Tuesday 8th August 2017 – a date that will pass lots of people without too much thought. However, for thousands of students, that date has been etched onto their memories since before they sat their exams in May. It’s SQA exam results day!!
The stress. The time spent studying, day after day. The nagging parents (and tutor!). All for you to sit exams which you are brought up to believe are the most important thing you will do in your life.
While it is true that exams are important, they aren’t the difference between success and failure for the rest of your life. You decide whether your life is going to be a success, whether you sail through your exams with straight A’s or get a set of results which disappoints you. Only you know how much you understood, how much work you put in and how much you wanted to succeed in each subject. Therefore, it is only you that can reflect upon your work, effort and determination when you receive your exam results.
Little is said about reflecting upon your results. Reflection is something most of your parents will need to do on a regular basis at appraisals in the work place. As we grow up, we reflect upon everything – that is how we learn. This is how you should view your exam results – a learning curve from which you can use lessons to shape your future.
What to do when you get your results
Ok – it’s Tuesday 8th August and your results come through. Remember, this is an important day for you but your families also want to experience this day with you. If your results are straight A’s (which is much rarer than people realise), you may wish to spend some time telling friends and family. You should be pleased of your achievements and should celebrate them.
If your results are a mixed bag of the grades you wanted with some below your expectations, please do not be disheartened. Focus on the positives and remember that with some time to think about what you’d like to achieve, all is not lost. Celebrate your successes.
If the ‘worst’ happens and your results are what you constitute a ‘disaster’ then DO NOT PANIC. I’ve known many people over the years; friends, old students and even academics who have not managed to get the grades they required at school and have taken a few more years (in some cases 10-15 years) to get to where they want to be. Yes, it may be seen as easier to get your exams while at school, but I am a firm believer that if you want something enough – you will achieve it, regardless of your age!
My higher results caused me devastation back in 2004. As my family will attest to, the fact I only got one A grade was awful to me – I’d failed. However, I was the first person in my family to achieve highers. While they weren’t top grades by any means, I got myself into university, I got my first class law degree, started my own business and I’m publishing while working towards my PhD. I’m 30 in a few months, and I may not be in my ‘final’ job but I’ve learnt so much along the way. I’ve become more determined, more able to appreciate small successes along the way and thicker skinned. Ultimately, working with teenagers like yourself has helped me decide that I want to specialise in the rights of adolescents and children. We’ve all heard the saying, ‘what’s for you won’t go passed you’. So, regardless of your results, you’ll get there.
If your results mean that your university options are thrown into disarray, please do not panic – there are always options. You can speak to the university directly, or use UCAS Clearing. The road to success is never smooth for anyone, so this is merely a bump in the road.
Think of your friends
While celebrating all successes, please bear in mind that some of your friends may not feel particularly social over the exam results week. By all means, let them know you are there to chat if they want to. However, exam results are a very personal thing – if everyone got straight A’s the world would be a boring place! We all have our own strengths and weaknesses, so be supportive and not competitive with each other.
Friends are there to support each other so enjoy the rest of your school holidays as much as you can!
Parents and Family Support
Remember that stress you went through over exam time? Well, most of your parents went through very similar feelings. They instinctively want you to do really well in your exams so you have as many options in life as possible. However, they have no control over your results which is frustrating for them – and for you! Try not to get annoyed with your parents repeatedly asking if you are ok, or how your friends got on – just try to be honest with them.
Going forward – need a chat?
Having said that any set of results aren’t the end of the world, it is part of human nature that we tend to be hard on ourselves. If you want to talk, confidentially, about your results, or your options going forward then please get in touch. I’ve tutored for a long time and have helped tutoring students, and their friends around results day for many years. Sometimes having someone to speak to can make a huge difference and help you get that much needed perspective!
The Samaritans are also available if you find that easier.
Ultimately – remember that exam results do not dictate your future, unless you let them!
That said, in the words of Harry Potter:
‘Working hard is important.
But there is something that matters even more, believing in yourself.’
Facebook: Tracy Kirk, Galashiels – I can pass out my number from a private message
A note to parents and family: I know that you all want your children to achieve the best results they are capable of, so please be as supportive of your teens as possible. Focus on the positive results, the lessons learnt – which may be gradual over the next few weeks and month – please DO NOT make repeated comments about any ‘failures’ because it is this that they remember 10-15 years down the line. It’s not the fact they achieved a hard fought for B in Higher English, but the fact their Dad kept going on about that fail in Higher Chemistry. I’m about if any parent wants a chat about results and options going forward but please remember that it is really very difficult to build up anyone’s confidence, but especially that of an adolescent who wants to achieve so much with their life! Let’s keep positive, and look to options for the future. Solutions not problems!