Five things to do before you open your exam results

The day has come that you’ve been waiting for all summer. Your hands tremble as the envelope is handed to you. You look nervously at your anxious friends. All around you people are screaming with joy or crying with disappointment. Before you open the envelope, why not to do these five things:

1. Pause

Offer a short prayer of thanks to God. Whatever happens, he has brought you this far. You might not get the results you want or even need but God is at your side. He’s got BIG plans for you. You can talk to him about everything and he’s got loads to say to you. He loves you exactly the same when you hold the envelope in your hand and after you’ve opened it.

2. Encourage your friends

Where you’ve seen your friends work hard in a particular subject or help someone else out when they were struggling, let them know their efforts have been seen by you. It’s days like this you really need your friends to celebrate or cry with. Look out for each other and tell them you’ll support them no matter what. It can be really hard when our friends do much better than us – it’s a powerful and courageous thing to swallow your pride and offer them your congratulations. You might even feel yourself growing a little taller as you do it.

3. Think again

Maybe you hated school or college, and you’re just glad to be out of it. But spare a thought for those who don’t get the access to education which we have in this country. More than 57 million children around the world do not even get to go to primary school, and at least 250 million can not read or count. These numbers rise dramatically for secondary school and further education. Without these basic skills, as children grow up they will struggle to lift themselves, and their families out of poverty. There’s no point in sitting around and feeling miserable about this or guilty for not being that bothered in the past; what we need to do now is make the most of the opportunities which we have been given and live a different kind of life which empowers and releases others.

4. Decide what you could do differently next time

You might have got a stack of A*s to your name but there’s always something to learn for next time you have to do exams or go through a stressful, demanding period. Maybe you needed to give yourself more time off and spend time with your friends or family. Maybe you know you could have worked harder and don’t want to waste an opportunity like that again. Or it might be that you’re starting to learn more about what your passions are and getting a sense of what the future might hold. Try to remember those things and use them to shape future decisions which you make or actions you take.

5. Get some perspective

Those little letters on that small sheet of paper could be worse than you thought, or exceed all your expectations. If you’ve failed or triumphed, it’s a good idea on results day to get some perspective. There are some grave situations in the world right now; the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Gaza and the Central African Republic are devastating the lives of millions of people and a famine threatens South Sudan. Increasing numbers of people are living in fragile, dangerous and tragic situations. Spare a thought for them today. Ask yourself what you could do to help them. Remember that you have your whole life ahead of you to Live Different and that a few letters on a page do not define who you are or what you are capable of. You have it within your hands to do something truly amazing and turn the lives round of many, many people. Irrespective of your grades, the future is what you decide to make of it.



    This is really insensitive. Grades aren’t everything but people shouldn’t be made to feel guilty that “other people have it worse”. I was really happy with my C,D and E in my AS results because of the incredibly hard year I had I was expected all Us. Everyone’s circumstance is different and this article is ignorant.

    Hi Hannah. I’m sorry that you feel this article was insensitive. It was an attempt to help people have a bit of a bigger perspective if they did feel disappointed (or even happy) with their results. I really didn’t want to make anyone feel guilty at all. Maybe you’d like to write a follow up piece for me – or let me know what kinds of things you would like to write about. It’s amazing that you got those grades even though you had a hard year. Congratulations!