A-Level Results Day: The Day Before

Tomorrow is results day, and it’s completely natural for young people to be feeling worried. This day can carry a lot of significance as it often determines the next steps in their education and career paths. However, your young person may be feeling about it, it’s important that they know they’re not alone. Whether they are feeling stressed, anxious, fearful, angry, or confused, these are all completely natural human responses, and a sign that they care about their results.

a young girl holding a leaf

We know that these feelings can also be uncomfortable, so, here are some tips to help you support and reassure the young people in your life ahead of results day.

Worries outside of their control

It may be that they have worries about things going wrong that keep going round and round in their head, causing anxiety to build. Most of these worries are likely to be about things that are outside of their control.

Here are three techniques that can help young people create some distance from these types of worries:

  1. Thought switching.

They can try switching their attention away from worries by shifting their mind to something unrelated. Both of you can try and pick a category like a sports team or a country and think of something from that category for every letter of the alphabet, A through to Z. Or you could both focus on what’s going on around you by counting how many things you can see of a certain colour or shape, or things you can hear around you.

  1. Having a plan for the day

Secondly, try and encourage them to distract themselves from worries by planning to do something enjoyable, such as:

  • Seeing or speaking to friends or family
  • Going on a walk or run
  • Eating something they like
  • Leaning into their hobbies
  1. Relaxation breathing

Thirdly, calmer slower breathing can reduce stress and calm their busy minds too.

While sitting together, both take a deep breath in for approximately 5 seconds, and then breathe out for another 5 seconds, repeating several times. Try to imagine that you’re both breathing in calmness and breathing out the stress.  

Worries inside your control

What about worries connected things that are inside their control?

It’s helpful to direct as much energy as possible towards addressing these worries. This will help young people feel less anxious and more empowered ahead of tomorrow.

Results day is undoubtedly nerve-wracking, but it’s important to recognise that there are always options and opportunities available, even if the immediate outcome isn’t what was expected. Here are a few tips for the night before:

  1. Help them prepare by ensuring all the necessary contact details are ready, such as for their chosen universities, apprenticeships, clearing or otherwise.
  2. Try to get a good night’s sleep! Suggest that they wind down least an hour before bed to switch off their busy mind and aim for a time that allows them to get 8-9 hours of sleep. This could involve reading, listening to calming music, or having a shower or bath.

Reminder: Results day is just a moment in time, and the journey continues regardless of the outcome. Let young people know that it’s okay to feel nervous but try not to let those feelings overshadow the potential for positive outcomes and new opportunities.

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