For Anyone Sitting Exams...

It's that time of year again. Exams are here and we're all spending most of our time with our heads buried in books, trying to revise years' worth of work and hoping to come out with straight As. Exams can be a stressful, really difficult time, but they don't have to be and I wanted to write this as a message to anyone going through exams right now.

I am sitting (and have sat) exams myself so, don't worry, I know what you are going through. I understand how worrying of a time it can be because you want to do your best to make yourself proud, your family proud, your friends proud, you want good grades to get a good job, to go on to further education and to be able to say that all the hard work was worth it. It can all get a little overwhelming so I wanted to remind you of a few things.

Firstly, revising is always good. It helps refresh your memory and helps you feel confident when you walk into that exam hall because you know what you have to write and why you have to write it, however, you really shouldn't allow revision to consume you. I know your teachers put a lot of pressure on you with "I can clearly see who hasn't been revising" and "You really should be revising by now" so do make sure to read over things, if you feel it's necessary for your exam, but don't plan your life around it. The knowledge won't sink in if you spend every waking moment trying to cram it into your brain because you're constantly trying to remember new stuff so the things you've just read get pushed to the back of your head. You need to allow it time to sink in properly and need to give yourself some down time. Don't change your whole lifestyle simply because you're sitting exams, okay, you may need to go to bed earlier a few times, for example, but never stop doing the things you love simply because of studying. Make time to see your friends, watch your favourite TV shows, go out to play sport, continue with your hobbies and then you'll be in a much better place when you do come to revise. Don't feel like you have to spend every second of every day studying and don't make yourself feel guilty when you aren't revising. You are human and, not only would it be impossible to revise 24/7, but it also wouldn't be normal. There is no guarantee that somebody who revises more than you is going to get better grades. Just do the amount that you feel you need to do without putting too much pressure on yourself, because, it really isn't worth it. Do little, often, and that will be enough. It is all about the way in which you revise, not how long you revise for.
If you are on the hunt for some methods to use whilst revising, check out the blog post I wrote on it whilst revising for my GCSEs.

Following on from that last point, exams really aren't the be all and end all of everything. Yes, they can be quite important, but that all depends on your situation and what you want to do in life. For example, if you're sitting your GCSEs and want to be an artist, don't get so frustrated with yourself if you aren't getting the highest grades in science. In life, we need to work hard at the things we love and, if you love art and it is something you want in your life, work at it but don't force yourself to try and like something that doesn't matter to you. Also, even if you don't get the exam results you hoped for, that honestly does not matter. A lot of people will obviously try to tell you that it is important to pass every subject with flying colours and, yes, that would be amazing, however, for most of us, we don't get 100% in everything and that's okay! Even if you get low grades in everything, never class it as a failure, simply see it as something to learn and progress from. Getting low grades doesn't mean you're destined for a low status job and a miserable future because there is always a way to sort things out, with everything in life. If you didn't pass the subjects you really wanted to, you can resit them, you can take other courses, you can go to different schools, you can get jobs, exam results, good or bad, only open doors, not close them. No matter what grades you come out with, you can still have the future you have always dreamed of because it isn't your exam results that are important, it is what you do AFTER you get those results that matters.

Furthermore, don't listen to anyone's negativity whilst doing your exams, If there are people trying to tell you that you won't do well, simply use that as motivation to prove them wrong. Who are they to say you won't pass? If you want to pass, you, my friend, will pass. If teachers think you're only going to scrape a pass grade, don't set that as your limit, once again, push yourself to prove them wrong and show them they were wrong to underestimate you because you can get higher than a pass grade. Additionally, never let anyone tell you that your anxiety and stress during the exam period is unnecessary. If someone in College is telling you not to be so stressy about your GCSEs, remember they were in exactly the same position as you one or two years ago. It is all relative because I am sure you worried about your spelling tests when you were in primary school. You have every right to be determined to do well in your exams and have every right to worry about them, although, really, try not to lose sleep over them because, like I say, their results in no way determine what you're going to do with the rest of your life. That is up to you.

Exams are what you make of them and I promise you that you are going to be absolutely FINE! I know you probably think they are going to kill you and as soon as you walk into that exam hall, you're going to have a heart attack. I get that you're convinced you will never be fully prepared and you reckon you're going to fail in everything but, trust me, you really shouldn't be so hard on yourself. Exams don't define you, your intelligence or your future and are simply there to keep you on your toes and spice things up a little. You aren't going to fail because you are going to do the best that you can do, and that's all you can do, no one can ask any more of you. As long as you know that you did everything you could and tried hard, you ought to be proud of yourself. you ought to be proud of yourself anyone for even reaching the exam period and working hard all year, because that is an achievement.

One final thing that I want to remind you of is the most important thing I have learnt throughout my school years of testing and exams, and that is

You always know more than you think you know.

When you're revising and convince yourself that none of it has gone in, trust me, once you get into that exam hall and you're in that zone, you will be surprised at how much comes back to you when you need it to.

So, good luck in your exams, friends, let me know how they go! Whatever happens, be proud of yourself and know that you've got this. Okay?

Love, Emily :) xx 

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