I was thinking of writing an “exam tips” post but every time I sat down to do it I figured who am I to give tips? I’m struggling just as much as the next person… So I thought I’d just talk about exams in general…
GCSE’s terrified me. They were my first official set of public examinations and a little voice ran around my head, reminding me that these grades would be with me forever… Once I opened those papers there was no going back. I stressed, cried a few times, and convinced myself that nothing mattered more than the letters I got at the end of them. However, here I am, years later, looking back at them and chastising myself for lumping on the pressure. Truth is, of course official examinations matter, but a pass or fail shouldn’t control your self worth… at the end of the day, all you can do is your best.
I’ve now been through GCSE’s, AS and A2 Levels, and one set of Uni exams, and although I still have the occasional moment of stress, it gets easier. Don’t get me wrong, the exams obviously increase in difficulty, but you begin to realise that ultimately, all you can do is try. It took me a long time to accept that I was not perfect; I always aimed for the best, a healthy enough trait to have, but I was way too hard on myself if I didn’t achieve the highest grades possible. I’ve ranted before about how exams aren’t always the best way to measure intelligence, and sometimes yes, you can freeze up on the day, but if you can walk away from an exam knowing that you put your all into it, you should be able to walk away happy.
Exam periods can feel like they last forever… Trust me, I’m in the middle of one at the moment and I can’t wait for it to be over. But let that light at the end of the tunnel be the thing that pulls you through. It’s 1, maybe 2 months of stress and panic… but it’s followed by months of freedom; see that as your reward for the hard work and let that be your motivator that this is all worth it.
I’m not trying to devalue exams and tell you that “they don’t matter in the future”, because that’s not the attitude you should go into your exams with. However, remember that one bad test or grade won’t impact your life forever. Everything happens for a reason, and if you try, and put your best foot forward, then the outcome shouldn’t matter as much. It’s so easy to put pressure on yourself and act like your life depends on these grades, but, whether you succeed or fall short, there will always be a plan B, and who knows, maybe it will work out better than your plan A.
Good luck to anyone reading this who has exams going on! Hope they go well and you’re not tearing your hair out…
Lots of love,