Exam results day can be a stressful one all round for both students and their parents.

A key thing to remember is that there are always options, no matter your results.

"It can be an emotional and confronting time for teens, particularly school leavers," said Pat Cody, a principal adviser at Careers New Zealand.

READ MORE: NCEA exam results: Nail-biting wait as results released today


"For many students, results will confirm study or career pathways, but some will receive results that may be disappointing or unexpected, requiring some further thinking about their future careers."

If results aren't as expected, Cody advises students to first look at how close the results are, and consider asking for a review, particularly if the result was close.

"Your school careers adviser can be a good place to start, or if you had planned on moving on to tertiary education, your chosen provider may also have helpful advice on other options," he said.

Explore other career options that meet your interests, skills and aspirations, sometimes a similar or related course or bridging programme could assist entry to your preferred option.

Wellington-based education expert William Guzzo said it was important for students to keep the big picture in mind.

"Celebrate the successes and reward yourself for those, but don't beat yourself up for the disappointing results because research shows that doesn't help anyone."

Instead, the general manager of high school tutoring company Inspiration Education recommends taking an analytical approach.

"The easy thing to do is react to disappointing results with negativity and feel as though it is a failure of ability because you've worked so hard. However, often it's not a lack of ability or a lack of effort, but a lack of strategy."


He advises students to have a good game-plan when it comes to exams and how to approach them, saying often schools do not have the time and resources to teach good exam execution.

"I wasn't the most intelligent student at school, but having simple strategies and seeing failures as an opportunity to improve resulted in long-term success."

His post-exam tips to turn disappointing results into excellent grades next year include asking yourself questions about where you went in your answers, your exam prep and analysing where you were successful and why.

Unitec also advises students and parents not to panic if things don't go as well as hoped.

The institute offers a second chance for students to follow their dream career path, through its


The 16-week Certificate of University Preparation (CUP) is an entry-level qualification they can use to apply for a degree programme and is recognised at all major universities.

"A Bridgepoint certificate equips students with the hands-on knowledge and relevant skills they need to move into higher education or a job," a Unitec spokeswoman said.

Online education provider Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu is also offering a range of standards at NCEA Levels 1, 2, and 3 for students who missed out on getting the credits they need to get into tertiary courses or a job this year.

This was particularly useful for students who had missed out by only a few credits, said Kura chief executive Mike Hollings.

"Enrolling with Te Kura gives them a chance to quickly earn the credits they need to get into university, polytech, or get a job."

Meanwhile, support service The Lowdown is expecting to see a surge in the number of students getting in touch as results are released.

Dr Siale Foliaki, a consultant psychiatrist for The Lowdown, a support service for young adults, which is part of National Telehealth. Photo / Supplied
Dr Siale Foliaki, a consultant psychiatrist for The Lowdown, a support service for young adults, which is part of National Telehealth. Photo / Supplied

The web and text-based service helps students handle the stress and anxiety that comes with waiting for and receiving exam results.

"Significant numbers of young people around the country will be experiencing a high level of anxiety in anticipation of results and potentially feelings of panic, guilt and fear regarding the impact the results may have on their future," said Dr Siale Foliaki, consultant psychiatrist for The Lowdown.

"Many may feel psychologically overwhelmed, particularly if they believe they may not meet parental expectations or be able to pursue their plans in 2017."

It was important for students and parents alike to "remember the likes of Bill Gates, Walt Disney, Albert Einstein all had difficulties with academic studies at high school", Dr Foliaki said.

A scene from Walt Disney's Fantasia. Disney dropped out of school to join the Red Cross. Photo / Supplied
A scene from Walt Disney's Fantasia. Disney dropped out of school to join the Red Cross. Photo / Supplied

"What made them successful was their determination and not losing belief in their own abilities."

The Lowdown is free and available 24/7 online or texting 5626.

Career NZ's Guide For Parents:
1. Do a reality check of your expectations, and brush up on your understanding of NCEA
2. Choose the right time and place to discuss results
3. Take time to analyse results
4. Remember that there are options
5. Reflect on how results affect aspirations and plans

More advice is available on the Career NZ website or phone 0800 222 733.