Exam results in 2022 in the UK have been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The overall pass rate has fallen from 99.5 percent last year to 98.4 percent this year. The proportion of A grades has fallen too. In 2021, about 44.8 percent of students received an A grade or above. This year, only 36.4 percent of students received the top grades.
The exam results were adjusted to reflect the A-levels midway between 2019 and 2021. Ofqual, the exam watchdog of England, said that this was done due to provide a safety net for students who faced disruption due to the pandemic and could miss out on a higher grade for that reason.
This is the first time since 2019, A-level grades in public exams have been affected by disrupted learning due to the pandemic. UCAS admission services revealed that last year, the number of students accepted into their first-choice or second-choice universities was a record high. This year, the number of students accepted into their first or second-choice universities is second highest.
Here are some tips from experts for students who are disappointed over not receiving the outcome they expected:
It is natural to feel disappointed and even sad when you do not receive the grades you were expecting. Give yourself time to process these emotions. Some of the ways to do it are by talking to someone about how you feel, writing down your thoughts, or listening to music.
You may also want to have a good cry or scream aloud. This will help you release pent-up emotions. Once you have embraced and accepted your emotions, you will be in a better frame of mind to deal with the situation.
Once you have acknowledged and accepted your feelings, you can start to move on.
Recognize If You are Indulging in Unhealthy Ways of Coping with Pain
Drinking alcohol, using drugs or overeating are some unhealthy ways of coping with pain. These may give you temporary relief but will not help you in the long run. Some of the other popular things people do to avoid their pain are watching too much television, sleeping a lot, or staying glued to social media.
These activities may make you feel better for the moment but will not help you deal with the root of the problem. If you find yourself indulging in any of these activities, it is time to take a step back and reassess your coping mechanisms.
And if you are going back to them too often, it is important to seek professional help. The awareness itself will help you change your coping mechanisms for the better.
Practice Healthy Coping Skills
Exercise, journaling, relaxation techniques, and hobbies are some of the best ways to deal with disappointment.
Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting properties. Journaling helps you vent out your feelings and also see the situation from a different perspective. Relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation help you calm down and cope with stress in a healthy way.
Engaging in a hobby is also a great way to distract yourself from negative thoughts and emotions. When you are busy doing something you enjoy, you will not have time to think about the things that are bothering you.
Some other healthy ways of dealing with disappointment are spending time with friends and family, talking to a counsellor or therapist, and listening to motivational podcasts. Many students swear that watching stand-up comedies and TEDx talks work well to cheer them up.
Identify Irrational and Inaccurate Beliefs
Does a B-grade on your ‘perfect’ report card lead you to think that you are not good or intelligent enough? Do you believe that your future is ruined because you didn’t get into your dream university? Or your grades will be a roadblock in your career?
These are some of the irrational and inaccurate beliefs that can fuel negative emotions. If you find yourself thinking these things, it is important to challenge them. You need to remind yourself that a grade is just a number and does not define you as a person.
Some less-than-perfect grades will not have any bearing on your future. The most important thing is to learn from your mistakes and keep moving forward. In the end, it will be your skills, abilities, and hard work that will help you succeed in life, not your grades.
Practice Positive Affirmations
A great way to deal with disappointment is to practice positive affirmations. These are short, powerful statements that help you change your mindset and boost your confidence.
Some of the positive affirmations you can say to yourself are:
- “I am capable of achieving anything I set my mind to.”
- “I am not defined by my grades.”
- “I am strong and resilient.”
- “I will not let disappointment bring me down.”
- “I am capable of overcoming any obstacle.”
These affirmations will help you view the situation in a more positive light and give you the strength to move on.
You can make them more detailed and upbeat. For example:
- “I will learn ____________ to get better marks next time.”
- “I am grateful for the ____________ I have received in this test.”
- “I will use this opportunity to improve my ____________ skills.”
- “I will not let this setback deter me from my goals.”
- “I am confident and capable of bouncing back from this.”
Whenever you feel down about yourself, repeat these affirmations to yourself until you start believing them.
Adjust Your Responsibility Level Appropriately
If you have done your best and still don’t get the results you wanted, it is important to adjust your responsibility level appropriately. This means accepting that there are some things beyond your control and you cannot do anything about them.
