How My Exams Went, According to Me – Part 2

After that cathartic and weirdly contemplative post I wrote yesterday, I had time to calm down and think. How did my exams really go? I wrote that they went from ” alright to soul crushingly terrible in a pit of fire” and whilst that may be true, I wanted to write about them in a more constructive way. So, for your viewing… Horror, here is how my exams went: Elm style.

Psychology, Paper 1

It’s your AS content, they said. It’d be easy, they said. (not really, I’m just trying to make people pity me.) Being my first exam, I naturally started to feel nervous as soon as I left the house; it only increased before I got to school. Before an exam, I do this thing where I frantically revise until literally no more information could go in. Content-wise, I didn’t really need to do that because excluding one other exam, this was the one I was most prepared for.

The exam itself would have gone okay. I had to draw a graph at one point; some of the applying questions were disgusting but I vaguely knew what I was doing. Except, oh dear, I missed out an entire 9 marks worth of questions. How???!!! How the hell did I do that? I wrote about that content in one of the essays! Was I just half asleep or something? I have no idea. When I got out of that exam, I began my yearly wail on Twitter and that was when I found out. Honestly, I still don’t think I’m over it. Apart from that, there weren’t any terrible mishaps (although now I say that, I bet I’ve done something really foolish).

History, Paper 1

In shock, I came out of that exam feeling okay. I hadn’t done anything that warranted a shouting tournament with myself on twitter and unlike last year, no one from my school had liked one of my “I’m going to fail this exam” Tweets. The questions were… Okay – at least the essays; I actually had content for them. The interpretations questions weren’t as good but I had wildly revised the exam technique before. It was bearable. “Two down,” I thought. “I can do this.”

English, Paper 1

This one certainly wasn’t awful: the question on Jane Eyre was wonderful and the Othello question made me nearly shriek with happiness in the exam. The unseen poetry was the worst simply because I misinterpreted it. Maybe they’ll give me marks for technique?? Ah shit. I don’t want to be quick to say it went ‘well’, because I did that last year and this was the exam that pushed my grade down. I emailed my english teacher, who has been a genuine role model for me, to let her know it hadn’t gone too badly. For this one, I’d prepared and the practice essays – sorry, the one essay I did, went as well as I wanted it to. All in all? Not awful.

Psychology, Paper 2

It was on Friday of the first week of exams that I realised I hated Maths, Graphs, pie charts and all research methods. I fucked up this paper. I’m almost completely blind so I get extra time for exams and this time, I used all of it. Part of it was because I was drawing a graph but most of it was because I was trying to hold back tears. It’s really hard to estimate values in a pie chart and to understand the worst diagram I’ve ever seen and my mind went blank. Despite revising the day before, I screwed up a question on content analysis; I just lost my thought processes completely. This wasn’t even the worst exam because there were moments where I felt confident, if you can call it that.

English, Paper 2

You know how I just said that Psychology Paper 2 wasn’t the worst one? That’s because by far, this one was. Having had the weekend to revise and calm down, I thought it’d be okay and I’d prepared even more for this one than I had for the other english. On the morning of the exam, my family and I had had a massive argument and though it didn’t affect my performance, it put me in a terrible mood which, after the exam, came back full force.

The Handmaid’s Tale question was honestly beautiful because I had done almost exactly that question in a revision session and so I felt confident with it. What was awful was unseen prose as I could barely structure my answer and because it was on the same theme, the Streetcar and poetry question; I’d never prepared ‘conflict’ as a theme properly before. I was so upset coming out of it because I’d spent so long doing prep for it and I panicked in the middle of it. Luckily, it didn’t screw up my confidence but it made me feel so shit about myself. There may be nothing I can do about it now but it doesn’t stop the disappointment from affecting me.

History, Paper 2

MY NAME IS, MY NAME IS, MY NAME IS CHARLES THE SECOND – and before you ask, yes, I had that song going through my head on repeat during the exam. If you haven’t heard it, listen to it because it’s amazing.

