Preparing For Results Day

Results Day might just be the two most dreaded words in existence for the majority of GCSE and A-level students every August. It is the day when you find out where all your hard work has gotten you and, for many, it’s a nerve-wracking day.

There are things you can do to prepare yourself for receiving your results and make sure that you’re feeling calm and ready.

General preparation

  • Sleep. It’s easier said than done, but try to get some sleep the night before. If you struggle to sleep due to nerves, then pass the time by doing something that you enjoy and that won’t make you too tired. For example, try reading a book, watching a film or playing a game.
  • Make sure that you are hydrated and have eaten something. Eating with nerves can be difficult, but Results Day can be a long one, so eating beforehand will help you to get through the day.
  • If you’re very anxious about getting your results, talk to someone about it. Student forums can be great places to do this, for example over social media, but they can also just remind you about your nerves. It’s okay to step away from being online if it’s only making you more anxious!
  • General things to bring with you include: a fully-charged phone, a friend/parent/guardian and a water bottle.


  • If you need particular grades to get into your sixth form or into a job, then make sure that you have the number for your college or potential workplace on hand in case you miss out on a certain grade.
  • Make sure that you know what the appeals process is – which can usually be found on the exam board websites – for each subject that you have taken.


  • Bring the numbers for the admissions departments of your firm and insurance choices.
  • If you find yourself going through Clearing, don’t panic. Your school or college will likely have staff who have experience with helping students through Clearing. Take your time, do a little bit of research and ask for help where you can if you go through Clearing.
  • Make sure you that you have a plan beforehand of what you will do if you miss out on your offer – will you go through Clearing or reapply? You don’t have to have a set plan, but an idea will make that eventually less stressful.
  • Know how to access your results. Most schools have online portals where you can access results, but some still ask you to go in. Know what time your results are coming out or what time you can go in. Leave with plenty of time and meet a friend if you can.
  • Make sure to bring: details of your offers, something with a calculator (either a calculator or a phone), and a notebook so that you can jot down anything that you need to know regarding uni admissions.

You also need to remember, as difficult as it is, not to compare your results to others. Everyone’s best is different and, even if you think you could have done better, you worked hard and that’s a wonderful achievement. It can be hard, but try to think long-term on results day – unexpected results don’t have to close doors for you.

For Students – Finding Trusted Resources

Looking for more resources on top of what you are given at school is always useful for academic success and general interest. But you might be wondering how to know whether a resource or source is useful and whether it is trustworthy. Essentially, is the information given there checked and correct?


Textbooks are a good bet for finding accurate information for use in school. If you need to find something out for a lesson, make sure you have a look in your textbook first. The subject-standard textbook is useful for definitions and information specific to that version of the course. However, your school library may also have textbooks from other versions of the course with addition or different information. Check these out as well if you’re struggling to find the right stuff!

Some things to consider with textbooks:

  • Is the book up to date? Some textbooks have a long time between prints and so some of the information could be out of date.
  • Although it should be fairly neutral, have a look out for bias in subjects that tend to inspire strong opinions.


If you’ve read our ‘What Kind of Learner Are You’ resource, then you’ll know that some people learn best from video and audio content. You might want to change up your learning by searching YouTube or podcast platforms for an explanation of concepts that you’re struggling with in other forms.

It’s quite difficult to puzzle out what is and isn’t reliable on YouTube, so it is generally good practice to fact check what you’ve heard. But there are some things to look out for that will make your life easier:

  • Is the channel an official one? I.e. try to use a channel that comes from a reliable source, like BBC Bitesize, TEDTalks or National Geographic.
  • Certain subjects work better than others for using YouTube as a resource – YouTube is a great place to find new angles on a book or topic, or to explain concepts in science that have discreet steps.
  • Who runs the channel? Are they an expert in their field, or does their channel cater for a wide range of interests? Depending on what you need it for, either is usually fine, but make sure that you use material from an industry expert for deeper research.

Online Articles/Pages

This is where it is most difficult to find reliable resources because there is so much out there! Anyone can post something online, regardless of their level of knowledge in a subject. But it’s still a useful place for you to find resources to help you better understand concepts from lessons.

There are a few things to look for when it comes to finding reliable resources online.

  • Look at the URL. Does it contain a .edu or a Not having these doesn’t mean that a resource isn’t reliable, but these URLs indicate that they belong to either a UK or US academic institution like a university.
  • Look at the date. The information could be outdated, particularly if it is a subject based on constant research, like sciences. Subjects like English, maths and languages are unlikely to go out of date as easily, but still bear it in mind.
  • What form is it? If it’s a blog or opinion piece, you might struggle to get facts out of it since it is based on personal opinion and may contain bias. However, this can also be useful for subjects that require a variety of viewpoints like English. Just be careful to use them to inform your own opinion, rather than copying it directly.
  • Do you recognise the website name? A well-known website is likely to be more trustworthy than an obscure one. Contrary to popular opinion, Wikipedia is extensively fact-checked and is hard to edit with incorrect information without it being picked up by an admin. Try to avoid using it for everything as there is always the risk of it being inaccurate as it is open to edit by the public, but it is a very valuable resource for finding information.
  • Do be aware that, even with popular sites, some reporting is made up of opinion. If you are looking for information for English, History, RE, anything that inspires strong opinions, then bear in mind that even popular sites often carry some form of bias or personal opinion.

