What to do after exams

Exam season is nearly over. And after so many months of build-up, it’s easy to forget what normal feels like. The whole family has been laser-focused and it’ll take a while to wind down and stop worrying about how things went.

Here are our tips for moving out of exam gear and easing into the long, well deserved summer holidays.

  1. Celebration time
  2. Reward
  3. Reflect
  4. Think ahead

1. Celebration time

As soon as the pens are down and the papers have been collected for the last time, your child should feel the weight lifted from their shoulders. All those months of revision, practice, exams and more revision is over, and your teen can enjoy turning over a new leaf.

No matter what level they’re at, this is a huge achievement for them, and an all-round celebration is well-deserved. Whether it’s a friend’s party, a celebratory meal at home or both, the end of exams is a perfect time to let their hair down. They can make up for some of the fun lost to revision, and start the process of winding down. Especially if they’re still feeling anxious about how they did, emphasising that it’s time for fun is a great way for you to help them out of exam mode.

2. Reward

Whether your child felt exams went well or badly, they should feel really proud to have finished. Show you’re proud of them with a small, rewarding gesture. If they’ve been worried about letting you down, or getting into the right university, taking note of what they’ve already achieved can make them feel more reassured.

You don’t need to go crazy with a big gesture, but something small that you know they’ll love (a day out, that t-shirt they really wanted, a special meal) will mark the moment and show them that you’re proud of them. Even just saying the words, “I’m so proud of you for finishing your exams’ can be more than enough to mark the moment.

3. Reflect

While it’s still fresh in their mind, your teen will probably want to chat about how everything went. It’s hard to know how they really did from what they say, but for them it’s great if they can talk it out while it’s still buzzing round their mind.

They might be fixed on one or two things they wish they’d done differently. It’s useful for them to say what’s worrying them, and get some reassurance from you.. Once they’ve vented though, it’s more helpful to leave it behind.

4. Think ahead

If exams are still haunting your child days or weeks later, try moving their focus to the future instead. Making a list of things to look forward to – either in conversation or written down – is a really nice way to start looking ahead.

Whether they’re moving from GCSE to A Level, or leaving school for uni or a gap year, it’s much more fun to make plans than it is to worry about past exams. They might want to think about what to study after school, or arrange a chat with a student at their chosen university. If they’re still deciding what A Levels (or equivalent) to take, they could do some extra research on different subjects to see what they like the most.

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