So you haven't done as well as you'd like in your exams...

Firstly, it's not the end of the world.

You've put all the hard work in and even if you are worried you did not, there will be an option for you. Try not to panic at this stage and stay practical. Find out what your options are and gather information. If you can stay factual this might stop your thoughts from spiralling out of control. Write stuff down or have someone with you who will remember the information if you are starting to panic.

Is it really a disappointing result or just not quite right? Lots of courses will still accept you if there is only a minor drop in your expected grades. Speak to UCAS or your preferred university directly, most will be prepared with lots of staff on hand to answer queries.

Seek support from school staff. If you and your teachers agree the result really doesn't sound right, you may have scope to appeal or be remarked. Also consider if this stage is worth it? Can you do the next stage with the results you've got? I met a first year university student who was still resitting an a-level even though she got in, she totally regretted committing the money to resit when she didn't have to.

Secondly, self-care is the next step.

Once you have some information you may have to wait for the next stage. Go home or be with friends, turn to anyone you trust to listen and take your mind off it. It's ok to cry for a while, it's ok to get angry but remind yourself you haven't wasted your time and your life isn't over. Your life is just beginning. Many people who get far in life did not do well in exams. It was through dedication and persistence that they got to do what they want to do. You will find a way.

What can you do to have fun right now? Some of your friends will have done well. It may be disappointing for you to hear that but spending time celebrating with them will be a good distraction. They will have a moment to listen to you talk about your stuff.

If you are on holiday over results day, really just get on with your holiday! All the places won't be gone if you have to wait a few days to call. The whole system is set up and prepared for this. Having fun now won't hurt in the long run.

If your results mean you really don't know what to do now, or you've never known what to do, that's ok too. Really! This is when some people decide on some time out or getting experience. Do something you enjoy for now and a rubbish job to make some money if you have to. It all adds up, it all goes on your CV. All those bar jobs mean you gain amazing people skills. Just go for it!

What ever happens next you will be fine. School and carers and life might have spent the last 18 years telling you how important this was but it will pass, you'll tell funny stories next year about what you did and a few years on you will think "how did I ever do that?" Exams are some of the most stressful things you'll ever do, get through this and I'm sure you'll find yourself well prepared for the rest of life.