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GCSEs are over! Advice to my former self and encouragement for the future

Well, after a month of exams, we are DONE! Over the last few weeks, I’ve completed 26 exams and I will receive the results in August. Until then, here is my advice to not only my fellow Year 11s, but also the upcoming GCSE students.

In the summer

You deserve a break! You’ve written page after page, revised for hour after hour and completed exam after exam. Whilst it might be tempting to jump straight into any summer work that you have to do, take a break. Pause for a minute, reflect on the exams and be proud of your achievements. Additionally, if an exam didn’t go so well, don’t dwell on it. You can’t do anything to change it now. And, by the way, you normally do better than you think. There’s no point stressing about grade boundaries; it depends on how everybody else has done and therefore we won’t find out until results day.

On the other hand, if an exam has gone really well, celebrate it! After the build up of a lot of pressure, it is completely natural to feel exhausted and worn out. I have spent just over 31 hours in an exam hall since GCSEs began- that’s over a week of school!

Finally, enjoy your holidays! Whether you are planning on going abroad or staying in the local area, make the most of this long summer break.

On results day

You are bound to be nervous- I know I will be. Today, your achievements will finally be recognised. If your grades are positive, then well done! I expect that I will feel a distinct sense of relief when I open my envelope, when my grades will hopefully reflect the hard work I have put in. Don’t compare yourself to others; we all have different aims and abilities. However, if disappointment comes your way instead of delight, then all is not lost. You can talk to your sixth form, college or employer and discuss the next steps and outcomes. If all else fails, then you can choose to have an exam paper remarked or take them again in the November resits or the following year. Remember: There will be another option. I really hope that you receive the grades you want and deserve.

On another note, there are usually plenty of restaurants you can get discounts on or even a free meal, so keep an eye out!

To the Year 10s

When the Year 11s finished their GCSEs last year, we were all slightly panicked that our exams would be really difficult and the grade boundaries would be sky high. From what I have seen and heard, this is how many year 10s are feeling right now in their last few weeks before they embark on the thrill ride that is Year 11. I would however advise you not to worry just yet. Revising for hours a day at this point will not be particularly beneficial come next year and you risk burning yourself out. The best thing to do would be to buy or make your revision resources over the summer and begin in September doing an hour a day of revision, gradually building this time up until your exams begin in 2025. There’s nothing you can do about the questions you get, so simply make sure you are prepared. As long as you do your best, no matter the result, you should have no regrets. Your best IS enough. Enjoy your summer, and come back ready for the final push!

If you liked this article and want to hear more, check out @tash_talker1 on Instagram! 

Also, see other articles from me below.

By Natasha Callis
Photo credit: Veliki Zali on Unsplash

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