After the crap that was English, I set to work again. I’d spent so, so long preparing for this exam and it paid off, finally. Even if the source question was really difficult, the essays were good because our teacher had gone through almost identical ones in class before. At one point I really did shriek “YES!” when I saw the question that I’d been revising the night before. It made my confidence climb slowly back up.

Just as I was about to go home, my history teacher found me. When I told her about the questions, I’ve never seen anyone so happpy and so relieved that they were questions which people had prepared for. It was so odd to finally be done with those topics; I’d spent a long while understanding them, so much so that I missed thinking about them when I had to move onto the next exam.

Psychology, Paper 3

Oh, fucking hell. The night before this exam, I realised that I knew very little and that I was the least prepared for this exam out of all of them. In the middle of running over concepts, I started crying, the only thing stopping me from utterly losing control being the conversation I’d had with my friend Robin which reassured me on one topic. For the others, I was a mess and the crying quickly transformed from sobbing over this exam to sobbing over the fact that I’d been suppressing all my unhappiness, trying to be so stably-stable and it was all catching up with me.

Consequently, I got very little sleep and had to wake up at 6 the following morning. Once again, I was revising before the exam, my whole body shaking. However, the exam itself didn’t go as awfully as I thought. It was really upsetting but I got through it; I remember freaking out over more maths content but then feeling this triumphant happiness in my chest as I got to the last question.

When exams themselves were over, because I word process (type), I had to sign all the pages on one of the copies of the exam. I’d forgotten how exhausting writing could be; I honestly can’t stand it. Because I don’t write in ‘print’ normally (I write in braille), I have to individually think about the letters when I’m writing them. As soon as I wrote my last signature, I felt weird – relieved, but it was almost anticlimactic. I was done and well, that was that.

All in all, they didn’t go as badly as I expected. I’m just trying to forget them now, as much as I can. Maybe relaxing, writing and living is the key to doing that. I managed it, somehow.

If you’re still doing exams, whether that be GCSEs or A-Levels, there isn’t long to go. You can do this. You’ve got through the majority of your exams already and you should be proud of yourself for that. The exam mountain isn’t unscalable.

Good luck, everyone. How’re you feeling about exams?

From Elm πŸ™‚

I Have No Time

I was going to begin this post with a “It’s only (insert number here) days until my A-Levels!” and then I realised that the very thought of doing that stressed me out to the point where everything felt cold and I wanted to slip under the school desk I’m sitting at and never emerge again. That’s nothing unfamiliar from the usual and that’s the issue: I’m constantly stressed, constantly terrified and unable to find time to do anything I want. Blogging, talking to friends, relaxing, reading – all of these I’ll be talking about in this post, as well as sobbing generally over my lack of organisation.

On Tuesday, the day I was supposed to be doing my history mock because I was ill the Wednesday prior, our school gave us an assembly that totally fucked up my day and, in short, made me cry. They told us that we should be more panicked, more stressed because our A-Levels are soon, that we should start taking responsibility for our own learning even more than we already do. I’m sure they meant it as a way for us to realise the “urgency”, as they put it, of the lack of time we actually have but it did the opposite for me. It increased my panic, to the point where I could barely breathe whilst listening; I walked downstairs and sat there for a good 15 minutes unable to do anything but breathe raggedly in utter fear.

I never ended up doing that mock in those 3 hours, lying that I’d finished it – I was doing it in my own time anyway – being wildly upset when I was doing other work that ended up helping me in the long run and eventually doing it in the evening where I worked far more productively. But that cut down on my time to do other things; it piled up and I cried twice that day: once in the toilets before lunch so nobody would see and another time at home. In counselling yestarday I told Jane all this, bursting out in a rush along with my general frustration and anger. All that screaming negativity made me realise something, properly for the first time: I don’t have time to do absolutely everything.

