Dear year 11 and year 13 students,
Now is the time!
In a matter of days you will be sitting the first of many of your major external exams at GCSE or A level. I wish you all the very best of luck and I know all the teachers and all your parents will join me in hoping that you try your very best, keep your composure and achieve the grades you deserve. For year 11 students this is the culmination of nearly twelve years of schooling and of course even more for year 13 students. In all that time you have learned a lot, not just about subjects or examinations, but also about yourself and your capabilities. But strangely, these exams are not the end. They will remain with you, or their results will. They will become the keys you’ll need to open doors to the next part of your life – sixth form, apprenticeships, college, universities and all kinds of jobs and careers. So it is really worth giving these exams all the focus and respect they deserve.
Use the time available beforehand to be ready academically, physically and emotionally. This, as you know, takes organisation, but it is the best way to reduce panic or pre-exam nerves, as well as allowing you to confidently manage the exam. It is vitally important that you schedule your workload around your timetable of exams and make it reasonable. Just remember that a good grade will not hinge on cramming at the last minute; all the work done in the years and months before is what matters. Being sharp, alert and confident helps recall that knowledge better and helps you shape a suitable answer in the exam. Use the resources provided by the school. Follow the guidance of your teachers. And make sure you look after yourself. Eat healthily, sleep well and take regular exercise. Socialise within reason and try to find ways to unwind and laugh.
You are not on your own!
Please use your teachers up until the very last exam. They all care deeply about your success and are there to help you. Just ask. We have arranged for extra sessions before key exams, and we have facilities in school to study. Teachers will be available usually at the normal lesson time all through the exam period. Similarly, if things go wrong, or anxiety levels get out of control or you just need some confidence building, please come in for a chat with either your teacher, or with our support staff. If your exam goes badly, talk to a teacher straightway. They might be helpful to maintain some perspective.
Everything will be alright!
The summer results days will be a big day, and for some it will be a source of anxiety. But after you have opened your brown envelope just remember that the sun will still shine, your family will still love you and you will be exactly the same person you were five minutes beforehand regardless of what you got. Whatever the results, it is never a disaster, and you will find your happiness and a good job and become independent and live life to the full with or without your predicted grades being achieved. This sounds crazy for a headteacher to be telling his students, but it is true. Fear of failure is a much worse motivator than a desire to be happy and successful.
Believe in yourself!
You are surrounded by people who believe in you. You are unique and don’t need to compare yourself to others. Your parents, your family, your teachers, your friends, they all know you and they will be supporting you and listening to you and cajoling you, only because they believe in you so much and know that you are going to do well. A little bit of self-confidence on the day of the exam could very well help you to achieve even more. Most people are much more capable and stronger than they think. Now is very much the time to believe in your own capabilities. Reflect on the well-known saying: “A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because its trust is not on the branch but on its own wings. Always believe in yourself.”
We are all so proud of you!
TWBS is a successful school with much to celebrate, and you, the students, are the school. You really are. You are the people who make the school and shape the school and bring so much to it, and what you have all done in the last few years has been quite amazing on so many levels. You are already so successful. I have every confidence that you are saving the best to last, and that the GCSE results will be the best we have ever seen, and the A levels will break all records. I trust in you all to manage your time and yourselves properly and intelligently in the final steps to the exams. It goes without saying that you will all try your very best and do yourselves justice on the day. I know for a fact you will make us all proud. What more can any teacher ask of a student.