PARENTS

When Is A-Level Results Day? Information And Advice For Parents On Dealing With Exam Results

03/08/2015 15:56 BST | Updated 10/08/2015 10:59 BST

A-level results are released on Thursday 13 August 2015 and it can be a stressful day for both students and parents.

Teenagers can feel as if their future depends on the grades printed on that paper, so it's up to parents to calm them down and make sure they know their options.

But let’s face it, it's hard enough to keep your own emotions in check when you’ve supported your child throughout this stressful time and you’re desperate for them to do well.

John Carberry, careers adviser for the UCAS Exam Results Helpline told HuffPost UK Parents: "Don’t panic! A huge number of the calls that we take on the helpline are from students panicking they haven’t got the grades that they need to get into their university of choice.

"The first thing that we would say to a student is to try to calm down so that we can talk through their options effectively. This goes for parents too – if you can keep calm and not panic, it will really help your teenager."

exam results

Carberry adds that for parents, preparation before the day is key.

What if she doesn't get the grade she hoped for?

Carberry encourages you to talk to your teenager about a plan B, perhaps even before results day comes around.

He said: "Get her to start thinking about other courses and or universities she would be prepared to consider in clearing, it will help her get a head start once she gets her results."

Dr Mark Winwood, Director of Psychological Services for AXA told HuffPost UK Parents: "In the days leading up to the results being released, take time to have a balanced and reassuring conversation with your child. It’s not unusual for children to be anxious, emotional and potentially snappy as pressure mounts.

"Ask about any worries or fears she might have – this is important so that you can give yourself the best chance of understanding where they are coming from. It will also help you to prepare for any negative outcomes, should they occur, on results day."

If your child is unhappy with her results, Carberry said calling the universities and colleges she's interested in during the day to discuss the course is absolutely vital.

He said: "If she is sufficiently well-prepared and can demonstrate her suitability and passion for the subject, she may be made a verbal offer which she can confirm later."

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Dr Winwood added: "Try not to panic or pass your disappointment or worry onto your child. It’s not fair and they’ll be feeling guilty or worried already.

"Plan ahead and look at the various options your child can take if their results aren’t want they’d hoped for. That will provide you with a great deal of reassurance too.

"Your child will be relying on you for guidance and support so it’ll make you feel better to be aware of alternative avenues as you can then better understand possible next steps of the journey."

What if my child has to re-take his exams?

If your son or daughter thinks that they could have got a better grade in specific subjects or modules, then it might be possible to re-sit the exam and reapply for uni next year.

Carberry said: "Your child will need to speak with their school about this as soon as possible.

"But there can be motivational challenges if it means revisiting old material and your child will to think carefully about this and whether or not that is the right course of action for him."

My child wants to have a gap year.

Carberry said this could be a great option: "Taking a gap year can be an effective way for your child to take time to think about all of their options," he said.

"Used constructively, gap years can look good on a CV and can provide an opportunity to gain some work experience, making applicants more of a valuable contender for university or for the work place."

What if my child doesn't want to go to university?

Going to university isn't for everyone and the Government's recent campaign for teens to "get in and go far" by working and learning has raised the profile of apprenticeships.

Catherine Sezen from the Association of Colleges said: "You may not know much about apprenticeships but they are a great way to earn and learn particularly if your son or daughter knows what job they want to go into.

"Many local and national companies now offer apprenticeships. Colleges can help find the right one and you can also find out more at www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship."

Most importantly, parents need to try to keep a calm head on results day.

Dr Winwood told HuffPost UK Parents: "Remember that worry will get you nowhere and you may pass the stress that you are experiencing on to your child.

"Take a step back to give yourself the best chance of supporting them. They’ll be looking to you for reassurance and it’s important that you provide the support that they need in advance of receiving their results."

For more information, the UCAS Exam Results Helpline offers advice to parents as well as students: 0808 100 8000.

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