Navigating Exam Results Stress: Tips for Young People and Families

Across Northern Ireland, thousands of young people will be anxiously awaiting the outcomes of their A-Levels and GCSE exams. The culmination of months of hard work and preparation; exam results day can evoke a mix of emotions in young people, from anticipation and excitement to stress and worry. In this article, we explore ways to recognize, manage, and help support young people to deal with stress, and aid both students and families in this challenging period. We have also prepared a handy guide with tips and links which you can download below.

Understanding Exam Results Stress

Feeling worried or anxious about exam results is completely normal. It’s essential to recognize the impact that this stress can have on mental and physical wellbeing. Individuals may experience disrupted sleep patterns, changes in appetite, persistent headaches, and difficulty in concentrating. To support young people during this period, both awareness and proactive strategies are key.

Support Strategies for Young People

  • Open Up and Talk: Don’t bottle up your emotions – remember, you are not alone, there are thousands of young people who will be feeling exactly the same way. Reach out to friends, family, or teachers as they can provide valuable insights and comfort.
  • Prepare for Different Outcomes: Plan for the best and worst outcomes, and what to do if you don’t get the results you need. Researching your options for the next steps is positive and proactive. Regardless of the outcome, plan something nice to do on results day as a treat, this can provide a sense of relief, and reward for your efforts.
  • Maintain Routine and Hobbies: Keeping busy and engaged can be a powerful distraction. Continue pursuing your hobbies and maintain your daily routines. This can prevent overthinking and provide a sense of normality.
  • Seek Support on Results Day: Having someone with you when you get your results may help ease your anxiety. A friend, family member, or teacher can offer reassurance and guidance. A good support network can help you as you discuss your options and make informed decisions moving forward.
  • Avoid Unhealthy Comparisons: In the age of social media, the urge to compare yourself to others can be strong. Remember, everyone has different strengths and areas of growth. Success should be measured against personal achievements and goals.

Advice for Parents/Guardians

  1. Provide Encouragement: Show interest in your child’s academic journey, but avoid placing excessive pressure on them. Your encouragement can motivate them without increasing their stress levels.
  2. Recognize their hard work and effort, regardless of the outcome. Praising their determination can boost their self-esteem and resilience.
  3. Remind young people that exam results are just one aspect of their abilities. Encourage them to see their strengths and potential beyond the results.
  4. Be available to listen without judgment. Your support can make a significant difference in how they perceive and handle stress.

Exam result stress is a natural response to a significant life event, but it doesn’t have to define a young person’s self-worth or future direction. By fostering open communication, preparing for various outcomes, and offering consistent encouragement, we can empower young people to navigate this chapter of their lives with resilience and confidence. Remember, exam results are just one part of a larger journey toward personal growth and achievement.

Download our guide for young people:

Dealing with Exam Results Stress & Anxiety: A guide for Young People

Donate to AMH

Make a secure, online donation to AMH or set up a fundraising page through Just Giving.

Make a Donation

Set up a Direct Debit

Set up a JustGiving Fundraising Page


Step inside Action Mental Health and you'll find talented people working together to improve the lives of everyone living with mental health needs.

View all careers