Last week, thousands of Y11s across the country sat down and opened the pages of their first exam; we’ll have to spend the next two months writing paper after paper, fiddling with calculators and trying to figure out how to use a compass for the hundredth time. As I was sitting in the exam hall I couldn't help but think: why am I doing this? We’ve all been told that GCSEs are important; they can help us get good jobs - or at least craft good applications - but how important are they really? And are they worth all that stress?
Let’s be real, the end of semester one will probably go out not with a bang, but with exams. If you’re reading this as a student in first year, you may be a little confused with what university exams actually are. All you’ve known are the AQA A-Level papers sent straight from hell. So, if the last exams were your A-levels or BETCs sat six months ago (assuming your school even did these), it’s probably been a while since any of us have sat down to do actual exams.
Work smarter, not harder, is a favourite mantra of mine. Although this article focuses on studying, it can be applied to every aspect of life.
The inspiration for this topic came to me a few months ago, as I sorted through a box of old paperwork in my room. I came across a sheet of paper from my A-levels, listing the hours of revision I had done each day. I stared down the columns of 5s, 6s, and 7s, and was struck by the vivid recollection of just how bad my revision had been.
Exam season can be stressful – mountains of revision, deadlines closing in and the ticking clock in the exam hall, counting down the seconds. You might feel obliged to get a certain grade or meet expectations. It can feel like you’re under a lot of pressure from many different people, including yourself. Some dread the long hours of revision leading up to exams but are relieved when it's over. Others can’t stop worrying about the answer to question 7 - or was it question 6? as the invigilator marches away with their paper...
Whilst getting good grades is important, you also have to be kind to yourself.
It's all too easy to forget this and get caught up with the stress and anxiety exam season can bring. Below I’ve listed some techniques I use to keep myself level headed and calm as I do my mock exams.
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