Young Scot share guidance and mental health tips

Youth information and citizenship charity Young Scot outline how to access advice and support from mental health resources on dealing with exam results.

28 July 2023 - SQA - Categories: Advanced Higher, Awarding 2023 Programme, Higher, National 5

National Qualifications

Getting your results can be extremely overwhelming. Particularly if you didn’t get what you were expecting, but even if you don’t get all passes, you still have plenty of options to take the next step in your career or further education.

Whatever your results, there are lots of people on hand to help you as well as lots of places to find more help and support.


Your mental well-being

We have lots of information about how to look after your emotional wellbeing and mental health, discover support from organisations around Scotland and tips on how to promote a positive mindset which could help you cope with the potential stresses around Results Day.

#AyeFeel is our online resource hub that supports young people to look after their mental health and emotional wellbeing. It includes details on who to contact about mental health support, tips on managing anxiety, info on improving sleep and specialist information on dealing with stress around exams from the Mental Health Foundation.

To start, here are some tips on how to relax and de-stress.

Take your mind elsewhere

Take your mind off things by doing some relaxation exercises. Meet up with friends and chat about everything and anything, get lost in a good book, have a Netflix binge or go for a relaxing soak in the bath.

Get active

Exercise releases a chemical called endorphins, which make you feel happier. Going on a short run or a walk is also a great way to clear your head by getting some fresh air and taking in the sights and sounds of your local area.

Talk about it

While it’s a good idea to try and take your mind off of your worries by doing other fun activities, if you’re feeling very concerned about your results you should talk to a friend or relative about how you’re feeling. They should be able to give you some reassurance and advice, and help to cheer you up by looking at the bigger picture. If you’re not much of an open book, check out our advice for talking about your feelings.

Ditch the caffeine

Drinks that are packed full of caffeine, such as coke and energy drinks, raise your energy levels which can make you feel more stressed. You should consider steering clear of caffeine before you go to bed, or you could find yourself tossing and turning all night. Treat yourself to some hot chocolate, hot milk or a green tea instead.


Remember to celebrate

Whether you are up for a party or a bit unsure about your future… it’s good to have a little celebration of getting through those tough exams and getting your results.

Bake off!

Why not have a few friends round and ask them to bring their favourite kind of dessert – not only do people get to show off their cooking skills but you get to try out some new grub! Plus, cooking is a fun way to de-stress and gives you the opportunity to make something from scratch.


Throwback to the times when you didn’t have exams. Why not get your mates round to play board games, twister and all the fun things you used to do when you were younger? You could even dust off some old video games you used to play and have a fun night in. Or watch old Disney classics or TV series you used to love. Jelly, ice cream and goodie bags optional.

Play at the park

Bring a football, some picnic blankets, and have a day out. Exercise can be a great way to give you some endorphins that’ll boost your mood, and a tasty picnic lunch will be a great way to treat yourself. Have a go on the swings (you know you want to!)

Use your Young Scot card to have fun!

Grab your Young Scot card and get yourself a discount at the cinema – plus once the film is finished you can reward yourself with a yummy discount at Pizza Hut after. There are lots of other discounts available through Young Scot ideally suited to celebrating such as BRGR and Hard Rock Café.

It’s a great way to distract yourself, spend time with your mates, and not think too much about your results.

If your next step is to take a year out and you’re planning on visiting other countries, you can get a discount in language translation service Memrise and £75 off if you book a travel package through the company Interrailing Packages.

Or you could take a trip closer to home! You can use your Young Scot NEC card to get entry to over 600 historic sites across Scotland for just £1. What’s more, you could travel there for free. If you’re under 22, you can use your card to access free bus travel across Scotland, as well as other travel discounts.


Next steps

Speak to someone about it

Getting different perspectives about what your potential next steps are can be helpful.

Your friends, family and teachers can all support you when you’re deciding what might be suited to you. They might recommend resitting the subject next year or at a college, or they might suggest that you focus on another subject area in which they’ve noticed your talent. You could also speak to a careers advisor or someone working in an industry you are interested in for advice.

Check UCAS

If you missed out on the grades you needed to meet the conditions of your university offer, all’s not lost. Check with UCAS – in some instances you may still be accepted onto a course, even if you didn’t quite meet the conditions of an offer.

Universities also offer places that have still to be filled on different courses through a process called clearing. UCAS also has lots of information about what clearing is and how to apply for an available course. You never know, it might even end up working out better than your original choice.

Explore alternative routes

You can follow #NoWrongPath on social media to hear from professionals across different fields about their own journeys, it’s all about what is right for you.

If you want to find some part-time or full-time employment after school speak to your parents, carers or a careers advisor and browse some job sites to get an idea of what kind of job may be right for you. We also have resources on ‘4 Ways to Get Career Advice’, ‘5 Top Tips on How to Prepare for An Interview’, and a video with tips on writing your CV.

You could also look into becoming an apprentice. Skills Development Scotland run a website dedicated to apprenticeships and providing you with information and opportunities. Check out our IGTV that highlights other young people who chose to go down the same route and how it benefited them.

Why not have a look outside school to gain more skills and qualifications that can help you move on in your career or education. Check out what courses are going on at your local college, or have a look online for online courses you could take; first aid, sign language, dressmaking and photography are just a few excellent courses you could look into.

Go your own way

If you’ve got a brilliant idea for your own business, you don’t need to go through years of education or working for other people before launching your own business. There are lots of opportunities available for young people to get funding and training to start a business.

Get loads more advice on starting your own business from My World of Work.


So, if you’re stressing about your exam results try and remember that if it doesn’t work out the way you imagined, there are still plenty of options open to you and plenty of support.

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