Hi, well I will be honest with you and say that my title is a bit of an overstatement. Meaning that naturally the idea of having mocks and the idea that the grade which I obtain will partly determine my “UCAS” predicted grade, does cause a little anxiety. However at the same time I am telling myself that there is no real reason why I, or anyone, needs to be worried.
I know that many feel especially anxious because of this reason on top of the immense disruption to our learning, which we have all experienced. But I know that I have “done my best” therefore why should I waste my time worrying? I would also like to acknowledge that “we are all in the same boat” however I am aware that this is not entirely true. As we are all experiencing our own issues, and we all go to different schools/collages of varying degrees of helpfulness. Nonetheless regardless of these circumstances (which I know suck), this will be ok!
So here are the reasons why stressing about exams is unnecessary. now I will start with the more “basic” reasons, but then I will move on to why the value of exams (or mocks, or unis or whatever else) is immensely overestimated!
Disclaimer- I know that this these experiences regarding sixth fform and exam arrangements arrange massively between people, therefore some of mmy experiences I am taliing about are going to vary very differently to yours. Therefore feel free to comment your experiences!
1. Teachers aren’t expecting you to do as well as you would have necessarily done so otherwise
Ok, so it may not seem that way- when a teacher sends you this perpetual power-point on politics where you seem to write about 4 A4 sheets of notes, in the equilivant to one lesson. Or when you get an attachment to an A level economics “tutor to you lesson” where the videos collectively take up about 90 minutes of watching- never mind making the notes! Nonetheless, any teacher with some humanity (which is most of them, believe it or not) is going to understand that working from home isn’t any where near as effective than completing assigned tasks in a classroom environment.
They will realise that naturally us young people absorb less motivation and for that matter, knowledge penetrating from a laptop compared to in a proper lesson. Therefore we are all going to struggle. And I also reckon it is the same for teachers! Because if my teachers were as motivated while at home, then surly they would stick to their hour long “zooms”, while still producing attractive looking notes for us all (though I will thank mine and other teachers- as I know that all of mine and so many others have been working extensively hard during this lockdown). But anyway- nobody naturally is going to be as self displined at home, and take stuff in as much, and teachers do understand this. Therefore no one will be “mad” if we do slightly less well than expected.
2. Think of how low next years grade boundaries will be
So we all know that we are struggling collectively. Therefore if we are all a little behind, then the grade boundries will creep down to our level. Now as we probably know, these boundries are not set in stone. Remembering GCSE’s, the teachers would always stress that these do adjust year to year depending on how well we do. Possibly because of the varying difficulties of each batch of exam papers from year to year.
While next year, the exam boards will be all too aware that we will be the year who has gone through a pandemic. Therefore it is obvious that collectively, we would have potentially have done better in our exams if it hadn’t been for this. Therefore all exam boards will have no choice but to lower the grade boundaries.
Teachers will be well aware of this too, so if one doesn’t do quite as well as what would have been expected otherwise, teachers will have to make allowances for this. Therefore the “mock” expectations will also be lowered, so we will probably still have the predicted grade which we deserve.
3. “They are only mocks”
Yeah, the thought of having “mocks” always brings a sense of impending doom upon us all, however teachers know us relatively well, and know roughly what we are capable of. Therefore if we don’t do too well in these tests but we have generally been doing well all year, then teachers are going to realise that our mock result doesn’t determine what we will actually get or what we are actually capable of. So its fine…
Now it is fair to also say that a teachers view on what we can achieve is far more subjective than the result in a mock, but consuidering it- the accpomplishment of a mock or an actual test is as well. Considering it is hard to predict how we will exactly perform on a specific day.
However the two can bring about a good kind of bridge for assessment.
4. We still have time
So the thought of attaining a predicted grade, made up from an assessment of a teacher who you may have only known for less than a year, plus an exam that has kind of been thrown upon you still doesn’t sound great does it? Hopefully, even so, these combined may give some good insight. However we have over 4 months of education (hopefully in school) before this grade is finalised, therefore plenty of time to prove what you are capable of. So if you keep on persisting with a subject, then you could easily hatch that grade up by one, or even two letters.
And that’s basically my attitude. If I fuck up these mocks, I have four months to work hard, and show the teachers that I am capable of attaining better grades than what I would have done in mocks.
5. Better than having them in September!
So some argue it is ridiculous to have thesel, considering that we will have hardly been at school sinse early march. Yeah, you may claim that is an entirely unnecessary burden of stress. But think about it…
Would you really want to be worrying about these throughout the summer holidays? I know I certainty wouldn’t. I deserve a break and you all do too!
