The pain of disappointing A level results never goes away

By Anne Welsh – Founder and CEO Painless Universal
August 17th, 2020.

In the UK a much-delayed process of allocating university places has just taken place.  This process is a yearly ritual that results in overwhelming joy for some, and always despair for others as a number of students open their grades to see their predicted scores downgraded, with some missing out on a place at university as a result. 

This is not unexpected, as in a typical year 75% of students don’t receive their predicted grade from their teachers.  Regardless, the pain of downgraded results this year will be acute.  Students feel powerless because of COVID-19 impacts where schools have been shut and they can’t write the exams that they have studied so hard for.  The given marks are based on past work and practice exams and thrown into a statistical algorithm that spits out modified grades; this process can be very unfair.     

Any student that received lower grades is now faced with life changing decisions and their parents will be similarly challenged in supporting their children during this difficult time.  Putting in action a positive way to this toxic situation is so important.  So what are some common sense steps that should be taken?

  1. Allow yourself to grieve and fully comprehend the disappointment you are feeling.

First and foremost, you need to allow yourself to feel disappointed and hurt. You must push yourself into the positive place where you need to build yourself back up and keep going, but don’t fell pressured to do this straight away.

  1. Work out what happened and how you can improve

“The real failure is the one from which we learn nothing” – John Powell

When you’re ready, it’s time to work out where you might have lost marks or not met the requirements for the exam or on your past schoolwork.

This is where your supporting circle of friends and family can play an important role.  It’s a difficult task to confront your mistakes or weaknesses and having open conversations that are open and honest will help you progress much quicker than if you rely on yourself to validate this knowledge.  But, mistakes are part of everyday life and not something you should ever apologise or for guilty for. Making mistakes throughout exams is inevitable if you’re challenging yourself; however,  if you lose marks multiple times for the same errors, you need to work on accepting and tackling the reasons behind the mistake.

Below are some introspective questions you should answer:

Do you struggle to stay motivated? Or are you constantly procrastinating?  

Why are you studying?

What are you hoping to achieve? 

For technical courses, are you committed to doing repetitive questions and going back and revisiting that knowledge? 

How do you approach English writing tasks and are your answers clear or confusing?

Do you spend enough time revising? Are you using the best methods to prepare you for your exams? 

Test this with your past teachers or tutours as a ways of verification you are are on the right track. 

  1. Become confident by building yourself back up

Just because you have failed does not mean YOU are a failure.

Achieving a university degree is a long and difficult journey. If it was easy, everyone would have done it. You will hit bumps in the road that make you falter. But it’s important to move forward and not turn back. 

Pick some things in your life that bring you happiness and concentrate on them in the near term.  This is a great way of easing into the next item on the list that you must do.  It is an action you must undertake as regardless of the outcome it will create a sense of self-worth and confidence will just flow in.

  1. Build a plan and set it in motion.

The plan can be anything.  You see humans are adaptive.  Be driven by your passion and whatever the outcome is, make sure you forecast enough time to make your plan achievable.

Share this plan and take onboard critiques as it should always be improved on. 

You CAN do this.

Read also:  When fear can be turned positivity according to Warren Buffet.(Opens in a new browser tab)

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