GCSEs and Nerves - With Charmiane, NCS grad

ncs 6/04/2018

While exam season hasn’t *quite* hit yet, you’re probably already hitting the books hard, wondering how you’re going to make it through this hectic season.

WELL DON’T PANIC because we sat down with BBC Mind Set helper and NCS grad Charmiane to hear her top tips on revision and looking after yourself during the stressful exam period.

Hi Charmiane! Tell us a bit about yourself?

Hi! I’m Charmiane, I’m 17 and I live in Bradford. I’m doing A-levels in Leeds; psychology, sociology and fine art.

What was your experience of doing NCS like?

At first it was really scary because I didn't know anyone in my team. But I got to know them and they were really nice. When we went to Scotland the hiking was really hard. I enjoyed it though! I really enjoyed the university bit where we got to stay with our friends and learn how to cook and the public speaking workshop.  

Amazing! And what have you done since NCS?

I’m on the Regional and Local Youth Boards in my area. In Local Youth Board, we did some activity days about mental health - trying to get rid of the stigma in families by talking to the parents and children. In Regional Youth Board we talk about body image and trying to get rid of the stigmas around it. We’re going to create a documentary about this for Action Day.

So why did you decide to take part in BBC Mind Set?

It was because of Regional Youth Board. They posted about an opportunity with BBC Mind Set on the Facebook group. Mind Set is a group of teenagers who have recently finished their GCSEs and want to give advice to younger teens who are doing their exams now on how to revise and how to cope with stress.

Well done! What do you hope to achieve as a BBC Mind Set helper?

I really want to help people through exams because it’s really stressful. When you’re 16, your GCSEs are the biggest exams you’ve ever done. It’s quite scary.

How do you cope with exam day nerves?

It depends. Our teachers used to give out revision guides and say don’t look at the stuff that you don’t know because it will freak you out - look at the stuff that you DO know and make sure you know that well.

And what are your top studying tips?

Not leaving stuff to the last minute really does help. Like, for example, if you don’t have any homework, don’t just chill, look through it. And, I know it sounds weird, but ask your teachers for extra exam resources. If you don’t ask and make that effort then it’s not going to help you.

BIG QUESTION: Where do you see yourself in five years time?

I want to try and get into National Youth Board. I want to do an art access course as soon as I finish my A-levels to have that extra step in my portfolio. I’m a waitress at a hotel in Bradford and I might try and work my way up to be a catering manager. But there’s loads I want to do before I’m 25!

Do you have any advice for those sitting their GCSEs this year?

Don’t leave all your revision to the last minute. Even 30 minutes after school makes all the difference. Don’t stress! GCSEs are important but, at the same time, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t get the results you want. Also, look out for the other opportunities, like apprenticeships, which you can do instead of university and get paid instead of gaining debt.

That’s brilliant advice, Charmiane! Best of luck with all your exciting plans for the future!

Head over to BBC Mind Set for more great advice from other exam survivors here.