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Exam Results: How To Cope

Results day is really important, but it’s not the end of the world. No matter what results you get, there are always options open to you.

1. Don’t panic

Maybe you didn’t do as well as you’d hoped, but remember that it’s not the end of the world – lots of successful people didn’t get the results they wanted either.

If you’re feeling anxious, sick, or angry, take a moment to chill. Your mind may be racing a million thoughts per minute, but try to do nothing for two minutes. Taking some time out of panic mode can help you to think more clearly. There are loads of tools that have been created to help you calm down. Lots include ways to help you control your breathing, including eXHALeR.

Once you’re a little calmer, think carefully about what is it you really want to do. Results day can be a point in your life to look at other possibilities – this could be an exciting and positive turning point!

There’s a possibility that you could get your exam remarked if you’re only a few marks off the grades you need. However, this does cost money. It’s important to know that your grades could go up as well as down, too.

Remember, you can always re-sit your exams if you’ve really set your heart and mind on something.

2. Contact your choices

Even if you think you haven’t got the results you want or need, your desired college, sixth form or university should still be able to help you. Make sure you get in touch with them and ask them what options they have available for you.

For example, you may still be accepted onto the course regardless of your grades, or be offered a place if you’re willing to do extra classes or take your exam again.

Other times you may be given support to find a new course or offered a meeting with a careers advisor to think about your goals and how to best reach them.

3. Contact other education providers that interest you and talk

If you’re not able to get a place on the course you’d initially hoped for, you still have options!

Call around other sixth forms, colleges or universities to see if you could get a place on a different course. Get as much information about the course as possible, like how you’re assessed and what topics are covered. Think about practical things too, like how you’d get there and how much face-to-face teaching time there is.

4. Speak to a career advisor

Career advisors will be able to help you think logically about your next steps and figure out what is best for you. They can give you direction on where to look if you’re struggling to know what to do.

You should be able to get support from a career advisor in your school, sixth form or college. If not, get in touch with Careers Wales as soon as possible.

5. Consider other options 

You may have thought only about doing another course, but try to have an open mind when thinking about other possibilities.

There are loads of options outside of going into further or higher education, including:

6. Think about finances

Aside from the grades, money can play on your mind.

If you’re collecting your GCSEs and heading on to college or sixth form, you may be able to get the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA). EMA is for 16 to 18-year-olds living in Wales, who want to continue their education after school leaving age. If you’re eligible, you could get £30 a week, paid every two weeks. Head to Student Finance Wales for more info and how to apply.

Looking to go to university? Find out the support available to you on Student Finance Wales.

Your chosen sixth form, college, or university may also have their own grants and bursaries available to their students, so get in touch and ask.

7. Be positive

Give yourself credit for doing your best.

Your results may feel like the worst news in the world right now, but in a few years, you might be pleased with the results you got, or with the way you handled the situation and moved on to other options.

Remember, even when things don’t go to plan, they have a way of working out.

8. Contact Meic

Results day can be really overwhelming and can leave you feeling lost, sad, angry, and stressed. If you’re not feeling the best or are wondering what to do, you can always contact Meic.

Meic is the national advocacy, information and advice helpline for young people in Wales. You can pick up the phone (080 880 23456), crack open the laptop or fire off a text (84001) to chat about results, options, or anything else for that matter to a Meic advisor between 8am and midnight every day.

Related Information

Careers Wales has information on your options after results day and guidance for a range of alternative funding sources, such as grants and bursaries.

Student Finance Wales offers student finance information and support for Welsh students.

Check out the Results Day Tips article on TheMix.

Didn’t get the grades you needed? Here’s my quick advice on what to do! #student #uni #resultsday2022 #alevels #cardiffuni #wales #cardiff #resultsday

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