'You are NOT your exam results': A message for anyone worried about A-level grades

Ezra Hewing for Suffolk MIND feature.

Ezra Hewing, of Suffolk Mind, assured students that disappointment over exam results will, in time, pass - Credit: Gregg Brown

Exam results day can be a stressful enough time for students without it coming after another school year disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Between April and June this year, Childline delivered 1,812 counselling sessions to young people with concerns relating to exams – compared to 861 sessions during the same period of last year.

Last summer, thousands of A-level results were downgraded from school estimates by a controversial algorithm before Ofqual announced a U-turn.

This year, students will receive grades determined by teachers, rather than exams, and based only on what was taught during the pandemic.

Mental health and wellbeing service provider, Suffolk Mind has offered some advice to anyone feeling apprehensive about picking up their results and not achieving their desired grades.

Ezra Hewing, Head of Education at Suffolk Mind, said: “It can be hard to handle the stress which comes with disappointing exam results.

"This is particularly the case if they affect our expectations about university placements and other plans for the future.

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“The first thing to do is to take some time out to try and relax and calm down. Then, try to keep in mind that, while the way you feel about your current situation may feel fixed and beyond your control, this too shall pass.

"It is unlikely that you will still feel the same about your exam results in a year or two, and you may have even forgotten about them altogether in five to 10 years. This is because you will have been too busy learning and growing in other areas of your life.

“Secondly, remember that exams are not learning – they are a way of testing what examiners are looking for. This means that you are NOT your exam results.

"What employers are really looking for when they interview you are your personality strengths. This is especially true following lockdown, which has changed workplaces forever.

"More than ever before, employers will be on the lookout for people with determination, reliability, conscientiousness, positive attitude and willingness to learn new skills – all things which you can’t tell from exam results.”

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