Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Don't Worry, It's Just a Test. Yeah, right!

As my eyes droop like a setting sun, I am a meowing cat who, instead of releasing a contented purr, grumbles at the thought of lifting a finger - or, as I'm supposedly clad in a coat of fluffy tabby fur, a paw.

Two days into what could possibly be one of the busiest weeks of this term, my heart aches to return to bed and never leave it until Saturday morning arrives, the day of the week which, in my mind, is when the week truly commences. Instead of being lumped with countless homework assignments which the teachers forget about almost as quickly as they assign them to their unfortunate victims (a.k.a. me), I've been given an insight into the hell that awaits me: assessments.

Or, if you are not quite familiar with the A word, tests shall awaken a flurry of panic in which you are thrust, caught up between failed attempts to remain calm (as it goes without saying, is oh-so-impossible) and having the most stressful time of your life. Yes, those end-of-term assessments which seemed as far away as an A-Lister's residence last month are now upon me and, unless I fall prey to the pathogens floating around my younger brother's system any time soon, I will have to face up to what life - now somewhat a living hell - has in store for me.

Ah, you could declare that I'm tapping into my drama queen and squeezing more out of this scary piece of news than the most desperate soap star would, yet panics like these are somewhat justified once you reach such a point as my own in your education. The next two years are guaranteed to test me (both in the literal and pushing-me-the-very-limit sense), zap me of energy that not even a can of Red Bull can regain and, once the actual GCSE exams are lurking in the unexplored distance, will make me wish that I could avoid the wilderness until the academic frenzy has calmed.

Despite the first term probably being less significant than the ones shortly before mocks, I still take it as seriously as any other term - and perhaps even more so because, in order to establish a decent foundation, a decent beginning can help wonders. If you are bubbling with more confidence than a witch's cauldron as you wait at the starting line, will it not give you a perfect head-start?

Luckily, I feel pretty confident in most of my subjects, though that confidence mainly stems from my enjoyment of learning and isn't necessarily associated with my abilities. However, even the most confident of all people might not have their coveted feature in plentiful qualities once exams - or simple tests - roll around the corner, as fear drains them of the strength to ward off the gripping panics or anxious thoughts as you toss in bed past your bedtime. English may be my strongest and best-loved subjects, yet my passion doesn't mean that no niggling thoughts have not passed through my mind in the run-up to Thursday's assessment; those fears are still bubbling beneath the surface, posing the risk that they might arise at any moment.

And, when I dissect the source of my fear, the reasons involved are pretty obvious: a lack of experience. Having rarely sat any tests whilst educated at home, tests are among some of the things that I've had to get my head around since returning to school and, as I'm at the beginning of the two least test-friendly years of my life, I really have no choice except to embrace it. Or at least accept it and acknowledge the fact that the Charmed Ones would recite a spell from the Book of Shadows that will magically cancel tomorrow's Maths test. Still, there is nothing wrong with hoping so!

Every teenager will discover the perils of education - and, if you are a professional worrier like me, the misery - that is included in the package attached with school life. Though it feels like years ago since it happened, I have sat several tests at the school before and, if the subject was me-friendly, I actually didn't mind sitting a test. My fear washes away if I lose myself in work that I can complete without too many hiccups, so I stand a decent chance of forgetting about my hatred of tests - if only that fear could never arise before I sit them!

Oh well, some things - especially tests which, once all of them have been sat and completed, will allow me to progress to the next stage - can never be avoided. I'm looking ahead to the future and the test-free prospects that it holds, which provides some relief as I'm torn between jitters and impatience to get the worst over and done with.

There is one thing for sure, though: I won't be offered the privilege of lying in bed until five minutes before the bus turns up tomorrow, however bad that my 'cold' might be...

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