Falling short of the A-level grades that a student wants can be a frustrating, disheartening, and at times lonely place. Especially if they have worked really hard for the months (and indeed years) leading up to it.
At this time, it can be very difficult for students to pick themselves up and start working on what comes next – but it’s also very necessary.
There is no easy answer or set template to follow. Everyone’s situation is different. But to try to help, we have put together a five-step plan that we know from firsthand experience may offer some help.
1. Let your emotions out
Step one: don’t avoid the situation and don’t ignore the feelings that come with it.
Students should let their emotions out for a bit. It is natural to feel frustrated, angry and disappointed with their results. Accepting the situation and letting their emotions out can help them regroup and focus on what to do next.
However, this step does come with a word of warning. Whilst it’s important that students do let their emotions out, they shouldn’t dwell on it. It can be tempting to catastrophise, believing that the worst possible thing happened. Blowing this situation out of proportion will lead to a negative mindset, which may stop them from moving on and planning on what to do next.
2. Rely on their support system
It can be very isolating for students to get disappointing results, particularly when others around them are happy with their grades. Students should always remember they have a support system around them – whether that be their family, friends or teachers.
Going to someone they can trust and sharing their worries with them can make a huge difference. Asking for help and getting the support they need can also help students develop their resilience and deal with this setback.
3. Develop a sense of perspective
When students open their results, it can seem like those grades are their whole world. It can be a struggle for students to see the bigger picture during this time. However, it is important to remember that although these results might be life-altering, they don’t need to be life-defining. They are more than just their grades.
Seeing the big picture whilst you are currently living through it is difficult, but that perspective is exactly what is needed.
4. Make an action plan
It is important to plan out what to do next once students have accepted the situation – it is even better if students come up with that plan ahead of results.
No matter what they achieved, they always have plenty of options available to them: clearing, taking a gap year, gaining an apprenticeship for example. Being aware of their options can help students make a more informed decision on how they want to move forward.
Having an action plan can also allow students to feel more confident and have control over the situation. It can help them move on and realise that it is not the end of the world.
5. Learn from their mistakes
This final step is most effective when implemented sometime after students receive their results. It is important that they set aside time to reflect on what went well and what didn’t. Through this self-reflection, they can learn from their mistakes and take it on with them to achieve better things in the future.
One of the best ways that students can learn from their mistakes is by implementing the Triple A of learning. This is:
- Acknowledging their mistake
- Asking for feedback and advice
- Actioning the feedback
Receiving A-Level results can be a very stressful time for students, heightened even further when they don’t achieve what they wanted. For many, this can seem like the end of the world, and it can be very disheartening.
By letting their emotions out, relying on their support system, developing a sense of purpose, making an action plan and learning from their mistakes, they can turn this disappointment into a learning opportunity. It can also help students get over their results and turn this setback into a step forward in life.