This is not an exhaustive list of resources that you might use or ways to verify that they’re reliable, but this advice should help you identify the most unreliable resources, as these aren’t things that you want to be using in school or college work.

Icebreaker Tasks

Breaking the Ice

Icebreakers are a fun and subtle way to help mentors get to know their mentees and vice-versa. They remove the potential awkwardness of a first session and promote a positive relationship between mentor and mentee. Below are some examples of ice-breakers that can be done in pairs and in groups, depending on the type of session.

Icebreakers for Pairs

Two Truths One Lie

Each player decides on two truths and one lie to tell about themselves. The other player has to guess which is the lie. Rounds are unlimited.

Would You Rather

Players take it in turn to propose a choice of two options of things a player can do. Both players pick their favourite option each time. Rounds are unlimited.

Example Rounds:

  • Would you rather ride an elephant or a camel?
  • Would you rather not be able to eat or not be able to drink for the rest of your life?
  • Would you rather go to the Moon or Mars?

Who Am I?

Player One writes the name of a celebrity on a post-it note and Player Two sticks it on their forehead without looking at the name. Player Two asks questions about the person they might be, to which Player One is only allowed to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ until they guess right or their five guesses run out. Rounds are unlimited.

Icebreakers for Groups

Diversity Bingo

Each player is assigned a bingo card on which each square contains a characteristic that some members of the group might have. All players mingle with other players to try to find one person who fits the characteristic on each square and write their name down. A different name must be written on each square. Whoever fills their bingo card first and shouts ‘bingo!’ wins.


Participant One thinks of a sentence or phrase to begin a story. Each participant has to repeat the parts of the story that have already been told before adding their own sentence or phrase. The story ends after a minimum of two rounds. This activity works best with multiple groups who can afterwards present their story to the whole group and the best story can be voted on to find a winner.

Lost on a Desert Island

Each player says an item that they would bring onto a desert island and why. Once all players have said an item, the group must plan out how they would survive on the desert island using those items. This activity works best with multiple groups who can afterwards present their survival strategy to the whole group and the best strategy can be voted on to find a winner.

Find Your Next Favourite Read

Choosing what to read next after finishing a good book is certainly a challenge. You might be looking for something similar or something completely different, but either way you might be at a loss as to where to look for your next read.

We’ve created an easy-to follow flowchart to help you to find your next favourite book based on what you like to read. Simply start at the labelled ‘start’ button and follow it through to find out what you should read next.

Bristol Achieve’s Chose Your Own (Reading) Adventure

What did you get?

Want some more information of suitable reading material? Have a look at our reading list for year 7s!

Key Stage 2 – Reading List

Struggling to find something for you or your child to read?

We have put together a list of some of the best books to foster a love of reading for KS2 students.

Not all of these books will be to every student’s taste, so we hope we’ve covered a range of long and short books, different topics and reading levels.

  • Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
  • Private Peaceful, Michael Morpurgo
  • War Horse, Michael Morpurgo
  • The Butterfly Lion, Michael Morpurgo
  • The Chronicles of Narnia, C. S. Lewis
  • Skulduggery Pleasant, Derek Landy
  • The Boy in the Dress, David Walliams
  • Charlotte’s Webb, E. B. White
  • Danny The Champion of the World, Roald Dahl
  • Matilda, Roald Dahl
  • Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Peterson
  • The Secret Garden, Francis Hodgson Burnett
  • The Railway Children, E. Nesbitt
  • Good Night Mister Tom, Michele Magorian
  • Letters From the Lighthouse, Emma Carol
  • Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carol

Waterstones have put together a selection of books that they recommend to children who struggle with reading for whatever reason.

Reading outside of lessons can really help with vocabulary, writing and comprehension skills and communication.

Key Stage 3 – Reading List

Finding something new to read that will support your development in school can be a bit of a challenge, so we at Bristol Achieve have put together a list of some of the best books to get you started.

All of these books have been chosen for this list because they have done something new or different for the type of book that they are. Maybe they were really popular on release, or part from a common trope in other, similar books. Either way, we hope that something on this list speaks to you and you’ll find something that you really enjoy!

