The day that strikes fear into young people up and down the country is fast approaching – it’s the dreaded GCSE results day. No matter how many times you go through it as a pupil or as a teacher, it can be incredibly nerve-wracking that your combined efforts in the child’s learning over the past couple of years can be summed up in just one paper. But it is unavoidable.
Given that students have just had a pretty lengthy time off school for the summer holidays, the shock of handling GCSE results day can feel a little too much to bear. Here, we list some ways that you can help your pupils feel more confident when opening their GCSE results – regardless of what they actually achieve…
Advise Students To Get A Good Night’s Sleep
When we’re feeling anxious, it can be even more difficult than usual to make sure we’re getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep a night – however, dealing with the stress of results day can feel even worse if pupils haven’t slept a wink. Not to mention, there can be some pretty big decisions that need to be made based on the results themselves!
A few things you could suggest to your students to help them get some much-needed shut-eye are:
• Staying off social media at least an hour before bedtime
• Getting into bed earlier than usual
• Avoid TV and computers
• Try reading a book, or listening to some relaxing music
Encourage Them Not To Compare Themselves To Others
A common theme among many young people is that they often compare themselves to their peers – which can lead to quite severe anxiety and depression. One particular day that can trigger these feelings of inadequacy compared to friends is results day.
If they haven’t performed as well as their friends have, it won’t matter to them that they’ve outperformed themselves. Remind them of their individual strengths, and encourage them not to ask around their friends for their results without first stopping to understand their own.
Show Them How To Interpret Their Results
We all remember opening our own results only to be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information piled onto the page, right? In all of the excitement and nervousness, it can be easy to forget the months of marking schemes that they’ve been presented within the classroom, and even easier to become swallowed up with all of the numbers and letter that sum up the past few years of school.
You can put together a cheat sheet for students to take along with them on the day, that shows them where to look over the papers for the most important figures, and what the grade boundaries are.
Reassuring Students That Their Efforts Are Enough
In the worst-case scenario where a student’s results might no live up to their expectations, it can be very disheartening. The pupil might also feel demotivated, which can be particularly dangerous if there’s a chance that they might have to resit the exam.
In those moments, it’s important to remind them that you’ve recognised that they worked really hard – after all, that is half the battle in the first place. Reassure them that they’ve done everything they can, and that there’s no need to worry. A kind word of one of the most stressful days of their young lives is sure to go a long way!
Supply Them With Advice On Resits, If They Need Them
In the sad event that a student has not achieved the grades they need for further study at college, then they might like to consider a resit, or to have a paper remarked if you both suspect that a mistake has been made.
This year, English Language and Maths GCSE retakes will happen in November 2019, whereas other subjects can only be retaken as of June 2020 (but might vary with each individual school). Make sure children and parents are aware of these timelines, to help them plan accordingly.
Preparing For The Next Steps – Apprenticeships, A-Levels
It’s likely at this point that most students have an idea in their heads what they’re likely to do once they’ve received their all-important grades – for example, some might have college placements that are dependent on the grades they achieve on results day, whereas others might move into apprenticeships.
Regardless, reassure your students that you’re there for a chat about their next steps – whether that’s resits, or moving into the next stage of their educational lives.