I'm an extremely stressed out A-Level student and I'm happy to talk about it
I have just completed my A-levels and would admit that studying for these have been the most stressful, yet simultaneously the most rewarding two years of my life. Of course, my stress levels have significantly heightened during Year 13 thanks to university applications, sitting numerous exams (a period which began extra early for myself due to my French speaking exam that took place in April, long before most A-level exams were held) and facing the pressure of meeting my rather high entry requirements for university.
Having now reached the other side, I'm slowly overcoming my stress and learning to relax again but, if I was starting sixth form all over again, I wouldn't do things differently - stress is inevitable when you are studying for your A-levels and, without it, I don't think that I would feel so confident and ready to attend university in September, which is a stressful and tumultuous experience in itself, albeit in a different way.
Since I had moved from a different school for my sixth form, I think I faced more stress than other students because I felt more insecure about not having had the same quality of teaching or support, which didn't make my settling-in the most enjoyable one as I felt like I was playing 'catch-up' with others. However, as proven by my rather pleasing AS-level results last year, a bit of stress has not harmed me - it simply reflects my passion to succeed and create a stable and satisfying life for myself by attending university and hoping leading a good career in the future.
But does it help when my A-level papers are 'accidentally' leaked online the day before my exam? Not at all - therefore, there are issues which need to be addressed in order to alleviate the stress that A-level students face during their studies and, most importantly, during the exam period.
Yes I am stressed. How do I know? Here:
- My hair has started falling out (this has only started since year 12)
- My eye twitches constantly
- I've lost my appetite
- I've taken almost a month off school over the course of a year because I couldn't cope with the stress and needed days off.
- I am constantly tired but also on edge (weirdly)
- I've started panicking a lot more over even the simplest questions
- I've stopped talking to people about exams because I get so anxious it throws me off
That sounds a little *****y doesn't it? So what's the school done?
- Made it worse
Even though we have the means to help students cope with stress (we have mentors that come in every day, there's an entire block of the school dedicated to students fixing their mental health), I'm not the only one who feels this way, and I'm not the only one who thinks the services the school provides is ****. Jokes about suicide/depression have quickly become normal for us in all our classes.
The students face immense pressure to do well in exams, even though our school isn't that 'good', we are constantly pushed to do well, but are not given the time,space and opportunity to do so. Strict and useless rules are put place to make it look like the school is doing its job, when in reality nobody is making any progress or learning.
I wish I was exaggerating. I've talked to all my teachers about this and they've all said the same thing.
- That the school just wants teachers to fill in paperwork about what they're 'planning' to do but then don't give teachers the space/time to do this.
- Useless, mundane tasks have to be carried out, such as filling in checklists, green pen marking, silly tests that don't actually measure how much a student has learnt and more things (that I've forgotten), which are generally considered a waste of a teachers time and resources and doesn't help the class learn.
- That the school doesn't actually trust the teachers to, you know, teach.
- That the support network for teachers in (my) school is nonexistent, and instead the network they have consists for the heads/deputy heads stomping down on other teachers, not allowing any creativity and enforcing strict rules and deadlines.
I have teachers that are leaving school because they can't physically take the stress they have to deal with. And seeing your teachers stressed and unenthusiastic about your subject and general school experience ruins it for you. You too become even more stressed.
I actually feel sorry for my teachers and cannot wait to leave.
tl/dr: I am stressed. My teachers are stressed. My friends are stressed. The school makes it worse.
Currently in AS, i find it stressful because I know where I want to go (Medicine) and am aware of the vast amounts of competition, but I personally think that's normal and everyone should have a way of dealing with it.
sat in one spot in the house for 4 weeks before exams revising. slept late. woke up super early. didnt have proper meals, very convenient, junk food. skin was bad, hair became greasy under stressful conditions quickly. fear of not getting into uni, o uno just a regular day of an A level student
Say goodbye to social life and any hobbies you may have.
Just finished year 13 and can safely say that I stressed out beyond, like the amount of hours I put into this whole thing were just strenuous and to think it might not even pay off scares me! I am so thankful that I am done with it tho, i never thought I’d actually get to this point, but now I can finally de-stress throughout the summer!!
If it was possible to sum up the experience in one word..I would say, Despair.
Good thing the 2 years went by quick, otherwise I would have jumped off a bridge or something.
When with each day coming closer to exams, the pressures of letting down your parents, teachers who have high hopes for you and your future self felt too much, the day before the first exam I literally wished I could go to sleep and not wake up ever again.
But what's worse is that I feel like all this struggle is going towards nothing, I have no clue of what I want to do next, whether university is a good option for me or not and whether I'll actually do well because these 2 years made me doubt myself the whole way through.
If I learnt anything from these 2 years, it's that this is exactly what life will be like for the rest of the years: wake up early, go and work for some imaginary goal, go home and repeat. This level of auto-piloting should honestly be implemented in airplanes, we wouldn't have crashes anymore dudes.
"Just when I thought I was out...they pull me back in".
Honestly I didn’t feel particularly stressed but maybe that’s just part of my personality. Same thing happened with GCSEs where I just don’t allow myself to get stressed about things as it never helps the situation and can only make things worse
I am doing AS and even though A Levels are seriously tough and demanding, I haven't been that stressed so far (but then again I'm not in Yr 13 yet)
Really stressful. Even my parents noticed that I’ve been pretty stressed out and more irritable than usual, especially during exam season.
Tbh it ruins my summer because all I can think about is the exams and how badly some of them went.
I'm stressed out, but life in general is stressful so it's all part of it i guess. My parents notice it because I just get irritated about everything.
Yeah, I'd be interested to talk about it.
Honestly found A levels worse than my first year of uni, though granted I did everything wrong at A level.
A-Levels are like a marathon.
Except it's a marathon that you have to sprint, and there's hurdles, and weights to lift, and cycling (except the track is on fire because you're in hell), and archery and synchronised swimming and horse dancing.
It's like waking up to see a rainbow, only to realise that life is just as bad and stressful on the other side of the rainbow for everyone else, except those on the other side of the rainbow cannot see their side of the rainbow because it's cloudy and raining - oh how I do love the north-west.