Children's charity offers advice on how to help young people cope with exam results stress
As exam results day approaches Sarah Lambley, community fundraising manager for NSPCC Cambridgeshire discusses methods and solutions in helping young people during this stressful time.
"It has been revealed this week that Childline recorded a total of 1,414 counselling sessions in 2018/19 regarding exam result stress, this has increased by 50 per cent since 2014/15.
"A fifth of counselling sessions of this nature take place in August. The run up to this time can be daunting and to some – horrifying, the aftermath and dread of results day is often overlooked once the pen has been put down.
"Fears of failure, not achieving top grades or not getting into a chosen university are just some of the worries that can trigger stress, anxiety and other serious mental health problems. We all want our children to succeed, so what is the best way to support them during this time?
"It is vital that parents show support and don’t put too much pressure on their child to achieve high grades. We all want our children to succeed, however our own wants can sometimes be the trigger to these issues.
"Knowledge is power and sometimes for whatever reason we don’t achieve the results we want, but that doesn’t mean the game is over. If a young person’s results are not what they or you had hoped for remind them they can always retake exams and certain schools and colleges may allow you to retake some GCSEs whilst taking A-levels. Or perhaps students weren’t sure about what subjects to take and retaking new subjects is an avenue to consider as they’re still finding themselves as individuals.
"Any young person who is worried about exam results needs to know they’re not alone and they can seek support from Childline if the burden of their worries becomes too strong. We have trained counsellors who specialise in dealing with these exact issues and they will go above and beyond to support them.
"Teenagers can sometimes feel that their entire future lies with their results and the NSPCC wants to reassure them that that’s not the case. There are so many options out there, they can also get advice from a teacher or careers advisor as well as speaking with one of our Childline counsellors.
"If re-sitting an exam is an option then consider what extra help may be required this time around, so desirable results are achieved. The most important thing is talking to someone they can trust and getting advice on what to do next.
"Not getting the grades expected can mean losing a place at university, but Clearing is always an option and UCAS has plenty of information about how to go about securing a new place.
"Young people who are unsure what to do next can also attend open days which take place at certain colleges for GCSE and A-level students for advice and enrolment."
Cambridge Regional College – Advice Café, August 22 (9.30am-7pm), August 27 (9.30-4.30pm) and 29
Peterborough Regional College – Open Day, August 22 (TBC)
Sarah added: "It’s also important that good grades are acknowledged and where possible rewarded during what is considered to be one of the most challenging times in a young person’s life."
Childline is always available for young people to contact for advice and support on 0800 1111 or at www.childline.org.uk
For more information regarding Clearing visit the UCAs website www.ucas.com/clearing-launch