CHILDLINE ADVICE: Getting exam results can be a worrying time for teenagers

Teenagers everywhere have had a very unusual year, as the pandemic caused enormous disruption to their lives and education.

Monday, 9th August 2021, 12:00 am
“Some young people said they struggled to prepare and do the work they were being graded on due to having so much time out of school.”

This week, with the release of A Level and GCSE results, their school careers will have come to a head, but the expectations around their grades can cause them significant concerns.

Every year, our Childline counsellors speak to thousands of young people who are worried about their exam results and what they could mean for their future.

Between April and June this year, Childline delivered more than 1,800 counselling sessions to young people who were concerned about their exams – that’s more than double the amount delivered in the same period in 2020.

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In well over a third of those sessions (43%), young people told our counsellors they were worried about their mental and emotional health.

We know results day and the period running up to it can be a challenging time, and the impact of the pandemic has made this even more difficult for young people, so it is vital they are supported and listened to.

Young people have told us they’re concerned that they may get lower grades than if they’d been able to sit their exams, or that their results are out of their control - whereas others are concerned that they won’t get the results they need for their future.

Some said they struggled to prepare and do the work they were being graded on due to having so much time out of school. Whatever they are concerned about, we’d urge young people to speak to someone about their worries.

It’s important to discuss their feelings and remind them not to compare themselves to their friends. Help them write a list of their options if their results aren’t what they’d hoped for, and take some time to think about what they could do next.

But if they don’t want to open up straight away, be patient and supportive. Remind them they can speak to Childline for free and confidential advice on 0800 1111 – there are also message boards where they can speak to other young people at which they might find helpful.