Growing up is terrifying, no question about it. However, some people deal with this in different ways, and the fear hits people at different stages of their development. Several different factors can contribute towards fear in young people, and what I’ll be focusing on are exams.
You often get told things about exams (such as GCSEs in the UK) by older year groups, and it can be very scary. We’re often told the courses are really difficult, people regret taking them, the teachers are strict, they’re really stressed, etc. However, in my experience, the exams and courses were nowhere near as bad as my peers made them out to be. Of course, there was a massive workload, but it wasn’t anything so massive it couldn’t be organised.
For most people, it’s not the course or work that’s the issue: it’s the organisation. Many people try and cram things in when there physically isn’t enough time to balance everything they have. Here are some tips that I found useful when it came to larger workloads.
Do your homework when you get it: I know everyone says this, but it honestly works. Get it out of the way as soon as possible so you know it’s done, you have time for everything else, and you won’t have the panic of realising you haven’t done it when it comes to handing it in. As well as this, many schools punish students with detentions for not doing homework. Detentions are a waste of everyone’s time, and it’s much better in the long run to finish your homework early and reward yourself with the spare time you now have.
Set up a timetable: Make sure you plan the time ahead, whether it’s a week or a day. Plan exactly what you want to get done in a certain amount of time. Timetables are perfect for this, as every day has a clear structure.
Clear a workspace: Invest in a desk (if you don’t already have one), and do all of your work at it. Keep it stocked up with pens, pencils, paper, glue, scissors, etc. This way you always have everything you need, and you can lay your work out exactly how you want. I often revised on my bed, but I found that didn’t help me focus as much as working in an office environment did.
Make friends with the teachers: I found it really helped to become ‘friends’ with the teachers (or get on their good side, at least). My best friend and I have the same sense of humour and attitude as most of our teachers, so it was very easy to get along with them. However, I understand that some teachers aren’t very nice at all, but at least try to listen to them. If they like you, they’ll be more likely to allow you to work in their classrooms, use their resources, use their time and maybe even give you their thoughts on what they think might come up in the exam. In my case, this especially worked for drama; my drama teacher has a knack of always being right, so we asked him what he thought would come up on the written exam. He was so adamant that it would be a specific scene that that scene was the only one we went over in class before the exam. He was exactly right, and had somehow predicted the entire paper, almost word for word. We all came out of the exam hall full of confidence.
Ask questions: Ask teachers and other students if you’re unsure of something. The sooner your questions are answered or advice is given, the less worried you will be and the more time you have to work with. A friend of mine didn’t understand a topic in science, and didn’t ask the teacher about it. It turned out that there was an 8-mark question on that exact topic. No question is a stupid question. If you’re struggling with it, there’s probably someone else in the room in the exact same position and you could really benefit them.
Until next time,
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers worldwide with an online platform to share their own experiences to be able to help, inform and educate others on a variety of different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all young people. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.