Close up hand of student writing in an exam.

3 Exam Myths Busted

Exams are on the horizon for young people up and down the country. So we decided it was time to bust a few exam myths that can create unnecessary stress and anxiety before exams.

Poor exam results will ruin your life

Exams are a part of your development and growth as an individual. They are a way to assess whether you have retained what your lovely teachers have been trying to teach you.
Are exams important? Yes, they are, but they are unlikely to ruin your life.

Here are a few reasons why.

By the end of your education, the idea is that you walk out as a well-rounded individual, not just an exam passing machine. Therefore skills you develop from part-time jobs, school/college clubs, or voluntary work are just as vital as exam results.

What comes after these exams?

Secondly, consider the fact that exams tend to be followed by, well, more exams. Depending on how old you are and whether you go on to further or higher education, there is a good chance there will be more exams around the corner.

This also applies to exams that deliver low grades or a fail. You can resit exams to improve a low grade or achieve pass marks.

Next time you might need to take a few more classes or do some additional study, but with more exams comes more chances to recover from poor results.

Your parents will be ashamed of your poor results

Parental shame is one exam myth that causes many young people to carry a crippling level of expectation upon their shoulders. What young people might interpret as pressure to avoid the shame of poor results is often well-intentioned encouragement from our parents. Sometimes they do it poorly.

We believe in you

Your parents want you to realise your potential because – and sit down for this one – they believe in you more than you probably believe in yourself. Though it might not seem like it at times, your parents love you no matter what. And the possibility that you might not get straight A’s in all your exams is nothing compared to what you have already put them through.

They loved you then and still love you now

They loved you when all you would do was poop, cry and throw up. They loved you when you rolled around in the muddy grass all day and then sat on their new cream sofa. Or that time you threw the mother of all tantrums in the supermarket. I could go on, but you get the picture.

Instead, rest easy and know that your parents want you to do well for yourself, not because they want to boast about you on Facebook.

Failing exams makes you a failure in life

Exams are important, but the idea that they can “make or break” your life is another one of the most damaging exam myths. It is easy to lose sight of one simple truth: your life is yours to live. Therefore what are you looking for in your life?

What will success look like for you based on your perspective and not the opinions of your parents, friends or society? Getting into the toughest university courses and becoming a brain surgeon might be what you want to achieve. Or it might not.

How do you define ‘success’?

From that truth, a logical conclusion follows: success is defined by literally thousands of decisions and experiences throughout your life. Exams are a part of that process but not the be-all and end-all.

For example, if you don’t get the grades needed for your chosen university course, you might wrongly assume that is it. Game over. In reality, you could start a related course and transfer across later, retake classes at college to bag the results you wanted, or find a company that takes on school leavers as apprentices/trainees.

Ultimately what you want to do in your life is up to you; exams will form part of that journey, but they certainly will not mark the end of it.

There are plenty of alternative options: start a related course and transfer across later; retake classes at college to bag the results you wanted; find a company that takes on school leavers as apprentices/trainees. The list goes on.

Ultimately what you want to do in your life is up to you. Exams will form part of that journey but they certainly will not mark the end of it.

Don’t let exam myths stop you in your tracks.

Coping with exam stress

We have produced a series of articles designed to help students and parents navigate the time before, during and after exams.

Exam stress: tips for parents and students

Exam stress tips for students

Do exam results define your future?

Tips for parents during exam time

Exam results: a young persons’ guide

Parents’ guide to exam results day

The Spark is one of Scotland’s leading providers of counselling services in schools. We also provide private child and young person counselling, alongside our couples and individual counselling.

If you need support with issues in life – exams, relationships or just the challenges of growing up – we are here to help.

Find out more about counselling or talk to a member of our team on freephone 0808 802 2088 during our opening hours. Alternatively, complete an online enquiry.

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