A little mid-exam advice

"I know I didn't do well in the exam yesterday so I may as well give up on revision, I don't see the point"

A comment I was faced with by a student who struggled with the new Maths GCSE paper, should she give up?

The obvious answer is 'no' but it is a lot easier to state the obvious than put it into practice so this was the advice I gave her:

  • Your ability to do well in your other exams is not based on previous performance but its based on your attitude - a positive attitude is 80% of what I teach and makes the difference between collapsing under exam nerves and showing them what you are made of!
  • Everyone found that paper hard and bear in mind they always have to moderate the papers. This is not something to rely on but you have to be realistic - especially with the new syllabus, they are likely to have teething problems when judging the difficulty of the new exams. Don't take it personally.
  • Take it as a positive experience you can learn from. If you come across difficult questions next time, I want to you remember two things:
  1. You do know information that will help you answer the question. Don't start a question by thinking 'Oh no, I don't know this!'. Start with, 'ok, this looks different, what do I know that can help with this?'
  2. Give yourself freedom to think. Although exams are timed, there is no rush to come to an answer for a specific question as the order you do questions makes absolutely no difference. Read the question, mull it over, do other questions whilst you let your brain break it down for you. You'll be surprised what your subconscious can do! I often suggest students start by reading the most tricky questions at the back of a paper before answering questions from the front. By the time you come to the back questions, your brain would have been chipping away at the possible strategies and you'll be ready to go!

Good luck with the rest of your exams. You will enjoy the victory of finishing a lot more if you know you gave it your all and didn't give up. Race towards the finish-line!