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How to cope with exam results day stress

Education: Secondary / Tue 10th Aug 2021 at 09:53am

Dear Editor,

THE summer holiday is supposed to be about relaxing and taking a step away from studying for a bit, but the looming anxiety that often comes with exam results stress can be overwhelming for our young people.

From April to June this year our Childline counsellors delivered 1812 counselling sessions to young people who spoke about concerns relating to exams and exams being cancelled. This figure has more than doubled compared to the same period last year where 861 counselling sessions were delivered.

Over half of the young people who called Childline this year spoke about their mental and emotional health or self-harm and over half of all sessions were delivered to girls.

It is understandably disappointing when young people don’t receive the grades they wanted, but this doesn’t necessarily impact their future as there are always other opportunities.

A young person should ask a teacher, careers advisor or any adult they trust about what they think their next options are. It’s also important they remind themselves of how well they did on a specific piece of coursework, or other parts of their life. Sometimes grades don’t reflect a young person’s ability and occasionally it might be worth speaking to the school about an appeal. Things may have been different if they were able to sit an exam. It also might be worth looking at training programmes and apprenticeships available locally.

If a chosen university hasn’t offered a place, there’s also the possibility of applying to other universities through the clearing process, or it might be worth considering taking a gap year and focusing on something different like volunteering or a different course.

Parents should also encourage their child to take time to think about what they want to do next, this isn’t a race and there’s no need to rush decisions. It might help to sit down with them and write out a pros and cons lists for each of the child’s options too.

When a child or young person struggles to open up and discuss their feelings, this can be hard, but they should know that Childline counsellors are here. Young people can call on 0800 1111 or go to the website www.childline.org.uk, there they can access our message boards and talk to like-minded young people about how they’re feeling or head over to the Calm Zone to help sooth their worries.

From Emma Motherwell, NSPCC Local Campaigns Manager for the East.

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