04 June 2008

Exam fever

My dearest Kay is doing her final AS exam today. These last few weeks has seen her with her head in her books, either sweating sauna-like in her room in the mid-May heatwave or squinting to see clearly in the gloom of the late-May torrential downpours. In either case, she has had Greg's volatile moods to contend with as well on regular occasion. She is also very tired. Despite her study leave at home for the last two weeks, she has been forcing herself to get up at 7.30am to start revising really early and has often still been at it late at night. She has had breaks in-between to watch TV or go out with friends, but generally has been revising hard. This week she has had a 3-hour exam each morning over the last three days, today being the last one.

Last night she was so stressed and convinced she was not going to learn it all in time, she stayed up til 1 am and then I agreed to wake her again at 5am so she could do a bit more before breakfast and the drive to school. I feel so helpless. I know I went through this when I was her age and doing A-levels, but there seems to be so much more stress heaped on our kids these days from such an earlier age too. SATs at age 7, 11 and 14. GCSE exams at 16, AS exams at 17, then A-level exams at 18. Particularly the AS year is the most stressful of all, according to one of Kay's teachers recently. Kay is desperate to get good marks. She wants to go to university and she needs A-grades for the course she wants. More stress worrying about the results due in August. It never stops.

This morning she felt very sick and looked dreadful. Last night she resorted to drinking Coca Cola for the caffeine (she hates tea or coffee) and sucking glucose tablets to keep her awake and give her energy. She thinks the combination has backfired on her. I felt such a rush of emotion for her, as she got out of the car at the school gates this morning, looking so dreadful. All I could say was that she should hang on in there until lunchtime when it would all be over for another year.

We are very close. Greg's "illness" has brought us even closer. I had her late (did I mention that before?!) and she is more than a precious jewel to me. My one and only. I can't see that I would have the time and maybe the inclination to be so close, if I had more than one child. I certainly wouldn't stay up all night bringing her Coca Cola and sympathy, if there were other little children tucked up in bed who needed me bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at breakfast-time.

I'm just keeping fingers and everything else crossed at the moment that she comes home after the last exam at lunchtime with a big smile on her face and says she cracked it. The sleepless night will be worth it all.


aims said...

School is entirely different now compared to when I was in it.

I'm wishing her luck - and - I keep thinking of a life for you and her in the back of my mind.

blogthatmama said...

Poor Kay, I don't see why they have to do AS levels - why don't they just do mocks like they used to? It is so competitive for University places now, it's unbelievable. I'm dreading it.

Stinking Billy said...

Education has been going backwards for some time now. Young people's lives are being ruined before they've even got started, and it is nothing short of criminal. But how do we explain that to them?

rosiero said...

aims - thank you.

blogthatmama - It's so stressful in sixth-form now. Before it took you 2 years to do the work for the exam. Now you have a year to do the AS, which is what the universities now go on as the grade you are likely to get. Then another year to do the A-level (now known as the A2 stage). I think it is just as stressful for the parents having to watch on the sidelines.

stinking billy - it really is a shambles and it is not as if they teach them as well as when we were at school.