It’s a great feeling, knowing that you’ve finished your last exam (for this year at least!)  All that studying and last minute cramming is over and the summer stretches out ahead of you.  It’s tempting to just chill and do nothing for a few stress-free weeks, but there are some really practical things you can be doing that will put you in a much better position when results time comes along in August (18th August for A level results and 25th August for GCSEs).

The first thing you can do is to explore the options that are available to you after the summer.  You’ve probably given this some thought already, but have you really looked at all the options?  If you are the type that doesn’t enjoy full time academic study, then a more practical way of learning may be more suitable for you.  The Government now requires people to remain in learning until the age of 18, but that doesn’t necessarily mean staying on at school.  An apprenticeship or a traineeship meets the Government’s requirements just the same. 

Traineeships are perfect for young people who aren’t sure exactly which path to follow.  You will get an individual training programme tailored to your needs, with extra support in English and maths if you need it, and a period of work experience with an employer, which will then prepare you for a job or an apprenticeship, or a college course.

Apprenticeships allow you to earn while you learn, and are now available in a huge variety of occupations including Marketing, HR, Management, IT and Social Media, as well as the more traditional apprenticeship occupations such as Construction, Engineering and Hairdressing.  And choosing an apprenticeship doesn’t stop you from continuing to progress.  Many people who complete their apprenticeship then progress to a Foundation Degree through part-time study and on to a full Bachelor’s degree, without the debt that full time students can find themselves in.

Another good use of your time in the summer is to get a holiday job.  The money will be handy, and even if it’s not in the area of work that you would like to end up in, you’ll be getting valuable work experience that future employers and universities will be interested in.  Most jobs will help you develop things like teamwork, communication and customer service skills, as well as instilling qualities such as good timekeeping, and a work ethic that any future employer or educational provider will welcome.

Volunteering is another useful and rewarding thing to do.  It can really help your personal development by building your skills and self-confidence. You could make new friends for life, or see a side of life you've never seen before. From helping nature and wildlife to helping children or homeless people, there's no end to the positive impact you could have on the world in your holidays. 

So the stressful part is over, have fun, enjoy the summer and find out more about your options here.