21 August 2023

What To Do When You Don’t Get The Results You Want

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Sometimes, we don’t get the results we want or deserve. We’ll go into an exam with a clear idea of what we need to achieve, only to feel helpless when things don’t pan out.

It’s easy to blame ourselves or compare our grades to others. We’re human – after all – and emotions can get the best of us. If you’re worried about your results and what this could mean, don’t panic. 

Not sure what to do if you don’t get the results you want? Read our tips to find out how you can turn your situation around.

Take a moment 

If you haven’t got the marks you were hoping for, take a moment to breathe. Allow yourself to process your emotions. Remember, you’ve worked really hard, so it’s okay to feel sad that your results didn’t turn out as expected.  

First things first:

  • Find a safe space to relax or go for a walk to clear your mind
  • Confide in someone you trust: friends, family or your university’s wellbeing team
  • Put your favourite TV show on and switch off for a bit (bonus points if it’s a sitcom)

Do the things you love, whether that’s painting, punting or playing the piano. Maybe it’s none of those and all you fancy doing is cuddling up with your dog.

Whatever makes you happy. That’s what counts.

Consider your options

Before planning your next step, take some time out to reflect on what’s best for you. While exam results aren’t the be all and end all, how you handle this next stage is vital in setting you up for success. So it’s worth giving it some thought.

Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • What am I good at? –  Where are my strengths? 
  • What do I enjoy doing? –  What makes me tick?
  • What gives me purpose in life? – What am I passionate about? What fulfils me?

Write these points down and analyse your answers. If you’re caring and empathic and find joy in helping others, a third sector role could be perfect for you. Knowing this will help you narrow down your options, and make it easier to figure out your next move. 

Discuss with your professors

When it comes to academia, your professors know you best. They know your capabilities and strengths, as well as areas that need improvement. 

If you’re disappointed with your results, why not book a one-on-one meeting with them? If you’re struggling with a module and need a helping hand, they can advise you on your learning or, best still, provide additional resources to prepare you for a resit.

Whatever you do, don’t bottle it up. It’ll only make things worse and leave you feeling stressed.

Speaking to your professor helps to put your mind at ease

Resit your exams

If you’ve failed an exam, your university will be in touch to arrange a resit. This usually takes place over the summer, from mid-August to mid-September immediately after your first attempt.

Depending on your circumstances, you may have to repeat the year or resit your exams the following summer. If you’re in your final year, your university may delay your graduation until your results have been received.

Resit fees

You may need to pay a fee to resit your exams. Each university will have their own fee system. For example, LSE charges £35 for each half unit, £60 for each full unit and £95 for 1.5 units. So make sure to double check this information before sending over any payments. 


If you need somewhere to stay when retaking your exams, you may be able to apply for college accommodation. But before you do, you’ll need a letter from your department of study confirming your retake along with details such as dates.

It’s okay if your results didn’t go as planned. Happens to the best of us. Remember, it’s not about the fall. It’s the getting back up that counts.