To everyone out there in the midst of exam fever – GOOD LUCK and may the force be with you….when I hugged my daughter goodbye this morning and wished her all the luck in the world, I did wonder to myself what we do to our children. Are exams still relevant? Are they outdated? Should we be looking at a different, perhaps global level of accomplishment? WHAT IS THE POINT OF THEM? Do they mean anything at all? Are they worth all the stress?
My heart really does go out to all of you taking exams at the moment as well as to all those parents and siblings and pets and doors that have had to put up with absolute nightmare that goes with revision hell.
My daughter had her first two A Level exams today and whilst I hate to stereotype children in general, my kids have been very different in the way they have revised and as it just so happens, they are a boy and a girl.
My son did his revision in mini, messy 10 minute soundbites with endless distractions in between. I tried to suggest he put his phone away, work upstairs, buy highlighters, revision cards, folders, but no, none of this was part of what he had been taught to do. “Don’t worry mum, I’ve learnt it all at school” was his typical retort, before he went out to see friends, played on the PlayStation with his mates, played football and watched films, but quite frankly, given that he was at a fee paying school, I chose to believe him. Whenever he did actually sit down to revise for 10 minutes or so it would go like this:-
Sit at table with a pile of books
Choose a book and open it a random page
Stare at page
Text a mate
Rest head on hands
Watch a Youtube video
Turn the page
Send a snapchat
Laugh at something on Facebook
Start drumming his fingers on the table
Start a full on drum session on the table
Send a text
Start singing loudly
Shout really loudly that he was bored
Sniff and pick nose
Play a song
Kick whatever was under the table
Take phone and wander about aimlessly
Repeat the above x 3
Shout that he is hungry
Go and look in fridge and shout that there is no food (full fridge that simply required a teensy bit of imagination)
Go and look in mirror
Announce that he’d done enough and was going out
On the other hand, my daughter has been super organised. Having bought the entire contents of WH Smith months ago she has been sitting at her desk for days on end. She’s probably got bed sores. I have had to forcibly remove her from the chair in order to take a break. She has survived on a diet of cupcakes and cups of tea in amongst prepared meals that she barely has time to eat before she has to rush upstairs again to revise for another subject before the next meal. She would sit very still with her phone turned off and out of sight. Mostly mumbling to herself. To the point where I have been worried about her state of mind and whether she could actually fit any more knowledge into her brain.
This morning as she left she was in a bit of a mess, worrying about what questions would come up and that she didn’t know anything. She had to speak to several friends. “You can only do your best” I told her “and don’t worry about anything now, you have done enough. If your pen runs out put your hand up”.
“REALLY???” she said scathingly, “I thought I just had to sit there for the entire two hours and not write anything if my pen runs out – is that the best advice you can give me?” she asked as she walked out the door and I felt a little bit pathetic because it was so long ago that I did exams I really don’t remember what it was like and I have no sensible advice to give her.
It’s a strange feeling having no control. Not being able to do anything but keep everything crossed for the day and hope all the questions she wants come up. She’s on her own now. I can’t help. If I’d snuck in and taken the exam for her she would fail without a doubt. So there is nothing I can do but hope that all the foundations have been laid and that she is more than ready.
At least the countdown has now finally begun. She’s upstairs again revising for exam number three that is tomorrow afternoon, but they will all be over in a blink of an eye and then I will move on to being worried about the excessive partying that goes with the territory for the entire rest of the summer.
Pity the parents. IT’S SO HARD TO COPE WITH REVISION.
I hope I get invited out with her to celebrate when they all come to an end.
It’s only fair.