There are some people who can balance work with a social life, whilst having good and consistent mental health, can do a few of their hobbies and still have time to relax afterwards. I’m not one of those people. At the moment, I have extremely unstable mental health, no two ways about it; I’m barely able to keep afloat with work; I haven’t read a book for fun in months; my communication with friends has worsened if that’s even possible; I’m always tense. I try to do so many things that I never end up doing any of them, leading to so much stress and I suppose you’d call it anxiety. I withdraw myself, making myself feel so guilty that I try my best to be a good friend which makes me feel guilty for not doing work. It’s quite the cycle.

I love my friends; they’re the ones that have kept me going. Talking to some of my blogging friends at weekends has made me smile and gives a bit of routine to my mind. However, I haven’t been meeting people outside school and my energy for socialising has decreased dramatically. Instead of attacking myself for that, I need to remember that I don’t have an obligation to talk to people all the time: my brain has a lot going on within it and I’m always stressed. I don’t need another stressor on top of that because friends shouldn’t be a stressing factor at all. They’re friends and understand what’s happening, or they will when I explain it to all of them.

What makes me quite sad is that I haven’t given myself time to relax. Apart from extending my skincare routine on weekends, I just haven’t put any effort into making myself feel calm. My logic is that if I don’t have time to talk, I also shouldn’t give myself time to relax either. That’s crap logic. To try and get past that, I bought a few books recently and I’m re-reading Ink and Bone which I bloody love. I’m also trying to go to bed early; my sleep patterns have been so awful for the last few months and I want to fix that. Relaxing is so important, more important than working yourself to the ground. Now, if I could only take my own advice…

*3 decades later* well oops, looks like that might take a lot more work.

You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting recently. I mean you might not have, I’m kind of an insignificant dust speck in space and AAAAHH I’ll just stop talking… Anyway, the reason is simple: I’ve had even less time for blogging. Unlike with GCSEs, I’d rather be writing than studying but I don’t have much of an option. Every time I realise how much I miss blogging I feel quite upset and guilty but that gets me into a horrible mindset. I don’t know what my posts will be like, or when I’ll post them, over the next few months. I could pick myself up or I could slither away into a hole of despair but no matter what, I’m not leaving this blog. Posts just might be a bit short or infrequent but it’s coming up to my 3 year anniversary on here and I want to do something for it.

Schoolwork hasn’t been as monstrous as I thought. I’ve caught up on some notes, written essays, completed bits of homework and almost finished my english coursework, I’d like to say tentatively? things aren’t good but I don’t want to hide utterly right now which is a positive. I’ve kept up more of a dialogue with teachers and I just want to get that work done and not keep crying out of fear and desperation again. It’s an exhausting way to live and as I said to Jane yesterday, I hate it.

Honestly, I’m not sure what I’ll do from here. As I’m feeling rather erratic because of work, uncontrollable feelings and confusion, I can’t very well predict my own behaviour. Bare with me because I’m trying and my trying may not be enough but if it is, things may get a tiny bit more bearable. All I know is that time is running out and I don’t have much more time before exams but in that time, I plan to be as alright as I can be.

How do you manage your time? Also, do you have any ideas about what I should do for my 3 years?

From Elm πŸ™‚

Round 2 of It: I have No Choice

What I like to call Round 2 of Torture – CRAP sorry, I meant exams – starts again tomorrow. 12 of them. WAHEYYY.

This time, I’m not going on an official hiatus because hahahaha that didn’t work the LAST time, but I doubt I’ll post frequently. Or read. Or do anything much – I say that, but I’m pretty sure I’ll go back to barely revising for shit. NO ELM YOU GOTTA REVISE!

Exams mean that I have to numb things. Two weeks ago, I had to make myself not feel it – I had to bury it, not think about it. As much as doing this again is a bit detrimental, I have no choice.

If I want to do well, I have no alternative. If I want to let myself not stress, or not want to burn every bone in my body – I can do nothing but not let it affect me.

