Top 10 tips for awaiting your assessment results

Take a look at our top ten tips for dealing with stress whilst waiting for your results.

Waiting for the result from the assessment can be a stressful time for trainee pharmacists. The suspense can be overwhelming, particularly if you’re not feeling confident about your performance. This feeling of suspense can have a tendency to grow and become uncontrollable, turning into anxiety. Here are our top tips for dealing with stress whilst you wait for your results.

1. Keep busy

Try not to let waiting for your exams take over your summer. It is normal to feel stressed when you don’t know what your result will be, and you feel powerless to take any action to change matters. Rather than dwell on things that you cannot change, try to keep yourself as busy as possible to distract yourself from results day stress. If you have hobbies, keep up with them and try to stick with any plans you’ve made, such as holidays and spending time with friends.

2. Exercise

Many studies have shown that exercise can help to reduce stress and anxiety levels. Being regularly physically active really can make a huge difference to your happiness and wellbeing. It may also help you feel better about your health, boost your confidence, improve your self-esteem, energy and sleep as well as reduce your risk of stress and depression. You can find out more about the positive benefits of exercise here.

3. Get a good night’s sleep

Getting adequate sleep may be the last thing on your mind whilst waiting for your assessment results. However, a good night’s sleep will put you in a good frame of mind to face what lies ahead. We all know how difficult life can be when we’re not sleeping well, and poor sleep can have a negative impact on energy levels, mood, performance and enjoyment of life. Therefore, it’s worth taking a few minutes to think about how you might be able to improve your quality and quantity of sleep. You can find more guidance on sleeping well here.

4. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is all about being fully present in the current moment. Being in the moment means not being worried about what could happen in the future or consumed by what has happened in the past. It can be easy to go over and over in your head how you answered a question in your exam, and it is important that if you find yourself doing so to remind yourself that it is over now. Right now, you are in your room, or on a walk, or doing whatever you are doing. If you do find yourself being carried off by thoughts about the future or the past, gently bring yourself back to the present moment. It is a useful practice to make habit because it can help you manage feelings of stress, anxiety and pressure. You can find out more about mindfulness techniques here.

5. Share the worry

Talking to someone you trust, like a family member, friend or supervisor, can be a huge help whenever you’re feeling anxious. Often, simply expressing our feelings out loud can help unburden our minds, even if we’re not looking for an ‘answer’ to our worries. You may find that the person you are talking to has advice or ideas which can support you through this period of waiting too.

6. Read about other people’s assessment experiences

If you can’t switch off from the assessment, it can be reassuring to read about how other people dealt with it – whether that’s passing, resitting or failing. Take a look at the bottom of our trainee page for stories from other trainees who have been through the GPhC assessment just like you and share their coping tips.

7. Try our Listening Friends

For many people, it can be much easier to speak to somebody outside of friends and family about issues such as anxiety, stress and depression. If your feelings of worry around your assessment results are becoming too overwhelming and you would like someone to talk to in confidence, you may find that speaking to one of our trained Listening Friends may help. Our Listening Friends are all pharmacists or retired pharmacists who have been through the assessment and can empathise with you. It can be helpful to discuss any issues with people who understand the context of the pharmacy experience.  If you would like a Listening Friend simply fill in the form on our website

8. Avoid catastrophic thinking

When we are faced with the unknown, it can be easy to be drawn into catastrophic thinking. This is when your mind begins to focus on what the absolute worst outcome could be, however unlikely it is. The way to deal with catastrophic thinking is to remind yourself that you can deal with whatever comes your way. When catastrophic thinking takes over, we can sometimes feel overwhelmed and uncertain about our ability to cope. Reminding yourself of times that you have coped in the past, what sources of help and information you can draw upon and who can help you can be very beneficial. Find out more about de-catastrophising here. 

9. Seek help

If you are struggling and need someone to talk to, we offer a confidential counselling service. The counselling service is available via telephone, video call or face-to-face (within travelling distance of Altrincham). This service is free to all trainee pharmacists. You can find out more about our counselling offer and application form here

10. Remember, we’ve got you covered

No matter what happens, we are here to help you. We have support for you if you have passed the exam, including information on registering for the very first time. And if you fail the exam, we can help you to prepare for your next attempt, and also offer career guidance if needed.

Find out more about our support for trainees