A-Level results day: what are the next steps for disappointed students?

Thousands left disappointed as nearly 40% have their results downgraded

Teenage Boy Disappointed With Exam Results

Last week’s A-Level results day has left thousands of students disappointed after an algorithm designed by exam regulator Ofqual saw 39% of grades being lowered from teachers’ predictions. Particularly impacted are those students educated in lower socio-economic areas. Despite the promise of a “triple lock” system – which should have allowed students to select a previous grade achieved in a mock examination as their final result – Ofqual over the weekend retracted the criteria to define such an event.

This summer marks a highly stressful period for students in the UK – already, they have experienced the most disrupted year of education for the past 75 years. Now, students are waiting on the final say for the appeals process to know whether they have secured the grades they hoped for or even university places.

For those parents who are wondering how to support their teens who may have not been awarded the grades they were hoping for, MyTutor – the UK’s leading online tutoring platform – has tips on how to help with exactly this.

Stay calm!

As a parent, you might be feeling the stress now too, and noticing it in your teen. If they seem agitated, remember that it is not your fault. Try to be reassuring and let them know that you have their back, no matter how their results turned out. If they do not receive the qualifications they were hoping for, remember that there are solutions – whether that be sitting a make-up exam or starting an appeals process – and make sure that you teen is aware of the options too.

See friends (safely)

This period is tough for all teens and now that lockdown is being lifted in stages, they should be able to meet up with a friend providing social distancing rules are observed. Being able to speak to someone who is going through the same situation and experiencing the same anxieties is always reassuring. Plus, it will provide some much-needed social interaction that teens have probably lacked during the past few months of lockdown.

Prepare for make-up exams

Ofqual announced that for those who are unhappy with their grades, there will be a change to sit exams in the Autumn. Should your teen elect to take these, you can help keep their revision on track. Setting small goals and testing them on topics they have studied will help keep up their motivation through the summer. MyTutor’s online tutors can also help; all of their tutors are university students themselves who will have been through the exam process recently and who know the syllabus back to front.


Let them take control

If your teen is worried about what might happen now after results day, encourage them to research all their options and resist the urge to do it for them. You can certainly guide the research – perhaps there is an apprenticeship they have not considered or a college in the local area with slightly lower grade boundaries that still runs courses on their chosen topics. By letting your teen do the research, they can gain a sense of control at a time when they may feel things are spiralling away from them. Putting a plan in place for next steps will provide reassurance after this tense results day.

Promote active screen time

As we are in the summer holidays, teens may struggle to feel motivated and may be tempted to spend hours on their phones instead of revising. Active screen time refers to the time spent on devices where kids are engaging with material – such as taking a quiz or watching a historical drama – whereas passive screen time involves activities like scrolling through social media or watching reality tv programmes. To help keep teens occupied, there are some really great shows on Netflix and the BBC that have educational value. You can rest easy knowing that your teen is spending their screen time wisely and they feel like they are having some much needed down-time.