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Practice makes perfect

The thought of facing their first external Cambridge Curriculum exams can sometimes be an anxious time for younger students as they move into a more advanced level of schooling. However, as Rasleen Singh (Year 10) explains, with the preparation and support provided by ACG Strathallan teachers, the experience can quickly become an incredibly beneficial learning opportunity.
ACG Strathallan Year 10 student, Rasleen Singh

The thought of exams may fill some students with dread, but ACG Strathallan’s Rasleen Singh says cultivating the right attitude can make all the difference.

The Year 10 student has recently completed two sets of exams – her advanced Cambridge examinations for Combined Science, Global Perspectives and Mathematics, and her Year 10 English school exam. And while she’s delighted to now be on holiday, she found the examination process to be overwhelmingly positive.

“The experience of sitting Year 10 exams is invaluable and extremely beneficial,” says Rasleen. “It teaches us new skills such as exam preparation and time management and helps us figure out which topics we need to revise more thoroughly. It also sets us up with good revision strategies and enables us to build a disciplined study culture which will be necessary for Year 11 onwards.”

Practice makes perfect, as the saying goes, and Rasleen couldn’t agree more.

“Exams are second nature to me as I’ve sat them since I was in Year 5 at ACG Strathallan, but for others, they may be new and a little bit frightening. Although I’ve been sitting them for such a long time, I still get nervous every time a paper is placed in front of me, but I just remember to always do my best.”

While this year’s exam roll-out took on a slightly different format due to Covid-19, Rasleen navigated the challenges with ease – and she even discovered a silver lining.

“Experiencing the Cambridge exams was quite different to what I’d expected due to the Covid regulations and precautions. Wearing a mask for two-and-a-half hours and dealing with fogged up glasses posed a few challenges, but at the same time, I really enjoyed the process. Not only because I got to sit the first external exam of my life, but also because I got to go to school after months of being stuck at home! It was so nice to see my schoolmates and some of the teachers again.”

Plus, by ensuring she was well-prepared in advance of the big day, she was able to eliminate any anxiety.

“I was quite nervous for the Cambridge exams at the beginning because I’d never sat a formal external assessment before, but after months of preparation and help from the school, I felt confident and ready.

“My teachers are experts in their fields and gave me lots of helpful advice – I asked them questions virtually every day in the week leading up to my exams! In addition, they provided support by supplying me with extra revision material and helped answer difficult questions I had via Microsoft Teams. I’m so grateful for their invaluable assistance.”

A good breakfast each morning provided plenty of brain fuel and ensured Rasleen tackled her exams feeling relaxed and composed. And she’s delighted with the results.

“I am really proud of my work ethic and the amount of effort I put into my revision plan for these exams. I am also pleased by my performance on the exam days and how well I handled exam stress.”

And by thinking of exams as a positive, not a negative, this hard-working 14-year-old has transformed a sometimes stressful experience into something extremely beneficial.

“The tests and examinations we sit at school are there to give us guidance on what to improve on, not to fill us with dread and make us feel stressed. If we think of it that way, exams will no longer be a difficult task, but a learning opportunity.”