If you got the results you were hoping for – well done, have a doughnut and jump up and down (if that's your style). Not to put a dampener on things, but that feeling may not last. Life has a habit of getting in the way.
For those who didn't – we've all been there at some point. Here's some sage advice from Amy Stock, director of Schoolswork.co.uk:
It's no surprise when teenagers are having nightmares and not able to sleep the night before exam results are released, because this day feels like the most important of their school career.
Sometimes we don't communicate well enough that what you do now doesn't have to set the course for the rest of your life.
The thing to remember is that whatever is written in an envelope doesn't define you, you're much more than those grades. Read the letter that one primary school sent to its pupils. The letter says "These tests do not assess what makes each one of you special and unique... They do not know that your friends count on you every day to be there for them or that your laughter can brighten the dreariest day."
Your grades come down to how you performed on one day a couple of months ago, when you might not have slept very well, would have been stressed and maybe not eaten anything.
If you're disappointed, give yourself space to acknowledge that. Sometimes we gloss over negative feelings because we're not very good at dealing with it.
Find someone safe to talk to – probably not a friend who's also just got their results, because comparison can be crippling, but someone older who will be able to listen.
Talk about what you want to do and any pressures that you might be feeling. It's not about what your teachers or parents want you to do – though you should take their advice on board, they've put a lot of work into your development, so it's important to understand their perspective.
When you're ready (and only then) you can move on to thinking about the practical things. The UCAS helpline can help you talk through your options – not just about going to university, but thinking through re-sitting, apprenticeships or other options.
Ask yourself a few questions: Is going to university really important to you? What are you most proud of in life? What have you done well? This may help you get closer to what you really want to do next.
Call the UCAS exam results helpline on 0808 100 8000