The Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Trust is reminding students who are feeling worried and stressed about their upcoming exam results that there are steps they can take to reduce their anxiety.
Waiting for exam results can be a stressful and anxious time, particularly as many exams were cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and results will be based on predicted grades.
Usually, students will have a sense of how they have performed in exams and will have worked hard to raise any predicted grades they needed to.
But with results for both A-Levels and GCSEs looming, Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust is reminding students that there are a number of steps they can take to reduce their anxiety.
Claire Williamson, Head of Psychological Therapies for Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust, said: “Many students and their families find waiting for exam results to be stressful, as they can affect the next step in that person’s journey towards their career choice.
“With schools being closed and exams being based on predicted grades this year, for some the situation may be even more uncertain and this may increase stress and anxiety further.
“Many young people will be anxious about not getting the results they need and often that can lead to thoughts about under achieving and concerns about parents being disappointed.
“The stress associated with these kinds of thoughts can then result in physical symptoms, such as stomach ache, increased heart rate and nausea, and can even lead to changes in behaviour, such as not even wanting to pick up the results or leaving them unopened.”
“We’d like to remind students to be proud of their achievements and that if the results you receive are not what you were expecting, there are always other alternatives available.
“Talking these through with family, friends and teachers can help you create a plan of action.”
How can I cope with stress?
- Talk to friends and family about your feelings – stress may alter the way you interact with people, so it is important to discuss how you feel with those around you. Talking about how you are feeling and the causes of those feelings will give others the opportunity to make allowances for you and provide you with emotional and practical support.
- Look after yourself – skipping meals and eating foods with a high sugar content can cause sugar and hormone levels to change drastically, affecting how you feel both mentally and physically.
- Get active – stress and anxiety can produce toxins in the body, which exercise can help to reduce.
- Reduce caffeine and alcohol intake – it’s important to get a good night’s sleep and caffeine and alcohol can affect your sleep patterns, so try not to rely on them as ways of coping with stress and anxiety.
If you don’t get the results you had hoped for, there are other options available including an alternative course or university place, exploring the clearing process to see which courses have vacancies, taking a year out or resitting exams.
You can speak to your school, college or careers advice centre about your options.
The Department for Education’s Exam Results Helpline provides additional support to students wanting to discuss their results.
The helpline is open from Wednesday 12th until Friday 28th August from 8am to 10pm on 0800 100 900.
You can also access ongoing support from the National Careers Service by visiting nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/contact-us, or searching for the National Careers Service on social media.