How to reduce results day anxiety

How to reduce results day anxiety


Results day is a marker in the sand.

Not only does it tell your teen if their efforts over the previous two years have paid off it also significantly impacts what comes next for them. It is an undeniably important day. So of course, results day brings some level of anxiety. No matter how much we try to play them down these results influence their future and their self-esteem.


As the day approaches

It is possible for your child to be so focused on results day that their summer becomes clouded with trepidation and isn’t as relaxing or enjoyable as it should be after all the hard work and the stress of exams.


To take your child’s mind off the big day it is a good idea to help them get busy. Maybe this summer is the time for them to pick up a new hobby, get a job, or even go camping with their friends. Worries abate when they focus on other things like learning to play the guitar or doing their shift at the supermarket.

Volunteering is a particularly great option as it can help put their own lives into perspective and stop them focusing so much on themselves. It feels good to give and boosts feelings of self-worth completely unrelated to academic success. 

If stress is mounting do encourage your teen to exercise, eat well and to practice good sleep habits to keep their endorphins up and their cortisol down.

Contingency Plans

Prior to results day it is a good idea to explore and create a contingency plan. This isn’t being negative, it is being practical, and it will help bring sense of calm and order to a tense time.

Together with your teen it is a good idea to consider the following questions. 

  • What will happen if I get the results I want?
  • What will happen if I don’t?

Options abound if results don’t go to plan. They could consider retakes, going through clearing, getting work remarked. They may want to look into apprenticeships or even getting a job. Explore all these options with them so they know that if the results aren’t quite what they want and need they still have positive options and choices.

I would suggest that, if you wait till after results day when emotions are high, they may not hear these options with any clarity. Considering them in advance and perhaps even writing them down will be extremely helpful on the day if results don’t go their way.


On results day

If things go well then congratulations to you all, absolutely go and celebrate!

If they don’t then encourage your teen to …

Absorb, articulate and act.

You have a contingency plan so no one need panic.

Give your teen a chance to let the news sink in and encourage them to express how they feel. Try and offer support and a listening ear without judgement but then encourage them to get busy implementing plan B. The more intentional their actions at this time the more capable and less helpless they will feel. Once a new plan is in place any disappointment won’t seem so all-consuming.

If they are considering going through clearing time is of the essence so, do ensure they understand in advance that no matter how they feel they will need to act.

In spite of their results do celebrate with your child anyway (if they are up for it). Congratulate them on being the amazing young person they are, trying hard for so long and for the bright future they still have ahead of them.



Once the practicalities of next steps have been sorted your child may still be feeling despondent about their performance and thwarted plans. It might help them to hear about other people who have failed and gone on to great things and to understand there are many ways to be successful.

Successful failures

Think about a time you failed at something and how you turned that round and share it with your teen. They need to know people are not defined by setbacks but that much can be built off the back of them. For example, Michael Jordan, one of the best basketball players of all time, didn’t even make it on to his high school basketball team. This failure spurred him on. Isn’t that inspiring.

Many forms of success

Let your teen know that you see them as successful because they have grown to be …

  • Kind
  • Resourceful
  • Caring
  • A talented musician
  • A great cook
  • A good sister

or however you see them shine.

Let them know about all the aspects that you value and appreciate in them and encourage them to add some of their own. They are FAR more than their exam results, and this is absolutely the time to remind them of this.


Whatever results come in on results day they are quite simply a launch pad to the next step on your child’s journey. They will have bounced back before, and they will do so again.



Author of the Create Your Own series, Be You series and A Year of Nature Craft and Play, Becky Goddard-Hill is a children's therapist and former social worker with a specialism in child development. She is also a professionally qualified life coach and member of the National Council of Psychotherapists.

Becky runs several award-winning blogs and loves to write about many things, most especially about wellbeing and emotional health. She believes passionately in supportive communities and the healing, nurturing powers of nature and creativity.