THE BLOG

A-Level Disappointment Can Be Turned to Students' Advantage

15/08/2013 11:56 BST | Updated 15/10/2013 10:12 BST

Plenty of students will be collecting their A-Level results today but for some their grades will not be what they hoped for. Never fear though, because failing to achieve your hoped-for marks may actually be the best thing that ever happened to you.

For starters, if students open the envelope to discover that their predicted A grades are C grades they have to think how to cope straight away and do something proactive and positive, rather than sinking into the doldrums.

Acceptance is key here. Look to get it out of your system as soon as possible and look on the bright side. One of the first and most important steps is acceptance and accepting that you have not achieved what you wanted to achieve. This is not easy and can be quite challenging and it comes as a shock to people that they have not achieved what they wanted and they immediately wish things had gone better. Here, acceptance must come in as quickly as possible.

Then look to turn what happened to your advantage. So, in the case of A-Level results, look at other courses you can do and look to work with what you've got. Exploring other options and opening up other opportunities will help you move on. Also, keep perspective. This is not the be-all and end-all and what has happened doesn't mean that your life is over. In a way it presents an exciting new amount of challenges and opportunities.

Having got over the initial disappointment students discovering their A-Level results then have to think what are they going to do long-term. How can their disappointments be turned to their advantage over time?

Counterfactual thinking can be useful here. Look at what has happened and realise that it could have been worse. For example, if you hoped for three As in your A-Levels and have ended up with three Cs, think that it could have been worse and that you could have three Ds. Adopting this way of thinking helps you look on the bright side quicker and to move on.

There is also the idea that all things happen for a reason and that there is an underlying purpose to why things happen and that it helps to shape your path in life. This all helps with accepting what happened and what you now need to do about it. Perhaps things are also better because you have ended up doing something you prefer and which is better for you. That will happen to a lot of people.

It is always worth keeping in mind that disappointment can be turned into an opportunity. Life works out in different ways and disappointments like not achieving the A-Levels results you desired are part of life.

Finally, I have to pass on some advice on what not to do when dealing with disappointment and how to avoid absolute no-nos when it comes to reacting to failure.

The best thing I can say here is not to dwell on what happened. Realise that there are plenty of other opportunities so go out and grab them! There is no point in dwelling on it as you make it worse in the long-run. With that, I hope everyone gets the most out of today's A-Level results, whatever the grade!