For example, if you didn’t get an A in your exam because the questions were very difficult, it is not your responsibility. However, if you didn’t study enough or didn’t understand the concepts, then it is your responsibility.
When you take full responsibility for your actions, it will be easier for you to accept the situation and move on. On the other hand, if you try to blame others or the situation, you will only end up feeling angry and resentful.
You have to decide what you could do in the past and what you can do not to amend the situation. Anything beyond your control should not be given too much importance.
Read Anecdotes of People Who Failed and Bounced Back (and How They Did It!)
Many, many people have faced disappointment and bounced back stronger. You can find their stories in books, on websites, and even in real life. These stories can motivate and inspire you to keep going, even when things are tough.
Some of the people who have overcome adversity and achieved success are J.K. Rowling, Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, and Abraham Lincoln.
- J.K. Rowling was rejected by 12 different publishers before her Harry Potter series was finally accepted. Steve Jobs was fired from his own company, Apple, in 1985. He went on to create Pixar Animation Studios and NeXT Computer. He later returned to Apple in 1997 and turned it into the most valuable company in the world.
- Oprah Winfrey was molested by her cousin, father, and family friends as a child. She ran away from home at age 13 and became pregnant shortly afterward. She later turned her life around and is now one of the most successful talk show hosts in the world.
- Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. He used this disappointment to motivate him to become one of the greatest basketball players in history.
- Abraham Lincoln faced many setbacks in his life, including being orphaned at an early age and failing in business. He went on to become one of the most successful presidents in American history.
These stories show that it is possible to overcome disappointment and achieve great things. YouTube videos can also be good sources of inspiration if you use them wisely.
Learn Your Lessons
Disappointment can be a great teacher if you let it. It can show you what you need to work on and how you can improve. Once you have identified your weaknesses, make a plan to address them. Set realistic goals and take small steps towards achieving them.
For example, if you didn’t get an A on your math test because you need to work on your problem-solving skills, make a plan to practice math problems for 30 minutes every day.
It is also important to learn from your mistakes so that you don’t repeat them in the future. If you didn’t do well on your test because you didn’t study enough, make sure to study more for your next test.
Not-so-perfect grades can be crucial pointers to:
- what areas do you need to focus on
- what study methods work best for you
- how you can better prepare for exams
- what resources do you need to use
- if you need help from a tutor or teacher
Use disappointment as a chance to learn and improve, and you will be one step closer to achieving your goals.
Plan Your Next Move
Planning what to do next can help you move on from your disappointment. Make a list of your goals and what you need to do to achieve them. Break down these goals into small, manageable steps.
Then, take action!
- Create a vision board: This is a board where you can put pictures and words that represent your goals. Seeing these goals every day will help you stay motivated and focused on what you want to achieve.
- Get a mentor: A mentor is someone who can help you achieve your goals. They can give you advice, introduce you to new opportunities and help you stay on track.
- Join a community: Many online and offline communities can support you in achieving your goals. These communities can provide motivation, inspiration, and advice.
- Set a deadline: Having a deadline for your goals will help you stay on track. Make sure these deadlines are realistic and give yourself enough time to achieve your goals.
Don’t just sit around feeling sorry for yourself. Do something that will help you move closer to your goals.
Learn to Get Rid of the Perfectionist’s Guilt
One of the reasons why disappointment is so difficult to deal with is because of the perfectionist’s guilt. This is the feeling that you should have done better and that you are not good enough.
This guilt can prevent you from taking action and moving on from your disappointment. It can also lead to negative self-talk and a lack of self-confidence.
To get rid of the perfectionist’s guilt, you need to learn to accept that no one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes and everyone has room for improvement.
Instead of beating yourself up, use your disappointment as a chance to learn and grow. Accepting your imperfections will help you move on from your disappointment and achieve your goals.
Talk to Someone Who Can Help
If you are struggling to deal with your disappointment, talk to someone who can help. This could be a friend, family member, therapist, or coach. Talking to someone who understands what you are going through can be very helpful.
They can offer support, advice, and encouragement. They can also help you see your situation in a different light.
If you don’t have anyone to talk to, there are many helplines and online support groups that can help.
Dealing with disappointment is not easy, but it is possible. By using these tips, you will be able to deal with your disappointment and move on to achieve your goals.