How to stop obsessing over results day and actually get the grades

How to stop obsessing over results day and actually get the gradesAre you worrying so much about results day that you're paralysed into in-action and not doing any revision?

In this blog post, I'm going to show you how to get out of flight mode and into fight mode so that you actually get those grades.

Fight or flight?

If you're stressing over results day and it's stopping you from actually doing the work to get the grades, it's probably because your stress response has put you into flight mode.

You know how they talk about our primal responses to fear, like a caveperson (let's be P.C. about our ancestors) seeing a sabre-toothed tiger – they could either stand their ground and fight, or they could flee from the scene to save their life?

Now, I'd think it was very sensible to flee from a sabre-toothed tiger (although I'm not an expert in such situations). But, I can tell you for sure that flight is not the way to get the grades you want and deserve.

What do I do?

My response in situations that threaten my goals and dreams is always to fight.

  • When I was studying for my GCSEs and I realised about three months out that things were getting serious, I gave up watching my daily dose of Aussie soaps (Neighbours and Home and Away) and put that extra time, very determinedly, into my revision.
  • When I was studying for my A Levels with the goal of getting into Cambridge I knew it was a tall order to get the five As I wanted. So, I set my stall out to fight for it through the whole two years in the sixth form.
  • When I applied for a teaching job in the town where I lived at a school I really admired I put my absolute all into the interview. When they told me they'd offered the job to someone who wasn't actually there on the interview day I wouldn't leave the head teacher's office until he told me the true reason why I didn't get the job – because I knew I couldn't have done anything more and I couldn't live with myself knowing that I'd given my all and failed. After much insistence, he told me that the guy they'd offered the job to had previously worked at the school, that they couldn't find a single thing wrong with me, but it was a case of better the devil you know.  A few weeks later he phoned me while I was on a sixth form geography field trip in Swanage to say that the other guy had pulled out and they did want to give me the job.
  • When my book, The Ten Step Guide to Acing Every Exam You Ever Take  was published I was desperate to get it in the national media. I thought The Telegraph had the perfect slot in their family and features section on a Thursday. So, I phoned them and asked who was in charge of that section. I sent three emails all of which were ignored. I was on the verge of giving up, but I had such confidence that my piece was perfect for them that I phoned the switchboard again and they gave me a different name. This time I had an immediate response to my first email – but I still had to send two more emails to get the piece was published, which sent my book, temporarily, to number 106 on the Amazon best seller list.
  • When I first launched my flagship study skills course, The Exam Success Formula, and nobody seemed to be taking any notice a week away from the course starting, I dug my heels in, brainstormed all the ways that I could get people to sit up and take notice and I worked like stink for a week to (almost) reach my stretch goal for the number of people I wanted on the course.

What should you do?

If you're spending hours stressing about results day and wondering ‘what will happen if I don't get the grades?' stop right there.

The time when you can change the outcome on results day is NOW.

The time when you can change the outcome on results day is NOW. You have to do the work, and you have to do it now. Share on X

No amount of stressing and panicking or wondering what your fate will be if you don't do the work is going to rescue this situation. You have to do the work, and you have to do it now.

So, sit down, take some deep, grounding breaths and dig deep to think of everything you can to do to secure those grades. Some ideas might be:

  • Memorising tricky equations, terminology, quotations or grammar structures
  • Laying out processes that you find complicated to understand or tricky to remember in process maps
  • Doing past papers (and marking them) until you're going cross-eyed
  • Teaching your mum or dad the entire specification for all of your subjects to make sure that you understand them

Then get to work.

What you shouldn't do

Whilst you need to step-up, stop wallowing in a pit of potential shame at maybe not getting the grades, and actually do the work, there are also some things you absolutely should not do. These include:

  • Staying up all night to study. You will do better if you have a good eight hours sleep every night. And, yes, that means you need to leave your phone in a different room while you're trying to get your kip.
  • Snacking on junk food at your desk rather than taking revision breaks. If you want to get the top grades you need to treat your body and your brain like a temple – similar to how an athlete preparing for the Olympics would treat their body and mind
  • Give yourself revision breaks – a time to process what you are learning and look after your mental and physical health
  • Take some time to move your body. Whether this is going for a walk or run in the fresh air, or just doing a short yoga practice to relieve the stress

Over to you…

Your grades are in your hands. They are yours to either achieve or squander. And, the only time that you can make any real impact on those grades, is now. So, stop asking me how you should handle results day if your grades are disappointing, get out of flight mode and start doing everything you can do to fight for your dreams. I believe in you. Make it happen.

Your grades are in your hands. They are yours to either achieve or squander. And, the only time that you can make any real impact on those grades, is now. Share on X

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