Frantic phone calls, an accelerated heart rate, sweaty palms – results day can be truly nerve-wracking and it’s no walk in the park for your 18-year-old either. You will have been there for them through GCSE results day but A-levels are an entirely different story.

A-level results are far more nerve-wracking because everything hangs on it – university places, apprenticeships and even jobs. So how do you calm a nervous teenager when everything is seemingly on the line?

As obvious as it may sound you need to rein in your emotions because it is their day after all. Having an excitable parent on hand with a camera ready to snap their reaction when they open their results only makes the situation worse. There are however a few things you can do to offer assistance should it be required…

The Day Before

Before results day, learn their schedule. Figure out when results will be released and what time they should be at school to collect them. This way if they slip into typical teenage behaviour and oversleep, you’ll know whether you need to hurry them up or not.

Some education experts suggest taking the time to write children a letter to give them regardless of what happens on results day. Use this an opportunity to express how proud you are. This way, if the worst happens you’re a reassuring voice. If their results are what they wanted, it is celebratory.

The Night Before

Clearing opens the evening before results day – it allows students who didn’t achieve the results needed to search for available university places and apply. They won’t be able to apply at this time but they can look and see the kind of courses still available.

The Morning

UCAS Track will be available from 8am, while it won’t state the exact qualifications it will reveal if the required standard for their first choice university was achieved. Students have to go into school in order to receive a detailed breakdown of their results – you could join them to do this but that would deny them an important rite of passage.

When you call them to ask about the results be prepared to be told you’re dead wrong. You may think the achievement is amazing but they could be disappointed with the results. Try to read the situation and adjust your emotions accordingly.

The school has been through every results day scenario you can possibly imagine and it should provide a supportive, unemotional environment to help its pupils make their next move. All you need to do is be a calm voice on the end of the phone and support the decision making process.