A Letter to Anyone Taking Exams…

A Letter to Anyone Taking Exams…

I was thinking of writing an “exam tips” post but every time I sat down to do it I figured who am I to give tips? I’m struggling just as much as the next person… So I thought I’d just talk about exams in general…
GCSE’s terrified me.  They were my first official set of public examinations and a little voice ran around my head, reminding me that these grades would be with me forever… Once I opened those papers there was no going back.  I stressed, cried a few times, and convinced myself that nothing mattered more than the letters I got at the end of them.  However, here I am, years later, looking back at them and chastising myself for lumping on the pressure.  Truth is, of course official examinations matter, but a pass or fail shouldn’t control your self worth… at the end of the day, all you can do is your best.
I’ve now been through GCSE’s, AS and A2 Levels, and one set of Uni exams, and although I still have the occasional moment of stress, it gets easier.  Don’t get me wrong, the exams obviously increase in difficulty, but you begin to realise that ultimately, all you can do is try.  It took me a long time to accept that I was not perfect; I always aimed for the best, a healthy enough trait to have, but I was way too hard on myself if I didn’t achieve the highest grades possible.  I’ve ranted before about how exams aren’t always the best way to measure intelligence, and sometimes yes, you can freeze up on the day, but if you can walk away from an exam knowing that you put your all into it, you should be able to walk away happy.
Exam periods can feel like they last forever… Trust me, I’m in the middle of one at the moment and I can’t wait for it to be over.  But let that light at the end of the tunnel be the thing that pulls you through.  It’s 1, maybe 2 months of stress and panic… but it’s followed by months of freedom; see that as your reward for the hard work and let that be your motivator that this is all worth it.
I’m not trying to devalue exams and tell you that “they don’t matter in the future”, because that’s not the attitude you should go into your exams with.  However, remember that one bad test or grade won’t impact your life forever.  Everything happens for a reason, and if you try, and put your best foot forward, then the outcome shouldn’t matter as much.  It’s so easy to put pressure on yourself and act like your life depends on these grades, but, whether you succeed or fall short, there will always be a plan B, and who knows, maybe it will work out better than your plan A.
Good luck to anyone reading this who has exams going on!  Hope they go well and you’re not tearing your hair out…
Lots of love,
Jas xx
 
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36 Comments

  1. May 27, 2017 / 3:53 pm

    I hate exams!! Never believed in them!

  2. May 27, 2017 / 4:05 pm

    Thanks Jas for reminding me of how much I hated exams! The easiest one I ever did was a 3 hour viva for my PhD. Memory recall was never my forte at school so revision was a hard slog and I was very much an outdoors person. Funny how it always seemed to be sunny then though; revise, look outside, blue sky; finish exams and oooh, look its raining!!

    • May 27, 2017 / 4:06 pm

      Haha I agree about the weather, and honestly memory is not my forte either so exams right now are annoying!
      Jas xx

      • May 27, 2017 / 4:13 pm

        You have voiced what everyone in your position over the generations has fought with, and no doubt many more will do so in the future too; not that that helps one little bit when you are actually doing them lol I’m sure you will ace them Jas, and that means doing the very best you can rather than “having” to score maximums; although that is, of course, a bonus!!! xx

  3. May 27, 2017 / 4:22 pm

    As someone who works in a university, it’s crazy to me how many students don’t see this!! Yes, you’ve worked incredibly hard and it’s disappointing/upsetting when you don’t perform as well as you hope but the world still keeps spinning and you will go on! If you apply that amount of pressure to everything in your life, life will be one ball of stress!!

    • May 27, 2017 / 4:34 pm

      I agree! It took me a very long time to realise this but I’m so glad I did, made life a lot less stressful.
      Jas xx

  4. May 27, 2017 / 5:25 pm

    Ever notice that “exam” is a four-letter word…? *grin*
    Totally, completely, and utterly DESPISED my exams, and I’m so happy they are a distant memory now. Best of luck to you with yours – I have no doubt you’ll come out the other side with flying colors!

  5. May 27, 2017 / 5:32 pm

    I was much more a fan of continuous assessment, and other forms of coursework without exams. However, you will ace yours.

