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for educators & parents

Tips for Exam Results Day

  • Let them open their own results!
  • If the results are not ideal they need you to stay calm. Hide your disappointment whilst you help them manage the array of emotions they will be feeling by showing empathy. “It’s horrible when things don’t go according to plan, I’m sorry” – do not say any more until they are through the immediate upset.
  • Separate the action from the person and be optimistic – “failing exams does not make you a failure. It is upsetting and annoying but you are ok, we love you and we will find a way forward”
  • Do not blame the school, teacher or exams board. When we resort to this type of rescuing we make it harder for them to recover because we cast them into the role of victim and reduce their sense of power. There will be time enough for investigations at a later date.
  • Do not ask how others have done which just fuels compare and despair.
  • Be aware that getting a place through clearing, even at a top class university, may still feel like failure to them and will be anxiety inducing. Make a plan to go and visit the new university ASAP and explore how they are feeling. Be alert to signs of distress and give them opportunity and permission to feel their feelings, “I guess you might feel that going to X rather than X feels like failing”.
  • If clearing doesn’t provide a solution would a foundation year get them onto the course they want? Perhaps a gap year would give them the space to re-evaluate. Consider the reasons for failing carefully before committing to retake exams.
  • Do not big up a lower grade – when you say, “he got a high 2.1” they hear, “he failed to get a First”  – let the result be what it is and let them take ownership.

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