It is currently the 6 weeks holidays in England. Come September, I will be in year 11- the year that I do my GCSE exams which will impact how the rest of my life goes. I need to pass my exams i n order to get into sixth form, which is my goal, as I wish to go on to university after that. Currently, I do not feel ready to do those exams (or year 11 in general) . This is mainly because of the state of my mental health.
I struggle a lot with exam situations as it is – which has been recognised by many of my teachers throughout year 9 and 10. It seems to be that I’ll learn all of the stuff I need to know for the exams, I’ll work my backside off and revise for extortionate amounts of times, to the point where facts about Nazi Germany and the ‘Guru Granth Sahib’ are coming out of my ears; but as soon as it comes to the exams … I KNOW NOTHING!
In exam situations, I panic. The second I get that test in front of me, I think ” I’ve forgotten everything, I can’t do this, I’m going to get it all wrong and my teachers are going to hate me!” Which of course, is ridiculous – I know this, I do. However, in the moment, all logic leaves me and my anxiety takes over.
It seems that as year 10 has gone on, I’ve been doing worse – not better. For example, at the beginning of the year I was getting a consistent level 7 (an A) in History and Philosophy&Ethics. Now however, I’m getting a 3 (a D) in History and a 4 (a low C) in Philosophy&Ethics. I had a conversation with my History teacher about why this might be, and of course, we both knew that it was because of my mental health.
As my anxiety has been getting worse, and I’ve been having panic attacks more frequently, I have been in lessons less. This of course means that I’m not going to do as well. Although when I’ve missed lessons I’ve always done the work, I know that in order to do my best work I need to be IN the classroom WITH the specialised subject teacher. When my teacher gave me my result, she said “I know that you’re not going to be happy with this result, but I am not worried at all”. She then went on to say that when I did the exam, I was not “in the best frame of mind”; by which she meant that I’d been out of my lessons that day because of panic attacks and did the assessment outside of the classroom.
Although I know that I can do well in my subjects, it’s becoming harder and harder to do (or even imagine) because of my mental health. Exams stress me out to the point where I stay up all night to revise for them because I cant sleep anyways and after I feel so bad about it and therefore myself, I just admit defeat and wait for the bad result. For example, after one science exam, I knew I’d done badly, and I got so stressed about it to the point where I had to miss the next two lessons because I was panicking and crying uncontrollably and I didn’t know why.
I know that I have to do my exams, and I know that there is no way round it; but right now, I wish that I could start year 10 all over again , just so I can relearn all of the things that I’ve missed when I’ve been unable to concentrate because of my anxiety, or that I’ve missed entirely because I’ve had to leave the classroom for a panic attack.
Whilst all of this is really negative, I know that there are some positives. For example : I have the most wonderful teachers who help me through all of the tough stuff and comfort me when I’m struggling. They are all unbelievably understanding and do all that they can to make sure that I will do well. On top of this – They believe in me even when I don’t, and they make me want to do well, even when I have no motivation for myself.
This academic year, I am going to try harder than I ever have before in order to do well. I was told by an amazing teacher that I only have to pass my GCSEs not get an A* , as they are only my step up to sixth form, and they are the grades that will get me into university. This is now my goal. I used to be so set on getting As and A*s in EVERYTHING; but now I’ve decided that as long as I can pass everything, I haven’t failed.
Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure
Thanks for reading