​This Year's GCSE And A-Level Exams Are Giving Students Panic Attacks

Exam anxiety is the very worst feeling. Sat all in your rows, the words on the page making no sense, and you can't just spin round and say to your mate "Erm... help!"

But this year's exams have proven so nerve wracking that they have reduced students to tears - while some have suffered with severe panic attacks or even collapsed from the stress.

There's been a big shake-up in GCSEs and A-Levels, making them tougher than ever, and teens are not coping well at all.

Some pupils have had to sit more than 30 papers this exam season - no wonder they're having meltdowns.

Teachers have spoken out to say their students are feeling disheartened and disappointed after not being able to finish papers, or not understanding the questions.

YouTube star Jade Bowler, who is sitting her A-Levels, has been sharing revision tips on her channel.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

But after sitting her biology exam, she appeared on her Instagram stories sobbing and clearly distressed.

"I have never in my entire life done as badly as I did in that exam," the 18-year-old said. "I didn't answer about four questions. I'm not going to try to hide how appalling I found that.

"I just ran out of time and when you run out of time and don't answer questions there's no chance."

She's been offered a place at Bristol University if she scores AAB, but her disaster last week is obviously making her nervous.

As well as Jade, many other students have taken to Twitter to talk about their struggles, discussing anxiety, lack of sleep, and stress.

One person tweeted: "The amount of stress placed on pupils and students today is beyond too much. We can sit indoors and study all day for months and still feel like a failure. So much is expected of us in so little time, it's physically and mentally not possible."

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Teachers have struggled to get through the new syllabus and have been forced to add extra classes to the start of the school day.

A history teacher from Gloucester told BBC Radio 5 Live: "New GCSEs are a totally demoralising experience for staff and students.

"Every lesson we had to teach a different topic and then had to move on. Students had no time to reflect.

"Before and after exams I witnessed students with ashen faces in tears and others being physically sick."

The new exams are supposed to have been made with employers in mind, to teach teens skills that will actually be useful in the workplace. That makes sense on paper - anyone ever actually needed to use long division since GCSEs? - but the reality has been a heap of stress for young people.

Any of you sitting exams right now, we feel you. Not long to go.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Daisy Jackson

Daisy Jackson is a freelance writer, who has previously worked at Shortlist Media and Trinity Mirror. She has written about the Manchester terror attacks and appeared on BBC Five live to discuss the aftermath, as well as interviewing an orthopaedic surgeon in Syria.

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