    • May 27, 2017 / 6:00 pm

      I definitely prefer coursework and think it’s a better reflection of what I can do. Thank you!
      Jas xx

  6. Jo (Fallen Angel)
    May 27, 2017 / 5:42 pm

    Another despiser of exams right here! Although I have to do a viva eventually but it’s not like you’re under the pressure of time limits. Good luck to you with yours. I’m sure everything will work out exactly as it’s meant to 🙂

  7. May 27, 2017 / 6:07 pm

    ahhhh Jasmine, reading this post reminds me of the exams I had to tackle in order to reach the next level. You’re right about the imperfection of these tools as a means of determining who is fit to proceed to even more advanced study or career, but unfortuantely, it’s the tool that is used for selection.
    Makes me wonder how many brilliant minds were hindered becuase they weren’t test takers…

  8. May 27, 2017 / 10:27 pm

    I am a teacher and every year I feel like I should sit the exam!I fully disagree with the format several Irish exams take. This letter is great though and I want to pass it on if you don’t mind.

    • May 27, 2017 / 10:28 pm

      Awwwww thank you so much, feel free to pass it on, I’m honoured that you want to!
      Jas xx

  9. May 28, 2017 / 12:53 am

    I am so glad that exams are but a distant memory for me, but I still remember sitting in that quiet room with stern looking administrators walking up and down the aisle as you tried to answer all the questions within the time limit.

    • May 28, 2017 / 5:12 am

      I’m still there, and trust me I can’t wait for the day when I can say I miss it!
      Jas xx

  10. May 28, 2017 / 8:14 pm

    I completely agree with what you said here! One bad grade won’t be life-changing, it won’t end everything. I think we have to try to keep the mentality that grades are important, but aren’t the end-all be-all!

    • May 28, 2017 / 8:24 pm

      Exactly! They’re definitely important but they’re not the end of the world!
      Jas xx

  11. abbeylouisarose
    May 28, 2017 / 8:25 pm

    This is such a valuable post, I couldn’t agree more that exams get easier as you get older, and you start to be able to put them into perspective! I really don’t feel that exam results are often reflective of your true ability, most of the time they just test how good you are at cramming facts into your head! but like you say, they are still essential and important, but we shouldn’t let our exam results define us!
    Abbey 🌺 http://www.abbeylouisarose.co.uk

    • May 28, 2017 / 8:27 pm

      Honestly, they’re mainly a result of ramming and it’s not the most reassuring, but we need to try not to let them get us down!
      Jas xx

  12. May 28, 2017 / 8:36 pm

    I’ve just completed my first set of uni exams & I’m glad they are finally over and done with! It can be really stressful (even impatiently waiting for the results is too) but I just keep telling myself that I’ve done my best & what will be will be :).
    Ellie Xx | http://www.make-it-up.co.uk

    • May 28, 2017 / 8:42 pm

      Lucky! I have 2 uni exams left and I’m just waiting for them to be over…. glad you’re done though!
      Jas xx

  13. May 28, 2017 / 8:43 pm

    Never really like exams,but who does? But sadly that’s just the system we live in. Hopefully everyone does well on their exams and have fun for summer! It won’t be the end of the world if you fall below your expectations 🌸

  14. May 28, 2017 / 8:47 pm

    Hey there! Fantastic post that I wish I had around when I was taking exams. I put all my self worth into these exams and became so stressed over them when the stress was not needed because it only made things worse. I hate the pressure around exams.

    • May 28, 2017 / 9:01 pm

      Thanks so much! There’s so much pressure and it’s hard to deal with but hopefully we’ll all get there in the end.
      Jas xx

  15. May 28, 2017 / 9:33 pm

    Completely agree with what you say! One bad grade isn’t the end of the world and as long as you always try your best you can’t ask for anything else! I’ve always hated exams, thankfully just one more year of uni left!
    C x
    http://Www.atartanrose.com

  16. May 29, 2017 / 9:00 am

    I’ve never liked exams, I’ve always preferred coursework and practical assesments as I think they showcase what you can do better! Good Luck for your exams!! xx

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