Helping young people when they get exam results

Exam results time can be stressful for children and their parents. Before your child receives their exam results, you should take time to ask them about the results they're expecting. It's important they know you'll support and help them whatever their results.

Waiting for exam results

In the weeks before your child gets their exam results, you'll want to support them as they wait. You might be worried about:

  • them getting or not getting a place in the university or college they want
  • paying towards your child's education
  • your child leaving home
  • choosing the right accommodation for your child
  • how to support your child if they're disappointed by their results

This is a big life change in a family. Some preparation can help things move more smoothly.

When your child's disappointed by their exam results

If your child doesn't get the results they wanted, reassure them that they still have options but they might need a different route to the career they want. It's important that your child doesn't panic.

Encourage them to take their time about making decisions. They don't need to rush into deciding what to do next.

UCAS clearing system

If your child did A-Levels and applied for a university place, find out how to use the clearing system for UCAS. You'll know what to do if they don't get the results they need for their original university choices.

Further education colleges

If your child wants to go to a further education college, make sure you know who to contact for advice in case their grades aren't what were expected.

It's also worth contacting the university or college as it may still be possible to get a place with a lower grade.  

Going back to school

You may need to guide them firmly to go back to education and repeat their studies.

But you should be careful because young people sometimes might have a better idea than their parents as to what is good for them. Don't push them unless it is clear you're guiding them towards something they want to do.

Supporting your child

Listed below is some advice on supporting your child whatever exam results they achieve or educational and work path they choose:

  • you and your child need to communicate- this means both talking and listening to each other and it might help to get someone else such as a teacher, relative or family friend to help
  • put things into perspective - failing an exam isn’t the end of the world and everyone loses out at some time or other
  • your child can re-sit their exams using what they have learned this time round to do better or decide to go a different route next time - what is important is for you to look for positive ways forward and to consider all the options available and 100 per-cent supportive of them
  • whatever front they put on, your child probably cares deeply about their results and about your attitude towards them - encourage them to talk and reassure them that you are behind them and will support them whatever the results
  • separate what you might have wished for yourself at their age from what they wish for themselves now - support them in their dreams rather than pressurising them to do it for you

What your child does after exam results

Whatever the outcome, your child can get help and support. It’s a good idea to take time to explore their different options to make sure your child makes the best decision. 

You may also want to talk to a professionally qualified careers adviser who can give impartial information, advice and guidance on what choices are available.

More useful links

Share this page

What do you want to do?
What is your question about?
Do you want a reply?
Your email address
To reply to you, we need your email address
Your feedback

We will not reply to your feedback.  Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

This feedback form is for issues with the nidirect website only.

You can use it to report a problem or suggest an improvement to a webpage.

If you have a question about a government service or policy, you should contact the relevant government organisation directly as we don’t have access to information about you held by government departments.

You must be aged 13 years or older - if you’re younger, ask someone with parental responsibility to send the feedback for you.

The nidirect privacy notice applies to any information you send on this feedback form.

Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.
Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.

What to do next

Comments or queries about angling can be emailed to anglingcorrespondence@daera-ni.gov.uk 

What to do next

If you have a comment or query about benefits, you will need to contact the government department or agency which handles that benefit.  Contacts for common benefits are listed below.

Carer's Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912
Email 
dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Discretionary support / Short-term benefit advance

Call 0800 587 2750 
Email 
customerservice.unit@communities-ni.gov.uk

Disability Living Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912 
Email dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Employment and Support Allowance

Call 0800 587 1377

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Contact your local Jobs & Benefits office

Personal Independence Payment

Call 0800 587 0932

If your query is about another benefit, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

Comments or queries about the Blue Badge scheme can be emailed to bluebadges@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk or you can also call 0300 200 7818.

What to do next

For queries or advice about careers, contact the Careers Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Child Maintenance, contact the Child Maintenance Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about claiming compensation due to a road problem, contact DFI Roads claim unit.

What to do next

For queries or advice about criminal record checks, email ani@accessni.gov.uk

What to do next

Application and payment queries can be emailed to ema_ni@slc.co.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about employment rights, contact the Labour Relations Agency.

What to do next

For queries or advice about birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates and research, contact the General Register Office Northern Ireland (GRONI) by email gro_nisra@finance-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries about:

If your query is about another topic, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

For queries or advice about passports, contact HM Passport Office.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs), including parking tickets and bus lane PCNs, email dcu@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about pensions, contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre.

What to do next

If you wish to report a problem with a road or street you can do so online in this section.

If you wish to check on a problem or fault you have already reported, contact DfI Roads.

What to do next

For queries or advice about historical, social or cultural records relating to Northern Ireland, use the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) enquiry service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about rates, email LPSCustomerTeam@lpsni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about  60+ and Senior Citizen SmartPasses (which can be used to get concessionary travel on public transport), contact Smartpass - Translink.