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Anyone else with older teen off sick/stressed about exams?

(11 Posts)
CerysBore Tue 08-Jan-13 08:32:46

DS, approaching first lot of AS levels, in bed complaining of bad stomach ache. Had headache last night and wasn't feeling great at school. Said cos of stress of exams - finding some subjects, particularly maths, a big problem.

Sits at the computer far, far too long - running battle and with me and DH out much of the day and working some evenings (needs must - day jobs aren't secure) - I can't supervise this as much as I'd like. I'm sure that sitting there, hunched up, worrying, getting precious little exercise, isn't helping one jot.

But we are where we are - and DS really worried. Won't take up offer from us of maths tutor - perhaps after the exams he'll think again.

Anyone else got a teen heading for public exams and maybe making themselves ill with worry or suffering side effects of sitting in front of a blasted computer for hours on end? (Not, of course, necessarily revising all the time - I think that might come to a natural end - but esp when I'm not at home, the time spend gaming etc runs and runs away with DS.) Any suggestions for anything at all that might lift the spirits - his and mine? Sorry to sound so helpless - just so tired of this struggle.

So not in today. Looking very tired and miserable and obviously in some pain. Exams start tomorrow - wish there wasn't such a headlong rush (remember when A levels happened after two years with nothing like AS levels to interrupt the flow ...?)

So sitting here, trying to balance need for DS to rest a bit now, be cared for at home - till I need to get to work later today - and encouraging him to make it in, somehow as he's well and truly falling behind in some areas. School, btw, utterly hopeless on the pastoral side - and unlikely to be a source of support at this time (but that's another story).

Theas18 Tue 08-Jan-13 10:46:12

Much un mumsnetty hugs.

I think your DS probably really needs AS and modules especially if he's " falling behind" in some areas. He will get a good assessment of where he's at and be able to remedy it (if he wants to) . Surely the old " 2yes then A levels" would be worse for him?

My Ds is in the same situation ish. Multiple modules during January. The " ish" is that he has been working and thinks he's on top of everything.I so hope he's right. THey had a chemistry mock yesterday and the real thing is Thursday to start it all off.

CerysBore Tue 08-Jan-13 12:22:25

Thanks, Theas - you could well be right about the pace ...

Actually, DS has just woken up - was feeling lousy this morning. He is in a state of total and utter panic - has to complete countless practice maths papers by tomorrow (has already fallen behind) and is now, more or less, copying from the answers - the key - making some wrong for authenticity's sake and barely trying to work any answers out for himself. No way to do things, obviously.

Says will have no time to revise for the biology exam tomorrow - he is looking and sounding incredibly stressed - snapping at me - the whole is awful and unfortunately I have to work soon - if I don't go in, I'm not paid and we can ill afford that.

Now back on the bloody computer and shouting in panic mode - talking about re-sits already etc. Wondering seriously if I should try to contact his maths teacher. If she lets on to him that I have, all hell with break loose but perhaps she'll be discreet.

Good luck to your son, Theas - let's hope it works out alright for all our kids doing public exams this month!

webwiz Tue 08-Jan-13 18:25:51

I think he needs to maybe just take the exams and see what he gets but to try and learn from the experience. Now probably isn't the best time to discuss this with him but is it his own preparation that is the problem or is it the understanding of the material? Its difficult to go from GCSEs to the first AS exams in only one term and lots of people struggle with the step up. It would be better to talk to teachers when he's taken the exams and things are calmer.

At this point I would say no more revision (real or pretend) do something nice and have an early night. If he has to resit them it isn't the end of the world. Good luck (to both of you)

MedusaIsHavingABadHairDay Tue 08-Jan-13 19:44:01

It's probably no comfort at the moment, but this is pretty common at AS level.
The transition from GCSE to A level is a LOT bigger than many (if not most) realise and a lot come unstuck at the first batch of exams.

Both of my girls flew though their GCSES..all A* and A grades. Thought they would cruise A levels and then in the Jan AS levels both discovered that they needed to put an awful lot more in than they had.. cue major major panic and many tears.
Neither did brilliantly in the exams needless to say. It was the same story with many, if not the majority of their friends and it gave them a massive kick up the butt to really work to the level needed.
DD1 was told she would fail her AS biology after her first exams... she went on in A2 to get A* and the highest UMS marks ever achieved in the school..and is now in her 3rd year of medicine. DD2 had worse AS exams and in the summer got BBE and school didn't want her to continue the E. She begged.. worked and got AAB in her A2s and is also now at University.

So it CAN end well.. your son needs to talk to school after the exams and get a plan to catch up.. but it can be donesmile

Mynewmoniker Tue 08-Jan-13 19:56:41

Have a look on Childline website for tips on combating exam stress. It may help a little but of course no one has a magic wand ((hugs))

SecretSquirrels Wed 09-Jan-13 16:58:11

I agree with Medusa that many DCs underestimate the workload of A levels. They need to start right from the beginning doing not just the set homework but independent study. As others have said there will be a chance to resit these modules if it's really just a case of putting the work in. If he isn't understanding stuff then I suspect he won't be alone and the school will put on booster classes.

The stress is a hard one, I try lots of TLC and finding something to do with him away from the pc even if it's just watching tv together.I'd love some ideas on how to help a 17 year old handle stress and anxiety. My DS is different in that he's not struggling with school work it's social situations that are the problem.

Mynewmoniker Wed 09-Jan-13 21:54:55

OK SecretSquirrel.

A4 piece of paper seperated into 5 vertical columns. First column titled 'concern' second 'evidence for', third 'score', fourth 'evidence against' fifth 'score'.

Work from left to write filling in each column. In the evidence columns you can use bullet points. In the score columns put a score as to how you feel at THAT moment. 1=sad, 5=smile.

You will generally notice a higher score in the evidence against column.
Fill this in regularly so get a sense of rationalisation.


Write a framework of headings such as:
What is my concern?
How am I reacting to it?
What do I need to do about it?
How can I do this?
Who will help me?
When/how can I contact them?
How long will I give myself to begin to take charge?

Will help rationalise and give some sense of control back.

Hope these tips help.

mumblechum1 Thu 10-Jan-13 10:54:35

That's a great s/sheet Mynewmonicker smile

SecretSquirrels Thu 10-Jan-13 15:51:47

Mynewmoniker thank you for that. I will definitely try it. It looks much more helpful than my usual touchy feely reassurances.I think he might respond well to that.

Mynewmoniker Thu 10-Jan-13 22:58:49

Glad I could be of help.

Photocopy/print some sheets and leave them somewhere he can grab one to fill it in when he's feeling anxious.

It's good to talk but even better to see it in black and white sometimes smile

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