My head is possibly more messed up than ever; I don’t know where I stand; I’m confused about everything. I feel very sad the majority of the it, mixed in with bursts of happiness like on Friday which make my life. Because of all that, to me, it’s important that I numb it all. It’s going to be more difficult to NOT feel, but I’ll have to manage.

The process starts about now, after I post this, so I can give myself freedom to PROPERLY revise, as I haven’t done enough this half term. With the stress of exams, plus the stress of everything else, PLUS the stress I’ve caused myself when I realised I haven’t revised – yeah, that’s kind of funny actually.

I wish I could tell you how I’m feeling, all of the confusion and sadness, but I can’t. If I want to start numbing it, I need to do it today so that I at least have a base for it for the rest of the exams. I don’t know how well it will turn out – I really want to write it out and then password protect/make the post private, but again, I can’t.

I wish I could shout at the world, or I wish I had done more revision. Exams are scaring me – I’m TERRIFIED – and I’m worried. I’ll be okay though; I’m making this out. to be worse than it actually is.

I have to let myself not feel. I have to blank it, become a work machine; I have to throw myself into these exams. The only time I’ll talk about my feelings today is probably a brief explanation to a few friends. That’s it. That HAS to be it, and I know it’s not healthy.

Please PLEASE, if you’re going through something, DON’T block it out. Let yourself deal with it, if you have the opportunity. It’s important that you don’t block yourself off to it. You HAVE that option. Take it.

Me? I have no choice.

From Elm πŸ™‚

Guest Post -Revision Tips !!

 

Hey So Elm kindly let me be a contributor on her blog so I thought a cool idea would be to share some revision tips with you as it’s coming up to exams. I didn’t want to mention the typical do a mind map and stuff because everyone knows them. I wanted something a bit more original than that. Although I’m no expert mind you so maybe don’t 100% trust me. Anyway I’ve practiced these tips myself I did these tips for my Prelims (that’s like mocks) and got two As in English and History so I think they work quite well for essay base subjects.So here it goes.

  1. TALK IT OUT – Yell it from the rooftops ,deafen your cat with facts about Lenin And The Russian Revolution , call up the pizza company and teach them about Shakespeare. Do whatever you wan’t I don’t care Just speak it. Apparently you take in 50% of what you discuss and 90% of what you teach others that’s 90% more than what you read(going all statistics on you now soz) anyway put down the textbook and go for a coffee with you mate and revise. It’s more fun anyway.
  2. WRITE ON THE QUESTION PAPER – This is more an exam tip than a revision one. Anyway underline the key points in the question it forces you to read it more thoroughly and know exactly what your looking for. Trust me I learnt this the hard way(I wrote a whole essay in my exam on the wrong question) and I still managed to get an A yeah I know the Scottish education system sucks you probably want to avoid this mistake at ALL COSTS!!
  3. PAST PAPERS –If you follow any of these tips it should be this one. Forget fun colourful mind maps (and stop kidding yourself adding a bit of dried out green highlighter does not make revision any more fun) you may as well stick to the efficient basics. With past papers you get into the routine of knowing what their looking for. And who knows In the exam you may get basically the same question just worded a little different.If your lucky. πŸ˜‰
  4. SLEEP , EAT , SURVIVE – Please don’t destroy yourself over your exams I know they may seem important and they are ( coming from me someone who lives in a country with a free equal education system , health care and Benefit system which makes being unemployed seem almost attractive ) but as I said earlier it’s shit anyway so your not missing out on much. But seriously what use are you if your a lifeless zombie in the exam who’s bursting into tears every ten seconds. The reality is most of us won’t fail drastically and at the same time may not get the golden straight As either. But the majority on people on the planet are just average like you and me and there doing ok so don’t destroy yourself over it. Whatever the result Your still great. ohh and listen to this song it always makes me feel better : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuWrJ1ijC0Y

Ok so maybe not the best tips in the world but I hope some of them work for you.

Oh and just a disclaimer if you fail your exams please don’t come after me with a pitch fork πŸ™‚ Good Luck x

I’m a Work Fiend NO

So, Elm! What are you going to revise today?

