• Marvin Molloy

The Exam Times

I’m not sure how our Y6 and Y10 & 11 students are feeling about it being mental health awareness week on the week that they are taking their SATS and their GCSE’s are beginning.

Youngsters at schools often feel under pressure very early now, especially when the talk of SATS and GCSE’s is mentioned. Parents have their expectations, Schools & Academies have their targets to achieve and pressure is felt by those students who are sat in their exams.

For many of them, this has been a time that they have been dreading, and had feelings of uncertainty and anxiety about remembering as much information from their subjects as possible and doing well.

FEAR is always a word that is prominent when we speak to young people about their exams. FEAR of failing, forgetting the answers or letting their family down to name but a few.

I was never good in an exam environment and I often made a mess of them. I was devastated when i was put in a bottom set for science at high school following a poor SATS score. The scars stayed with me, and even 10 years later whilst I was at university I was still avoiding the modules that were exam based even if they were on subjects I found interesting.

In my final year an exam was unavoidable so I had to sit one and despite hours sat at my desk and an all nighter in the university library with a group of friends, revising one question that we knew was going to come up on the day. I still managed to answer a question differently to the one which we all revised.

Knowing what I know now, I find it crazy to think that from the age of 11 till the age of 21, I had not been able to move on from that bad result and make any improvements to my exam sitting abilities.

We are often told by schools that teachers want their students in lessons to revise, rather than engaging in extra curricular activities, but I do wonder how many pupils have had a similar experience to me and are facing serious blockages that they can’t get past in their exam preparations.

We coach our young people on our Design Your Future revision programme, to make sure that they create the right environment to revise properly in, to form their revision plan and use the techniques which work for them and to make sure that they enter their exam feeling certain that they have done all the work that they needed to do for each subject (especially the ones they like and need most) and that they have given their all.

We rarely even mention the subjects, we just remind them that the exam represents a great day for them to go and write about all the things that they have learnt on the subject and remind them to take their time, not to panic and read through all the questions carefully.

Enjoy it and see if the answers flow through quicker and more effectively than if you walk in with FEAR, worry and uncertainty because you haven’t done your best or because you got bored of revising or were unable to revise properly when you were told to do so in lessons.


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