Examination Woes

Ah, the International Baccalaureate…and as usual, I spelt that second word wrongly (before Spell Check saved the day)!  Yeah, we call it the IB — those magic letters.  Two years have almost come and gone, and in a few months I’m graduating!  It’s crazy because even when they say that time flies when you’re having fun…that’s not necessarily true here.

Time flew by, alright.  But it wasn’t exactly the most fun I’ve had in my life.  The life of an IB student has its ups and downs, and what’s coming up next week will probably be one of the all time lows.  If I were to use my very superficial knowledge on macroeconomics and the business cycle (hooray, Standard Level Economics), this would probably be at a trough.

If there are two words that I’ll be dreading the most about this month (there’s something to look forward to every month, note the sarcasm), it’s the mock exams.  It makes my skin crawl, the very prospect of getting back my grades and fearing the results.  Of course, having grades is inevitable; becoming all worked up over it isn’t.  Naturally, some adrenaline will be pumping through whichever part of my body (the perks of not taking Biology…?) when I think of exams, but it doesn’t need to overwhelm me.

The issue is that it still does.  My only guess is that it’s influenced by the culture I grew up in, by my community, my paradigms, my stereotype.  It’s a culture of expectations: not that we necessarily have to meet them, but the fact that we let them pervade our mentalities.  Sure, it shows that we care; it has danger written all over it.

Surprisingly, I was predicted a pretty high score for the IB (we have to have a Predicted Score to be sent to both the organisation and the universities which we applied to.  I don’t know if it’s wrong to call it a GPA, but that’s besides the point).  I was happy, but this happiness also shrouded apprehension by impulse.  Being predicted a high score in the IB is already so difficult; trying to maybe not satisfy, but let’s say “remain consistent” with my teacher’s perceptions of me through actually achieving that super high score in the IB is so daunting.  I want to do well, and I know I have the potential to do well.  I also have a good idea of how I can do well.  The only obstacle is whether or not I have the guts to punch Fear right in its face and step into the arena with the same confidence exhibited in the last two sentences.

Compared to many of my classmates, I have a relatively “less demanding” (i.e. Humanities-oriented) and well-rounded subject combination: English Language and Literature (HL), History (HL), Chemistry (HL), Mathematics (SL), Mandarin Chinese (SL) and Economics (SL).  There’s a bit of everything…and one subject that’s supposed to garner me the easy 7 (by default when I chose my subjects).  Yet, the standards are so high — or are they?  Are they really as high as they seem, or are they only high because I make them out to be taller than Mount Everest?  Climbing a mountain is scary enough, so the idea of climbing even higher is both tedious and nerve-wrecking.  But looking at the goal — the diploma, a good college experience, a legacy (questionable) — it’s too good for me to pass over.  It freaks me out.  Completely.

The issue at hand is whether or not it’s worth being stressed out.  A few months back a good friend and mentor told me that it’s not the worst thing that could happen, but it’s times like this that I’m not totally convinced.  Sure, maybe the examination board would understand that all my assessments could potentially be written when I’m at my worst, but it’s too convenient to do that.  Often times, I know that I’m ready…but when I enter the exam room, the anxiety escalates, boiling inside me like a chemical ready to spurt out poison gas (if that analogy makes sense).

Either way, wish me luck for the mocks and whatnot, I suppose.  What am I saying, though: I have classmates who are getting conditional offers to British universities, some to very prestigious ones that have very high prerequisites before guaranteed admission.  They’re the people who deserve a good pat on the back or even a warm hug because apparently that can express “good luck” in my social circle (maybe it’s only me).  One can only study, and study, and sleep (for a few hours), and…study.

Okay then, let’s do this!

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6 thoughts on “Examination Woes

  1. The whole humanities is less demanding thing is a pet peeve of mine. I wanted to drop my humanities because they’re hard. If I could take HL Further Advanced Chemistry, though… *wistful expression*…that’s a different story. I have tremendous respect for people who can write history essays, because I can’t.
    I’m not worried about mock exams for any logical, practical reason. After all, I’ve applied to universities already, the mocks don’t count for anything. And yet, like you, I find myself dreading them. I’ve felt increasing apprehension about writing the mocks because I’m afraid that I’m going to disappoint everyone. The teachers who predicted me the grades they did, classmates who expect me to not fail chemistry, my parents…myself, even.
    That said, being nervous is just going to make it worse (unless you’re one of those lucky people who manage to work best under pressure…I know I’m not). Good luck on your mocks! *virtual pat on the back and warm hug*

    1. You better do well for Chemistry!! Haha just kidding; just do your best!

      See you on Monday haha — English and Economics, i.e. Let’s Write Until Our Arms Self-Amputate!

  2. Best of luck! I don’t know how it is as an international, but applying to college as an American to American schools, the IB score was far from the deciding factor. I did IB in a public school and so my program wasn’t as well regulated as those from private schools, meaning that I didn’t receive all of the prep I would have needed to get a high score. Nevertheless, I did okay on college entrances. I know it seems like the end of the world but don’t make yourself sick over it. It will just be a small part of what otherwise I’m sure is a shining application.


    1. Thanks :) Though the “shining application” bit is debatable — let’s wait till March when I get my decisions!

      I know it isn’t supposed to mean an awful lot but the idea of exams is already intimidating in itself so I guess that really affects the mentality…and the adrenaline. Oh well..

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