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hollyberry06 Offline
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Exclamation Anyone got any advice? - May 30th 2018, 10:48 PM

I didn't really know where to post this, but here goes. I came on this site earlier this year for a similar problem regarding inferiority to my twin sister. I received some pretty good advice, so I'm hoping someone can help me...

I live in the UK and I'm in the middle of my GCSE period. I've got another 12 exams left to do before I can leave still...

Right now, everything's just getting too much! I'm trying so hard to put on a brace face and smile but I just had a breakdown and seriously need help. My nerves are so high and I'm struggling to make it through the day. I pretty much freak out whenever I'm going into an exam and I can't cope with the pressure. My teachers are pulling me in a million different directions, trying to get me to prioritise their subject over all others. In fact, as a high-achiever I'm expected to spend every second of the day studying hard and intensely and I can't actually do that. I have an issue with my energy levels and can't stay up late or get tired easily during the day which makes studying non stop impossible. I really can't cope right now and my nerves are at an all time high. My teachers have spent so much time trying to get me to learn the top grade content that I don't actually remember any of the pass grade content I actually need to know! I feel so much pressure from my teachers to succeed too. My Mum keeps telling me it doesn't matter and that I don't even like my teachers, which is true. But I'd feel so much guilt if they invested all this time and effort trying to get me a top grade and I blew it... I couldn't even cope with it.
Of course it doesn't help having my sister in the house either, with her non stop studying on maximum overdrive. I don't mean to swear, but she doesn't half make me feel like shit...

You know that phrase, "Light at the end of the tunnel"? Well, I don't see it. Even with two weeks left of my secondary school education, I still don't see the light at the end. I have no motivation, no will-power and no energy to keep going...

Please, I just need some advice... if anyone can give me any I'd be so grateful...
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Re: Anyone got any advice? - May 31st 2018, 04:49 PM

Hey there,

It sounds like you are dealing with a lot of stress right now. I know you worry that you are going to disappoint your teachers but they don't really matter especially if you aren't fond of them. I know that you feel that they invested a lot of time into helping you do well and it's awesome that they did; however you should not harm your mental well being trying to please them. All you can do is your best and it sounds like that is exactly what you are doing. If you don't get the best scores possible but you did your absolute best the scores shouldn't matter as much. I know that is easier said then done but this is something I had to learn because I was stressing myself out over school. It sounds like your mom sees that you are struggling and I am wondering if you have the ability to try and talk to her a bit more. It sounds like the things with your sister are continuing to bother you but maybe if you were to talk to your mom about all that it could help. Having support from friends and family can end up being quite beneficial.

I hope that this helped in some way and I am wishing you the best of luck.

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Celyn Offline
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Re: Anyone got any advice? - May 31st 2018, 07:24 PM

I'm glad to hear you received pretty good advice for another problem on here, and I hope we can continue to be just as helpful to you

GCSEs can definitely be stressful. So many subjects and so many exams, I can see how the stress and the pressure to succeed builds up. That said, you don't have to put on a brave face and smile, if you aren't feeling it. Exam season is a stressful time and sometimes people forget that, or they might not realise how you are feeling until you have a breakdown. Perhaps this pressure to put on a brave face and do well is only adding to the stress? As the above poster suggested, perhaps try talking to your mum or anyone else that you trust.

Teachers do want all of their students to pass, and perhaps because they specialise in their own subject areas, they might 'forget' that you have other classes besides theirs. Since you can't please everyone, it might help to focus on yourself and what you find you need to study the most. Usually maths and english are often asked for whether you continue in further education or get a job. After that, it depends on what you want to do e.g. do you need to pass a certain class in order to study/work in an area that you are interested in? You can also try thinking of the subjects and topics that you are confident in and those that you are less confident in. By doing this (and taking into consideration the dates of the exams) it might help you to prioritise what you study and how much time to spend on certain areas (more for those you aren't confident in, less for those that you are).

Nobody should be expecting you to work yourself into exhaustion! If you can plan your time effectively, then there's no need to stay up late. It might also not be very effective to study non stop. Sometimes short sessions of 20-30 minutes regularly, might be more effective than studying for an hour as you may find it more difficult to keep concentrating for a long time, especially if you feel tired, bored or frustrated. Also, if there is a particular time of day when you feel tired, avoid studying as that may be counterproductive. And in general, don't forget that there are many creative ways to study such as mindmaps, flashcards, getting someone to quiz you on things, making timelines, recording yourself reading notes and playing it back etc.

Sometimes teachers might focus on the high grade content as that might be where you get most of the marks and not only that if you are capable of learning and understand the high grade content, then you might not need to spend so much time on the lower grade content (although I understand your concerns...maybe you can bring this up with your teachers or spend a little bit of time on the areas you are unsure of?)

Pressure can help us to work hard to do well, but sometimes it can be too much and have the opposite affect where we feel less motivated. Teachers are there to teach and want all of their students, past, present and future to do well. They invest their time and effort into teaching because they want to but they are also human and they understand how stressful exam season and sometimes things don't always go to plan. I understand that being a high achiever may mean that teachers might put more pressure on you. But remember to do this for yourself- they are your GCSE exams and your results, not the teachers. In the worst case scenario that you don't do as well as expected, there's no need to feel guilt for teachers putting the effort in. That's what they do regardless. And as it's been said, you really can only do your best!

Your sister has her own exams to deal with and though I understand it can be very frustrating to see a sibling spend so much time studying and feeling like you don't compare, you aren't in competition. You are different people, with different strengths and weaknesses...you can't be compared. If your sister bothers you that much, maybe there is somewhere else you can study, like a library, park or coffee shop? Let your sister do her studying and focus on your own studying

It can definitely help to think of a light at the end of the tunnel, even if you can't see one (yet!) Exams and school are temporary and in the bigger picture of your life, take up less time than you think. Maybe you can think of something that you can reward yourself with when the exams are over? It can help to give you a bit of a push and motivation when you feel you have none. Whether you are aiming to do well to please your teachers, or just for yourself, you can only do your best. Even if things don't quite work out, you can retake some exams or find something else to do that you are interested in.

Equally, remember to find some relaxing time for yourself during all this studying as it can help to keep the stress at bay. And if you are really struggling, consider talking to a teacher or a counsellor as they will understand that mental health difficulties can come to the surface during exam season (especially test performance anxiety!)

Take care and best of luck!

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