Students receiving their A-level results nearly always assume the very worst is going to happen; as if when the envelope opens they’ll find just a solitary note telling them that all their exams were shredded because they forgot to start one of the exam questions on a new page.
Butterflies in stomachs are not so much fluttering as launching all-out nuclear assaults. But, hey, that’s just the way we work.
With that in mind, here are some ways to cope with the pressure.
How to survive results day:
1. Make sure the fridge is stocked up for when you come home
Because no matter how well you do, bacon will improve your mood.
This will prepare you for when you collect your results, and avoid confusion and assumptions. I didn’t check first, and ended up believing I was going to the wrong university for half a day. This made for an afternoon of mixed emotions. Strong language was used.
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3. Have a contingency plan
If you’re desperate to go to university but miss out on your choices, remember that clearing is an option, but don’t be too hasty with it – five minutes of frantic searching should not determine the next three years of your life. Before getting the results, do a bit of research on which universities you’d like to go to if you require clearing.
4. Don’t be disappointed if you miss out on your first choice
Remember the reasons why you chose your second choice, that it was something you were excited about and happy to select and that it was better than three of the original five. Wherever you end up, the chances are you’ll absolutely love it.
5. Remember that resits are a thing
If you are determined to go to a particular university and miss out, it’s worth taking a year out, reapplying and resitting. Yes, you may have to deal with the ache and exasperation of Ucas again, but in the long run having a gap year and running behind your personal schedule is nothing to be fussed about. Besides, Nicaragua is nice in February.
6. Remember that your teachers are there to help you
They’ve gone through it all before and can help to rationalise what’s happened and what you can do next. They will do all they can to get you the best outcome with the grades you’ve got, and are strong influences in persuading universities to take you in.
7. Realise that your results are not the be-all and end-all
If the worst happens and you miss out on a place at university, your life is not over. There are numerous possibilities. Even if your exams have gone drastically wrong, remember that success is not solely achieved through a magical, university-shaped portal. Many other options available to you are just as good; your life is in your own hands.
However, if you’re still really that worried, and none of these work for you, here are some other ways to survive the day:
8. Wear a disguise
Don’t want others knowing your grades? Annoyed at being asked the “So… what did you get?” question by absolutely everybody? Don’t worry. Turn up as a long-lost cousin and ignore those who ask who you are and why you’ve suddenly become so emotionally invested in your distant relatives’ results.
9. Put off opening the envelope for as long as humanly possible
Like Schrodinger getting his A-levels, you can assume both the best and worst. The only way to stay in the comfort of your post-exam summer holiday bliss is to never open the envelope, ever.
10. Remember the basics
Breathe regularly and look both ways before crossing the street. Just in case that in all the excitement, you literally forget how to survive.
For all the latest news and views on A-level results day, please visit our specialist A-level results hub