As many of you have already started your GCSE exams, and are going through your first proper exam season, cycle’s of revision and I’m sure lot’s of stress; I thought I would share my own experience of GCSE’s. How I found the entire two years, what I thought about the exams, all about the revision, the stress, what I got at the end and my future after GCSE’s…
The GCSE Years- My GCSE years really were a massive roller coast ride of emotions, both because of things happening with my family, friendships and also exams. I found that the first year of GCSE’s, which is year 10 in the UK, was actually quite chilled out and other than having regular subject tests to see how we were doing, it really was like any other school year. The work pushed me just enough to keep me interested and I enjoyed all of my subjects. English was a bit of struggle for me, as it always has been really, as I’m not a wordy person and I’m a lot more creative and visual. I was still doing really well, but due to my personality I was constantly pushing myself to get that A I really wanted. It didn’t happen that year, however I really grew into it in year 11 and I smashed my retaken coursework and my final exam’s. The only thing I found stressful about year 10 was mock exam’s and having to really get your first taste of a proper revision cycle. However, I always knew that they weren’t real and it didn’t really matter if I didn’t do as well as I would have liked to.
The second year of GCSE’s, year 11 in the UK, was stress straight from Christmas all the way to the end of exams in June. I found that because I was doing 12 GCSE’s, I was constantly doing end of subject tests, coursework pieces for French or English and trying to nail my final pieces for Dance and Textiles. I’ve got to admit they were such busy months of my life and the busiest you ever get up until the end of GCSE’s. However, I personally think my school were super helpful, and put on different revision sessions before and after school, and even in the school holidays to help us with our work.
Exam Season- The actual exam’s had to be the most stressful, tiring and full on part of GCSE’s, because I had 28 exams split over around a 5/6 week period. That meant that I had a least one exam nearly every day from the middle of May to the end of June. I was constantly having long days; waking up early to go to morning revision sessions, doing my daily exams and then staying after school for more revision sessions. That was my life for so long and I’ve got to admit that it made me pretty stressed out and I even lost weight in the process. This wasn’t anything extreme, but just because my body was over worked and I didn’t have any time to have a break from school, exams or revision, because I had no exam leave. It was just everything I thought about as there was no time for anything else. Now looking back on that time, whilst having study leave for A-Levels, I honestly don’t know how I did it without going completely insane!
The majority of my exams I found okay, and because I had done lot’s of revision I was able to answer most to all of the questions and I didn’t really struggle. I had worked so hard for those exams, so I was really glad that it was all worth it after every exam. The only two subjects I found hard were biology, because we had an awful teacher in our second year who also left us half way through to sort ourselves out, and Further Maths, because even though I was really good at maths this bridge to A-Levels was a bit too much for me and I hated it. However, a large group of us were just taught how to pass and get a C, and I was so happy that I eventually did.
The actual exam process I found okay, because we had done around 2 to 3 mock exam weeks and so I knew what the routine was. I didn’t feel nervous by how I needed to find out my seat number, that I needed to turn off all my electronic items, and how strict the exam invigilators can be. I was so used to it that it was just went over my head and I went into my exams feeling relaxed and confident, about the actual test and the environment I was in. However, I found it difficult to have to come straight out after an exam and back to my lesson, to only then revise for my next exam. All I can say is if you’re going through this process at the minute, seriously just keep working and hang on in there, because it will all be worth it and you will have an amazing summer ahead of you to enjoy!
The Result & The Future- After all the hardwork and stress of 28 exams, endless revision and coursework I came out with results I was really proud of. I got 1 A*, which I so unbelievably happy about as that was in textiles and the career I wanted to head into, 5 A’s, in English Lit, English Lang, Geography, Maths and Philosophy and Ethics. I also got 5 B’s; 2 in science, one in ICT, one in French, one in PE, and 2 C’s, in dance and Further Maths. The only thing I was a bit annoyed about was Dance, as I had put in so much effort to that subject and I’d been told I was getting A’s all year, and in my coursework pieces. However, that was just an extra subject and was the least important of all my exams.
The future after GCSE’s, at first, did really stress me out. Originally, I wanted to stay at my school and go into the Sixth Form to do A-Levels, however they weren’t able to open one as we were their first year of doing GCSE’s for a long period of time. So, I had to go to so many different open days to decide what I wanted to do. In the end I decided on a Sixth form at a school about half an hour away from where I live. I knew a few girls from Dancing who went there, and in the end I was really excited to leave to have a fresh start and start a new journey doing A-Levels. Although, I’m not going to lie I was still really nervous about how hard they were going to be and if I would be able to do them.
Good Luck to all of you doing GCSE’s and any other exams over the next few months. You can do it and all your need is self confidence and to do lot’s of hard work.