How to Handle A-Level Results Stress

The stress of A-levels doesn't just disappear after you've sat the exams. Here's how to handle the long wait until results day - and how to prepare for if things haven't gone to plan.


Exam season can certainly be nerve-wracking. With the stress of revising, the anxiety you might feel when exam day arrives and the long wait for your results, it’s no wonder it can all get too much. 

If you’re anticipating Results Day and finding it difficult to relax, here are our top tips on how to keep those positive thoughts flowing when you need them most. 

1. Be prepared 

Take a pause and reflect on two scenarios: 

  • Allow yourself to visualise how you’d feel if you get the desired results and get into the university you’ve applied to.
  • Now consider things not going quite to plan. Remember, failing an exam does not make you a failure - it only means you will have to adjust your plans. Granted, it might take you a little longer than planned to reach your goals, but with persistence, you can still do it!

2. Make a Plan B 

Now that you’ve had time to think about how you feel if things don’t go your way, you can start doing some research and create a realistic Plan B. 

Applying to uni through Clearing isn’t uncommon and it’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of – it’s an opportunity to reconsider your options and there’s nothing wrong with that. 

However, it’s important not to rush into anything you're uncertain of. Deciding on a course that you wish to study or whether to attend university is a big commitment – this is why researching your options before Results Day is a good idea. If Clearing ends up being your way forward, you’ll be a step ahead of the rest if you’ve faced this prospect in advance. 

If Clearing isn’t for you, consider an apprenticeship, a foundation year or even taking a gap year. Our A-level results article offers lots of practical advice. 

3. Change the way you use social media

Let’s face it, it's almost impossible to avoid social media these days, so why not use it productively rather than avoiding it altogether?

If you're sceptical about your results, try to ignore celebratory posts from your friends. Why not participate in forums with people going through the same phase and discuss your options or share your thoughts? Sometimes it helps to know that you're not in this alone. 

4. Don't compare your results to others'


No two people are the same. Some people are academic, others are more practical and then there’s those with a flair for creativity. If friends are more positive about their results, just try and remember; everyone has different goals and strengths and there is no right or wrong in deciding what to do next. It's your life and your choice. 

5. Share your thoughts

If you feel that your anxiety is taking over, don't ever shy away or be too embarrassed to ask for support. Share your thoughts with your friends, family or tutor and if necessary, seek professional help. Sometimes, all you need is a pep talk to stop doubting yourself.

Ever considered an alternative to traditional uni?