Five Expert Tips: Help Your Child Beat Results Day Anxiety

By Anoop Bhuller

3 weeks ago

Now exams are over, here are five tips for approaching results day

Danielle D’Onofrio, University Counsellor at ACS International Schools Egham, shares five tips for tackling anxiety on results day.

As a university counsellor, I understand how anxiety-inducing results day can be for both students and their parents. The pressure to achieve desired grades in whatever qualification the student is taking can be immense, especially given the weight these results carry for university admissions. However, there are several strategies parents can use to help their children navigate this stressful period more smoothly. These include:

1. Early and open communication

Start conversations about results day early. Open communication will ensure your child is comfortable discussing their hopes and fears, and dreams and aspirations. If your child is particularly concerned, leverage the support of university or careers counsellors and academic staff. They have experience in handling such situations and can provide valuable advice and reassurance. This can help set realistic expectations and provide clarity on firm and insurance offers; knowing what to expect and having a clear understanding of all potential outcomes can alleviate some of the pre-results day anxiety.

2. Understand clearing and other options

Inform your child about the clearing process and other alternatives such as gap years, retaking exams, or applying to universities abroad. Knowing that there are multiple pathways to their goals can reduce the fear of failure. For IB students, understanding the timeline differences with A-level results and the availability of university places through clearing can also be beneficial. Clearing opens on IB results day, which means that IB students get earlier access to clearing compared to their peers.

ACS Egham

ACS Egham

3. Focus on what can be controlled

Remind your child that they cannot change their results once the exams are over. What they can control is the steps they take next. Have all necessary information about alternative options to hand, and this way, they will feel more prepared to handle any outcome. Prepare for both best and worst-case scenarios. This means having a plan if things go as hoped, but also knowing the steps to take if the results are not as expected. Discussing and having a backup plan can significantly reduce panic on the actual day.

4. Maintain a healthy routine

It sounds simple, but ensure your child gets enough sleep the night before results day. Adequate rest will help them think clearly and manage stress better. Encourage them to eat healthy meals to avoid any added anxiety from physical discomfort. Also, suggest they avoid social media on results day to prevent additional stress from peers’ results.

5. Have support ready

Your attitude towards the situation will significantly influence your child’s reaction. Stay positive and supportive, reinforcing the idea that results day, while important, is not the end-all of their academic journey. Encourage resilience and adaptability. Being surrounded by supportive family members or friends on results day can provide much-needed comfort. If the results aren’t as expected or hoped for, having someone with a clear head can help your child stay calm and focused, especially when discussing options with counsellors or universities. Your support and encouragement in the lead up to results day is so important. It’s a time that should be seen as a celebration of your child’s hard work and dedication, and regardless of the outcomes, what matters most is helping your child navigate their path forward with confidence and optimism.