  • Paper Towns, John Green
  • Animal Farm, George Orwell
  • Holes, Louis Sacchar
  • The Pearl, John Steinbeck
  • Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein
  • The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkein
  • Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
  • Coraline, Neil Gaiman
  • Anne of Green Gables, L. M. Montgomery
  • The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Dracula, Bram Stoker
  • A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin

For Students: Mentoring Resources

Going into peer mentoring doesn’t need to feel scary or difficult. Mentoring is a great opportunity to improve your confidence in school and college, and a way to look towards the future and getting a job.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on

These resources are to help you outside of your mentoring. There is a wide variety of resources out there, including improving literacy and numeracy throughout your school and college life, applying to university and revising for exams.

This list will updated as new opportunities and resources arise.

  • Check out the 13+ section of Words for Life – dedicated to improving literacy for everyone

For Staff: Academic Resources

There is a lot of work that goes into peer mentoring, and we are committed to supporting staff working with students on the programme. You might be looking for resources to help you decide how best to introduce mentoring into your school and how best to support students as they embark on a mentoring journey.

This compilation of resources is here to help you decide how best to approach peer mentoring. Please do get in touch with us if you have any further questions.

  • Our impact study from 2019/20 demonstrates the incredible value of peer mentoring to students and their futures.
  • Although older students will be doing the mentoring, understanding what makes a good mentor is key to helping those students succeed in their roles.
  • Do you know how to let your students lead the way? This short podcast will explain how to give students the opportunity to lead, a key part of succeeding as a mentee.
  • Bristol Museum school visits encourage extra-curricular interest in the arts
  • This course demonstrates how to go about improving writing for KS2 pupild

For Parents: Academic resources

If your child is being mentored or considering it, then you might wonder how you can help them at home. We’ve put together a list of resources for young people of any school age that you can use to help them and encourage them on their academic journey.

For younger children – KS1

For older children – KS2

For teens and young people – KS3-5

Applying to University: Reading Lists

One of the major aspects of your university applications will be your personal statement. This is a place for you to explain what draws you to your chosen subject and demonstrate your passion for it.

For some subjects, there are practical ways that this can be done. It might even be expected for some courses, like medicine and veterinary science. However, for every subject, you can also demonstrate your interest in your subject by reading relevant material and discussing them in your personal statement.

Finding relevant books that are unique is quite difficult.

These books are a suggestion of what you could read for common subjects at university. By no means are we suggesting that you should read them all or try to fit them all into your personal statement. If you find one that you like, why not have a quick web search to find similar books that you might enjoy?

English (all disciplines)

  • The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead
  • My Cousin Rachel, Daphne Du Maurier
  • The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson
  • The Secret History, Donna Tartt
  • milk and honey, Rupi Kaur (poetry)
  • The History Boys, Alan Bennett (play)
  • Venus as a Bear, Vahni Capildeo (poetry)
  • Fen, Daisy Johnson (short stories)
  • An Orchestra of Minorities, Chigozie Obioma

Mathematics (all disciplines)

  • Alex’s Adventures in Numberland, Alex Bellos
  • The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets, Simon Singh
  • Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in A World Designed For Men, Caroline Criado Perez
  • Humble Pi, Matt Parker
  • Fermat’s Last Theorem, Simon Singh
  • The Math of Life and Death, Kit Yates

Science – Chemistry

  • The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements, Sam Kean
  • Periodic Tales, Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Napoleon’s Buttons, Jay Burreson and Penny Le Couteur
  • Caesar’s Last Breath: Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us, Sam Kean
  • Why Chemical Reactions Happen, James Keeler

Science – Physics/engineering

  • The World According to Physics, Jim Al-Khalili
  • Storm in a Teacup, Helen Czerski
  • Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World, Mark Miodownik
  • London is a Forest, Paul Wood
  • In Search of Schrödinger’s Cat, John Gribbin

Science – Biology/biochemistry/biomedical science

  • The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being, Alice Roberts
  • The Brief History of Everything That Ever Lived, Adam Rutherford
  • Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness, Peter Godfrey-Smith
  • Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari
  • The Vital Question, Nick Lane


  • This is Going to Hurt, Adam Kay
  • Do No Harm, Henry Marsh
  • The Body Keeps the Score, Bessel van der Kolk
  • Bad Science, Bed Goldacre
  • When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
  • Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, Mary Roach
  • Hippocrates’ Shadow: Secrets from the House of Medicine, David H Newman


  • Who Cooked the Last Supper: A Women’s History of the World, Rosalind Miles
  • At The Tomb of the Inflatable Pig, John Gimlette
  • The Silk Roads, Peter Frankopan
  • The Handshake, Ella al-Shamahi
  • The Crusades, Thomas Asbridge
  • Alexandria, Edmund Richardson
  • A History of Japan, George Bailey Sansom
  • Black and British, David Olusoga
  • A Woman of No Importance, Sonia Purnell

These are clearly only a small handful of the subject offered at universities across the country, but they are some of the most common where you can show your interest in the subject by reading around it.

By no means do you have to read these books. Choose books that relate to your specific interests as this will shine through more easily in your personal statement – and you’ll genuinely enjoy reading them!