THE BLOG

A Letter To Students

28/04/2017 13:00

Dear Students,

It's exam season. If you stand in front of a mirror and say 'exam' three times, a middle aged, smelly invigilator will appear behind you telling you to be quiet and offering you more paper. MORE PAPER?! I'VE BARELY WRITTEN ANYTHING! (sorry, i'm having severe war flashbacks)

As someone that suffers severely with exam anxiety, I thought it might be beneficial to write a piece detailing exactly how scary exams are and reassuring you that, one - you can do this, but two - it wont be the end of the world if you don't. I've had a very rocky relationship with exams, either doing brilliantly or doing awfully. Usually in the cases that I did awfully, it wasn't due to my lack of preparation or knowledge on the subjects but because my nerves got the better of me. I panic and freak out and blurt the randomest of answers onto the pages. If it helps, I'm pretty sure that even the most cool, calm and collected students who effortlessly get A*s still feel nervous and uncertain before exams, it's just natural.

My exams are starting next month and believe me I am terrified. You have to consider where that fear comes from though. It's the fear of the unknown, the fear of not knowing the exact questions and topics. The fear of preparing and revising to your heart's content and then opening up that paper and finding every single topic you didn't prepare for in front of your eyes. If it helps, remember that every single person in that exam hall is feeling the same way as you. They had no idea what the questions were going to be either and I'm sure they're also shocked and a bit scared. The trick is to acknowledge that fear inside you and push it down, focus on the exam and focus on all of your preparation. You're going to be absolutely fine I promise. Just don't let that anxiety get the better of you and control how your exam is going to go. The only thing that should control the fate of this exam is you and your preparations. The fear isn't going to win, as much as it may be telling you so. You are going to beat this and you are going to smash it. And as scary as those 10 minutes waiting for the exam to start are, as soon as you do, it will fly by in the blink of an eye. You'll look back on this fear and laugh, I promise.

The entire culture of exam preparation and revision has amounted students into total panic like headless chickens. There's an unforeseeable amount of pressure put upon students these days with teachers, tutors and parents driving teens to mental unstability and permanently damaging their self esteem all for some grades on a piece of paper. Just remember, that however the exam goes. If it's the best exam you've ever done or if it's the worst, your results do not define you. For so long I believed that my self worth was rooted upon this letter on a results sheet. It determined how intelligent I was and where I belonged in society. That's utter bullshit. Your self worth is rooted upon how kind and good you are. It's about what kind of a person you are and how you make others feel. Regardless of an E or an A. You are brilliant, intelligent, powerful, kind and strong with or without your 'target grades.'

ALL you can do is try your best. And remember that your best shouldn't result in tears, panic and upset. You should be able to open up those results and know that you tried and no one can expect any more from you than that. I can't even count the number of teachers who've shamed me and made me feel less intelligent for my exam results. The teachers who patronised me and had little to no regard for my feelings or mental health. Regard your physical and mental health above anything else. Don't kill yourself working hard tirelessly for some grades. Remember that everyone needs to take breaks and everyone can only do their best. Lastly, everyone's best is different and each student works totally differently. For me, I am the WORST morning person ever. Luckily because of the freedom of my online course I am able to study in the evenings and it works perfectly for me. For some people the thought of studying at night might make them sick to their stomach or just very sleepy. The point is, everyone's different and everyone has different levels of ability. Don't let anyone pin their expectations onto you. You define your own expectations of yourself and you know your limits.

Good luck everyone!

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