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How to help teenagers manage A-level results day stress

Prima (UK) logo Prima (UK) 14/08/2019 Abigail Malbon
A-level results day can be one of the most stressful times of the year. Here, an expert shares how to manage the stress of the day both before and after the results... © noipornpan A-level results day can be one of the most stressful times of the year. Here, an expert shares how to manage the stress of the day both before and after the results...

A-level results day can be one of the most stressful times of the year; for both the teenagers receiving the results, and the parents who deal with the nerves beforehand and the potential stress after.

But a little preparation can go a long way – and no matter what the result, you can help manage stress with some simple steps. Counselling Directory member and psychotherapist, Amanda Perl, spoke with Prima.co.uk about what do to help calm your teenager's nerves ahead of the results, and how to deal with the fallout if it's not quite what they were hoping for.

How to manage A-level nerves

© Getty

"Feeling overwhelmed with stress and anxiety before the results can arise from feeling overwhelmed by pressure to study and achieve at a very high level," says Amanda.

"If you are a teenager and feeling fearful that you have not performed well enough, an effective way to deal with your anxiety is to practice mindfulness."

This might sounds like gibberish to your 18-year-old, so you can suggest practical calming techniques to them instead. Amanda recommends:

  • Do an activity. Even simply kicking a ball around a field can help you refocus.
  • Go for a walk. Walking can release residual tension and relieve stress.
  • Stop rehashing and replaying several different versions of the film of your exam captured in your head. Practice staying in the here and now.
  • Take a peek at worst-case scenario but don’t stay there. The pressure will be off if you make contingency plans if you do not achieve the grades you wanted. Will you need to attend some after-school help or take a private tutor for resits? Or for disappointing A-level grades, will you need to look at an alternative University or a different Apprenticeship? Also look at best-case scenario without dwelling on it and make plans to celebrate.
a woman holding a sign: Anxious students looking at results © Wavebreakmedia - Getty Images Anxious students looking at results

What to do if you don't get the A-level results you were hoping for

So, the worst has happened and your teen hasn't got the results they needed. They'll – understandably – be feeling pretty gutted, and might be questioning the next steps.

The best thing you can do is be there for them. Amanda suggests encouraging them to: "Talk to friends, talk to family. Throughout our life we will be tested in various ways and they will find people are more understanding than they think."

Related news: How to get your A-level exams remarked (Evening Standard)

If they're not feeling ready just yet, looking forward might be helpful. Amanda recommends:

  • Make or stick to plans you have made for the holidays. Keep busy.
  • Read, or watch a film to keep your mind occupied.
  • Spend time every day reflecting on your positive qualities that exist regardless of any exam results. Maybe you are kind and caring? What particular skills or talents do you have? Are you musical, athletic, artistic or can think of other ways in which you are creative? Do not be the sum of your exam results, simply be YOU!

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And as a parent? Your job is to listen, encourage and support. Who knows what could happen next?

Explore the issues faced by the UK’s most vulnerable children and young people this summer and discover what you can do to help.


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