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Number of teenagers counselled over exam results rises by 20%

By Cate McCurry

Published 18/08/2016

Girls are more likely to seek help over exam results, says ChildLine
Girls are more likely to seek help over exam results, says ChildLine

The number of young people receiving counselling over their exam results jumped 20% this year, with a quarter of all sessions taking place in August.

It comes as thousands of pupils face the biggest event in their education today with the release of A-level results across Northern Ireland.

It can be a nerve-racking moment for students as the fruits of their hard labour is unveiled.

Latest figures from ChildLine show there were 1,127 counselling sessions across the UK over exam results stress this year, up from 937 last year. Girls are five times more likely to seek help than boys.

Not wanting to disappoint their parents, fear of failure and the general pressures linked to academic achievement are just some of young people's biggest concerns.

In one case, a 17-year-old girl told the NSPCC-run helpline she no longer felt motivated.

"I'm worried about getting my AS results because I think I might have failed. I've really struggled with the workload in college this year and it's been impossible to concentrate on revising," she said.

"I don't have anyone to talk to about this at the moment, but speaking to ChildLine has helped me and I feel inspired to try to work through things."

While the scramble for university places will get under way today, the advice from schools and universities is not to panic. Many young people will achieve the grades they need to secure their university place, and while others will be left disappointed, there are still plenty of routes and options to explore.

Competition for places is high, particularly this year, and students who get the results for their first choice degree are urged to accept promptly. Decisions made by Queen's, Ulster University and Stranmillis University College are posted on the website and are updated twice each day.

Jennifer Dwyer, head of Queen's admissions and access service, said: "I know from personal experience how anxious a time this can be and we understand at Queen's how important choosing the right university and course is.

"This is why it is essential that students and their families have as much information as possible at this time so they can make the decisions which are best for them."

One of the first things to do is log into Track, the UCAS tracking system, where you can read a confirmation letter or reply of offers.

Students who do better than expected can, through the adjustment process, hold their offer while they look for an alternative course.

Any student unable to gain admission to either their firm or insurance choice, and who is not offered an acceptable alternative course, will be eligible to participate in the clearing process.

Details of clearing vacancies appear on UCAS's website - - and university websites across Northern Ireland.

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