Recently, thousands of children either traveled to their school or awaited online to receive their GCSE results. I was one of the few thousands to check their results online, as I go to an English school in the Middle East.
It was both terrifying and exciting. I’m not going to lie, but I did end up crying at my results. Not because they were bad grades, but because they were not the grades I had expected. I really wanted to do well in two of my favourite subjects, which were Art and Sociology. Now, I worked my butt off on both of those subjects and I really wanted a B in both of them as I wanted to do them for A Level and thats what I needed- but I didn’t get a B in either of them, I got a C instead. I know, it’s still a pass but I really wanted a B. Luckily, one of my teachers emailed me back saying that I could attend Sixth Form and do both Sociology and Art (as well as English Literature, which I was very happy about as I got an A in that!).
Overall, I got a DD (for Double Science), four C’s, a B, an A and an A*! After being so disappointed with my Art and Sociology, I finally realised that my grades were actually really good and I did bloody amazing! My family and I celebrated by going out for dinner and my sister baked me a cake!
As you might know from my Revising blog post back in May, I HATE revising. I only just found out I have Slow Processing and Inattentive ADHD in January, so I had to find ways on how I could actually remember things in my brain. The best way of revising for me was to watch YouTube videos on people explaining the subjects and also making mind maps. I also listened to a lot of Instrumental music during those months of painful revising as it helped me to focus.
For many people now, they will start their GCSEs in Year 9. I started mine in Year Ten though, as they’ve only just changed it. I don’t think I actually cared about my GCSEs much in Year Ten. Obviously, I hadn’t been diagnosed with Slow Processing and Inattentive ADHD back then, so I hadn’t really done much revising. I was getting good grades, although I did need to improve. I think I didn’t realise how important these exams were. I can’t actually remember much of what I did in Year Ten but what I do remember is me being really lazy and unmotivated, and also hardly revising.
It was kind of like this at the start of Year 11 as well, until I had my mocks in January and then we found out about my learning disability which explained that it wasn’t actually my fault that I kept getting distracted and being unmotivated. I was behind on my Art, a lot, so I had to quickly catch up and also focus on all the other subjects. Luckily in Year Ten I took my I.T GCSE which I got a B in. For the practical I revised quite a lot but I didn’t really revise for the theory because I wasn’t motivated to do it. I don’t think I actually deserved the B but I’m glad I still did well on it. There was actually a question on the theory exam paper which they hadn’t taught us (it was about washing machine sensors, like WTF?!?) and I remember going on Twitter after the exam and seeing one of my favourite tweets ever.
Once we found out that I was diagnosed with Slow Processing and Inattentive ADHD, everything changed for me, and I found that everything was clearer. I was able to understand why I was so unmotivated and I understood why I got so easily distracted. I still didn’t like doing the revising, but my Mum was a lot of help with that. Even though there was a lot of stress, tears and anger, my Mum still sat me down and helped me to revise. Once I was on study leave my Mum took me to her work which was better than staying at home all alone. It meant I was in a working environment making it was easier for me to focus, where if i was at home I would feel unmotivated because it’s a place where I like to chill and not work. I really owe my Mum a lot. If it hadn’t been for her sitting me down and helping me to revise, I don’t think I would be going back to school on Sunday.
GCSEs are very, very stressful, I’m not going to lie, but as long as you put the work in it will all pay off in the end. I’ve already heard so many people say this, but I’m going to say it again. Your grades don’t define you. Lots of people I know who didn’t get good grades in their GCSEs are some of the most successful people I know. It’s just sometimes a harder and longer route that you have to take.
Also, if you are doing your GCSEs this year or next year, or whenever, just remember to also do stuff that you like. Go out with your friends, spend time with your family, read a book, watch a film, anything you want. Just make sure you get some studying in there as well. Also, my sociology teacher told my class to not shut your family out. When he said this, I thought “What? I wouldn’t shut my family out!”, but as the exams came closer I began to slightly drift away from my family. You actually start to realise how important your family are. I mean, of course they’ve always been important, but what I’m trying to say is that your family are there to support you and help you. They are the reason why you are who you are today.
The subjects I took were English Literature, English Language, Maths, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, I.T, Business Studies, Sociology and Art. English, Maths and Science were compulsory and the other four were my options. I.T, I kind of found a little boring as there was quite a lot of theory to it but the practical work was fun. Business Studies was interesting at first but in the end I hated the subject because it was boring and also the teacher was mean to me (I think she thought I was going to fail the subject and kept picking on me and feeding on my embarrassment, but I got a C in the end so I’m happy now. I just hope she’s not my form tutor when I go back to school). Sociology, I found so interesting because you learn about how people are themselves today and how the media affects people (etc, etc). Art was very stressful as you get quite a lot of work to do, but once I caught up with everything I started to enjoy it more (even though it was still quite stressful).
While doing my exams I also started to have some symptoms of anxiety. I felt a huge weight of stress on my shoulders, I was struggling to breath sometimes, I felt like I wasn’t good enough and I kept breaking down and crying when it all got to too much. I felt like I was alone even though I knew I wasn’t. When I told my Mum all of this, she said that I’m experiencing the type of environmental anxiety (where you start getting anxiety because of a environmental change). It wasn’t very pleasant but a big hug from my family did make me feel happier. I guess this is one of the reasons why I’m like a sloth now and I like to cuddle a lot – because it calms me down and makes me feel happier.
I’m going to end this blog post now as it’s really long, but I’ll give some advice to people who are just starting, or half way through taking their GCSEs. Just make sure you study lots but also have lots of time to do things that make you happy. You will feel like you’re alone sometimes, but you’re not. The people that will help you through this are right in front of you. Don’t bottle all the stress up. Let it flow out of you. Write down how you’re feeling or tell someone about it. It always works for me. If you are taking your GCSEs, then I wish you luck. It’s one hell of a rollercoaster but it always works out in the end.
Just remember that we are all different, so don’t expect your GCSE experience to go as bad as mine. You might have a great experience!
Thanks for reading!