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GCSE Exams, Failures, Resits and Revision Advice

Gemma Hallett | 20th August 2019

Today's guest blogger is Cerys Foot, an 18 year old school leaver who shares her GCSE journey with you

A scren grab of Cerys's Youtube video

Cerys's video is on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3D5ytRr_Fo

It's probably causing a lot of stress for a lot of young people right now, so I'm just going to give you my experience of GCSE’s, describing what I did and what I didn't do, and more importantly in reflection, what I should have done.

Looking back on when I was doing my GCSE's I was very stressed and emotional, and I didn't listen to the advice that people were trying to give me. I probably made things a lot more difficult for myself I did next to no revision which bit me in the bum in the long run and I remember briefly a revising in the night before a history exam, honestly that’s all I remember doing. I didn't really listen to teachers; I didn't listen to my parents at all and I just didn't take it very seriously.

Results Day Disappointment

Which led to feeling pretty bad on results day. I remember opening my exam results in front of people I was just holding back tears, I didn't do very well and I was really disappointed in myself and I know other people were going to be disappointed in me as well which was just a horrible feeling.

I had a good cry, I had to get it all out, before I had a discussion with my mother and she told me that there was always next year, now this isn't something that you should live by, but in this case there was next year. Not Ideal though because even though I was able to resit in year 11 and redo those GCSE exams.

This time around I wanted to do my best, so when year 11 came along I did knuckle down. I revised, I tried hard, one thing that made a difference to me was making a revision timetable, I planned out the different subjects on different days. It helped me because without a plan, usually I'm the type of person that wouldn’t end up doing it.

I committed to attending revision classes offered by teachers after school and during lunchtime I know this doesn't sound like the most appealing thing to do but honestly it did help, especially having a teacher on hand to support. It was really useful, so I'd recommend doing that if you have the opportunity.

Another thing I found useful was past papers, you can get these from a WJEC website or you can ask your teachers for them. I was taking them home, writing out the essays and answering the different questions, I gave myself a time scale to work by as well. It kind of gives you the exam experience because you do have a set time and you do need to organize your time quite well because there are a lot of questions and there can be a lot of writing involved.

These helped me prepare to retake the exams, but I think my main motivation was how I did the year before. I used my failure as a motivator, yeah I didn't do very well and I wasn't proud of it at all. I was looking back and thinking oh my god I do not want to go through that again, I don't want to be sat in front of people trying not to cry because I was disappointed. I knew I could have done better so I used that to my advantage, and it worked, I didn't cry when I got my results the second time… well I cried with happy tears.

Resit Results

So eventually I got the results that I wanted and I was eventually happy. I would advise you guys to stay calm you know if you don't get the results you wanted first time then there is always a second time to do it or a third time or even a fourth time, it doesn't matter how many times it takes, as long as you get the results that you want. I wouldn't put all the pressure on the world on your shoulders over these exams because, yes they are important, but they are not the be-all and end-all of everything.

I would also advise you to revise because if you want A's and B's you're not going to get them without putting the work in. By putting the effort in and making a plan, you can commit to additional classes after school, do the homework, and do the essays, you’d be as prepared as possible.

I want you to know that even if you don't do well it doesn't mean, for one second, that you're not intelligent. Just because you're not an academic person doesn't mean you're not clever and I know the way the school systems work’s, and that is what a lot of you guys feel like, it’s what I thought of myself. If you don’t do well in your results, it is not the end of the world. I cried and cried when I failed, but after a year of applying myself, I did it. 

I wish you all the best with exams and your results, and if you need to, go ahead and apply the process and learning I went through, I’m sure it’ll help.

Cerys Foot

You can watch this as a vlog on my YoutTube playlist here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3D5ytRr_Fo

and follow the miFuture journey across social on @miFutureApp