The tension leading up to May and June for almost every student and teacher is intense every single year.
You can almost hear like a buzz at school – ‘Revision’, ‘GCSE’, ‘A Levels’, ‘Grades’, ‘Fail’, ‘Success’, are all whispered around you and the general tempo of the school speeds up tenfold into a whirl of people running around (sometimes literally) from revision session to exam, to revision session to exam. My GCSEs are next year, but this year in June we had ‘mock week’, and it was my first experience of being in the near center of this mad rush. Before I had managed to observe it from the outside, but this time I got sucked in, and finally discovered why everyone becomes so stressed during this period.
3 weeks to exam week everyone begun to clock the change in mood for our year: we found out the days and times for our mocks and slowly were given more and more revision cards from our teachers and told to go home and revise. At this point I felt quite underwhelmed with what was coming, and was still relatively relaxed about it all. 2 weeks to exam week we started doing a few past papers here and there, and the tension and buzz began. My friends started telling me that if they didn’t do well in these mocks they would fail, get U’s in there actual exams and would work at McDonalds etc. etc. I do admit I definitely got sucked into overdramatizing, I mean I felt pretty confident with what I was going to have to do, but joining in with the emotions and rush seemed quite exciting really.
With one more week to the exams, I was totally in it – took bundles of revision cards home, agreed to meet up with people for hours over the weekend to revise and constantly asked my teachers if the exams would be easy or hard – the confidence was gone and I was engulfed in mind set of, ‘I need to get A*s in every test’; an impossible goal for almost anyone.
The weekend before exam week I spent almost an entire day (around 10 hours) doing past papers, writing notes, going through old books, and by the end of the day I was exhausted. Worn out like anything.
Monday morning, exam paper 1 was AQA Physics, June 2014, P1. Opened up the first page, and…. I had already done the paper before. All of the revision and it turns out I could have (and unconsciously did) do the exam paper online and look at all the answers. How’s that for unnecessary stress!
The rest of the exams – relatively simple and straightforward, with the occasional question that makes your eyes roll to the very top of the ceiling, I’d say they went okay. But, by the end of the week I felt withered; like I’d been pinched and prodded in every way. Originally I blamed the tests, but what I came to realise was the drive and anxiousness I was running on the entire 2 weeks, and how when I lost that and felt how tired I was it was awful!
Over the last 1-2 weeks I’ve been slowly getting my results back – aced science, aced Religion, aced Maths, and aced History. All of that staying up late, restless studying was UNECCESARY. I got the same result in tests that I did less revision for (Maths) than in tests I did heaps of revision for (Science). Pushing my body and myself to its limit helped nothing, the thrill of getting Bs, As and A*s just didn’t feel elevating!
What have I learnt from this experience? Put your body before the result, and you will find the questions a surprisingly large amount easier. Stress can be addictive, but trust me, when the drive disappears you are left with a whole lot of exhaustion, and no way does that feel good.
All of the blogs on From Our Eyes have been written by young people. They are about the kind of issues and problems teenagers face on a constant basis, as well as worldwide epidemics that not only youth, but EVERYONE experiences day to day.