Results day can be both exciting and daunting for any young person – whether it’s your GCSEs, Nationals, A levels, Highers, Advanced Highers, BTEC, degree, or other qualification. If you’re bereaved it can be especially difficult to experience this milestone in your life without someone special to you who has died. 

Is it normal to feel sad?

The absence of someone special to us can be felt keenly at key moments in our lives such as getting our exam results. It’s normal to feel sad but it’s also OK to feel happy if you’re pleased with your results and excited about the future. Muddled feelings can be confusing and it can help to share your feelings with someone else. 

Is it normal to feel alone?

It can be difficult when it feels that everyone around you has someone to share their happiness with or to comfort them if the news about their results isn’t what they had hoped. Try to share how you feel with someone such as a teacher you trust, a good friend or a family member. You might find it helpful to do something to remember your special person on the day, such as visiting somewhere important to them, talking about them or looking at photographs. 

Do I have to do the same as my friends?

There’s no wrong or right thing to do on results day if you’re bereaved or you might want a friend or family member to accompany you. If you’d rather receive your results alone to help you manage your feelings, that’s OK. It might help to talk to your school about what you’d like to do in advance. If you’d like to be with your friends when you open your results that’s OK too and it’s also OK to change your mind on the day. 

How can I look after myself?

Looking after your physical and mental health is important for everyone but when you’re struggling with difficult feelings it can be particularly important. Try to look after yourself in the lead up to results day and afterwards by keeping to normal routines if you can, getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet.  For ideas on things that help can help when you're grieving, see our A-Z of bereavement support tips. 

Is it OK not to be OK?

It’s OK not to be OK on results day. If you need support, you might find it helpful to talk to a friend, family member or teacher. If you find it easier to talk to someone outside your family, friendship group or school, you can call our Helpline or use LiveChat via our website.

What can help me in the future?

At exam results time, many young people will be thinking about their future and how their life is about to change; you may be about to go to university or college, start sixth form, embark on a new job or apprenticeship, or attend a new school. This can be an exciting time but also daunting and unsettling for anyone, and it can feel even more so if you’re bereaved. It can help to talk to someone about how you’re feeling like a teacher or family member who can support you and talk to you about what to expect for the next stage to help you feel more reassured and prepared. They may also be able to help you find out more about where you can access help and support should you need it.