Um. Biology, gonna do a past paper – hey, I should do two units like I’ll do on the day of the B2 and B3 exam, Then physics hopefully if I’m not too tired because I need to do 2 past papers and one’s optional, and OH WAIT I haven’t read through my entire poetry anthology for English – SHIT I need to re-read To Kill a Mockingbird and An Inspector Calls, and oh wait, I haven’t done the history revision I was supposed to do this week so I NEED to do that, and HA, what about music? OH GOD I haven’t done any-

STOP.

Right. I have… A problem? As you can see from the paragraph above, I’ve somewhat panicked myself – or rather, locked myself into a loop of “NO, I haven’t done this and this and this, so I NEED to do that right now because my exams start in 39 days!”

I swear I always do this. I’m going to devote an ENTIRE day to revision (with breaks) but I’m terrified I’m not doing enough. What if I’m doing this all wrong? How can I make the revision go in, without panicking? The fact I’m revising is good, but again, am I doing something wrong?!

Alright. CALM DOWN. I AM scared, but I just have to take deep breaths. I’m DEFINITELY doing biology today, and physics too, as well as physics tomorrow. Then, I’ll give myself a break, even though everything is screaming at me to NOT do that, and to just work work work work. (That STUPID shitty Rihanna song is now stuck in my head WAHEYYY).

Have any of you got exams coming up, and if so, what are your strategies for coping? When the exams get closer I’m going to hide in a corner and just scream my lungs out.

From Elm πŸ™‚

OKAY I have 3 more to go

HEY!

Sort of hyper because I just finished my maths mock and I’ve got 3 more to go and because I’m boring, I’ll tell you.

8.30 tomorrow: Music
11.00 tomorrow: Biology
8.30 on Wednesday: Sociology

I am SO sorry for not posting in the last however many days but honestly? For about the first time ever, I have no motivation to post.

YOU WHAT

HELL

I’m not joking. Whoops? Trust me, on Wednesday you’re going to get a post, probably in all caps. Also, I haven’t been reading your posts AT ALL. Sigh.

God, I feel disconnected, like I’m barging in on the blogging world and going “HEYY guys… Yeah…”

I… I’m going to go and revise and then hibernate, or both. GAH this was so crappy and I’ve lost my blogging touch.

It’ll come back.

Are you all okay? After Wednesday… OKAY after Wednesday I’ll jump back into the blogosphere.

From Elm πŸ™‚

Hibernation is Cool (Not Really)

Err, I don’t want to do this, and I’m about the least likely person to EVER do this – being devoted to my blog like it’s my baby or whatever – but I, um, need to take a break?

I have mocks starting on the 11th and I NEED to revise. I don’t know if not blogging’s a drastic measure, and I’l probably break halfway through and rage about how shit exams are, but I think I NEED this. I’m not sure though.

What it means is NO posting from now until… The 20th? Oh GOD I CAN’T DO THAT. Maybe I’ll post some things BEFORE the 11th, but NOTHING after that. No way. Maybe at the weekends – ELM STOP!!!!!

The point is, I’m TRYING to cut down on blogging for now. I’m sorry, it’s just I don’t know what to do because I haven’t been studying as much. I might delete the app off my phone to make sure I’m not tempted to use it. God, I feel crap for doing this, but I know it’s a good thing to do?

This means I won’t be doing the following things much, or at ALL, until about the 20th:

Reading posts
Commenting on posts
Replying to comments (not sure on that one)
POSTING
Doing ANY awards whatsoever
Talking to many bloggers

In regards to that last one, I’m probably going to fail. You need me, I’m here. I just might be even WORSE at replying than usual.

So again, I’m sorry. I just need to put my head down and STUDY LIKE HELL, not that that’ll do much good, because my willpower is shot to hell.

If something bad happens, PLEASE let me know. I’m not distancing myself ENTIRELY.

From Elm πŸ™‚