However if you are in the bloody situation of having to do these in September, firstly I don’t envy you; but just try your best to switch off during the summer, and only begin to worry about these as you return. Because otherwise it is just counter productive, and you deserve a break anyhow!
6. We often assume the worst of ourselves
Now I don’t know about you, but I hate it when you are in a classroom after compleating some sort of mock test, or just before you get the result of it. And all you can hear are people saying, “I’ve done so badly”, “I know that I have failed” or “I have definitely ggot a U”. It is actually so offputting, but most of us do it. Maybe so then if we talk ourselves down, then when we get a grade above what we have been saying, but maybe slightly below what we may have hoped to have gotten, we don’t feel quite so bad about ourselves. But also I think that naturally we have the tendency to think the worse off oursleves.
Therefore we are bound to feel worried about mocks, thinking that we are going to do terrifically bad. when in reality we do know more than we think we do. Therefore push that “bad grade” up in your mind, and remember that it doesn’t define your self worth regardless.
7. We have been caught in the middle of a pandemic
This has been so harmful for us all in ways. Nobody is expected to do so well learning, or doing whatever, when there is so much going on in the world. Which has firstly been worrying and overwelming for everyone to some extent, but it has also been a massive learning curve for us all. Until then, we didn’t kow how to stay away from friends for such a large period of time, how to automatically keep 2 metres away from those conflicting passers by on our walks, not to mention in the supermarket, not to mention being able to focus on as much work at home as ever before! All whilst we have been learning about the nature off this virus, about how the world around us can change so rapidly and um….how rubbish our government is…
Therefore who is expected to be so produictive. Yeah, we may have parents who have been working throughout, and we may know people our age who have been woorking in supermarkets (don’t ask me how…). Howeverthough we are almost adults, we are still very young. And even when we turn 18 even when we are 20 something, we are still classed as young adults. This doesn”t make usstupiud at all! But means that theres generally more to take in at this age, as we have seen less off the world than maybe our older counterparts though I definitly feel we have taken more in, than they would have at our age…
While A levels require taking in a lot of information.. Therefore it is naturally going to be more difficult, when there has been a pandemic- where we have also been required to take a lot in…
7. Grades don’t “define” you
Now you may quite rightly feel that despite of this pandemic, some are going to be more effected by this than others. And I cannot deny that this is true. We all struggle in different ways, but I know this will have been especially hard for some people. I guess this enhances that up to a point, however even if this hadn’t happened, people still struggle with stuff throughout their education, which can seem, and is immensly unfair.
Attaining slightly lower grades because of what life brings you, isn’t a sign of being “weak” or being “less intelligent”. It makes you incredibly strong.
Unfortunately this is something that universities don’t necessarily realise either, or they like to conceal it. But anyone who has or is in this situation, what you have gone through personally is more of a sign of strong willpower, and being able to get further in actual life, than any letter on a piece off paper would ever be!! (yup, 2 explanation marks, because this is some important ass stuff).
But we don’t just learn from what is taught to us at school and a number doesn”t define our intelligence; not to mention our wisdom or kindness. In-fact I think that wistom is far more important than intelligence. This way why on earth should we ponder upon grades?
8. There’s more than one university!
Now I know that many desire to get into oxford of Cambridge (or “Oxbridge” if you want to sound extra prestigious haha). And while I am too lazy for all that, I wouldn’t have minded going somewhere like London or Bristol. However for the course I want to take, Kings collage requires three As. And I mean it would be nice if I could get that, but really what would happen if I don’t? There’s Cardiff, there’s other less posh ones in London, and there are many others to be properly discovered and noted down when I stop procrastinating.
Same course. Less chance of being in the same lecture hall as a future tory minister (ever so sorry!).
Oh and less pressure! phew….
9. So much more to yourself
Now far more plays toward who you are, as well as simply grades! Just think about what you have overcome in life to reach this point. Just think of what personal virtues you may hold, or may attain in the next few years. Think of your personality in general, or about what else you are good at.
You really don’t need to put your worth down to how well you do in a test (well a few of them). That would be ridiculous.
10. So much more to life…
Honestly there is not only soo much more about you, compared with the grades you get, but there is so much more to be seen and achieved in life.
Just think, you don’t know if a place at a certain university will get you a specific job in the future- let alone a job you enjoy- not to mention a life!
Therefore these grades (especially these mocks) play such a miniscule role in just everything really. Therefore why worry so much?
From having an alarmingly over the top attitude toward GCSE’s (though I would still constantly stress how I thought they didn’t matter) and until a few months ago I was rather anxious about these impending mocks, I am glad that I have had somewhat success in playing down these worries.
Honestly life is too short, and it is something I want to work on, not only concerning exam- but everything…