Cartoon of a rollercoaster

Riding the rollercoaster of results day

Results day can be a rollercoaster, and you will likely experience a range of emotions, and maybe even a hefty dose of disappointment if things don't go the way you want.

12 August 2020

By Division of Academics, Researchers and Teachers in Psychology

This year, thanks to Covid-19, it’s likely to feel even more uncertain and challenging, with grades based on predicted outcomes due to exams being cancelled.

Whatever happens with your grades, it’s important to remember there are always options for you, and people around who can support you.

No-one knows this better than our members, including our student community, so we asked them to share their advice for dealing with the day, and making plans for your future.

“I think it is important to have the support from your friends and family. To be able to talk openly about your performance, results and your feelings/expectations.

I would definitely recommend discussing the different options and back up plans. The head of sixth form can especially help with this and clearing is also worth exploring.”

Lowri Catryn, Forensic Psychology Student, Aberystwyth University

“Don't rush! Despite what your A-level results are, ensure that you have thoroughly researched the course you want to do and the university you want to attend.

Make sure that the course you will be doing is something you are interested in. If you are not that interested in the course you are doing this will make it more challenging for you.

Don't rush to go to university because you feel pressure from external sources.”

Rianna Javier, Forensic Psychology Student, University of Portsmouth

We also got some top tips from Chartered Member Helen Kitching, Chair of the Division of Academics, Researchers, and Teachers in Psychology, who herself has experienced A Level disappointment. Here’s Helen’s top tips:

  • On the day, make sure your phone is fully charged

  • Take a deep breath and exhale.

  • Phone your university admissions office personally – this is really important – don’t get your parents or Head of Sixth Form to do it for you, but it’s fine to have them on hand for moral support and advice.

  • Find out if the university is willing to be flexible on grades – remind them why you love the subject you want to study so much. Be polite but persistent.

  • If they are not willing to be flexible, there will be other universities who are. Think about who you had on your short list and be prepared to look at other universities who perhaps weren’t on there – I know many people who ended up somewhere completely different to where they’d planned and LOVED it.

  • Multi-task – be looking online at clearing whilst trying to get through to your university on the phone.

  • Think about switching to a course with lower entry points

  • Consider retaking the year, or taking the exams in the autumn if that’s an option.

  • Consider taking a gap year – they can be a brilliant way to gain experience and learn a whole host of transferable skills for the future.

Mostly importantly, make sure you have someone to talk to, whether that is a family member or a friend, or a service such as Young Minds or Childline.

While not getting the results you wanted may seem like the end of the world, it’s really not. There will be a way forward.

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