara Krause of stem4, which developed the app.
Good Thinking resources
Student Space (text STUDENT to 85258)