Mid year exams are a significant milestone in the scheme of the school year and one of the few barriers holding us back from graduation. They bring a turning point of reflection where we realise ‘shit this is actually happening.’

Regardless of whether you’re sitting the HSC and have finished trials or are doing your own mid year exams, this is a time where we realise that our final exams really are looming. 

We’re looking at the outside world with an awareness that we’re almost there whether we like it or not.

These exams are also some of the most intense weeks of schooling we’ve experienced up until this point. Shit gets hard and the pressure is real.

The finality and stress of all this means we tend to get caught up and start reacting to school work in different ways than we usually do.

1. We realise we actually give a shit

For a lot of us, it’s during trials that we realise we actually do care about our marks.

School hasn’t been much of a priority over the past few years and some of us also tend to tell ourselves we don’t give a crap about marks to protect ourselves from disappointment.

However, the significance of trial exams forces us to really consider a path after graduation, to pick up our socks and make that last ditch effort. After pretending not to care for the past ten months, we realise that maybe we are actually invested in the outcome of these exams.

I guess this is the purpose of mid years; to offer us a second chance to prepare for the real deal final exams. If you’ve just realised that you’ve spent the year messing around, mid year exams are a good push to actually get your shit together.

And, even if we do realise that our marks aren’t that important to us, sometimes it’s important to apply ourselves with our best effort. Take the chance to boost your marks now, while you still can.

2. We decide we’re done with it all

On the other hand, some of us actually burn out by trials, and quite often we’re the kids who’ve been acing everything up until now. After being so focused on every assessment and every mark for the most of Year 12, the magnitude of trials seems all too much.

So we take the opposite path and let ourselves flunk. We’ve done our best so far and can’t be fucked anymore.

The fatigue becomes overwhelming, we realise we’ve missed out on time with family and friends, we become unsure of which uni-course we want to apply for and hence, don’t know whether our ATAR matters.

So we wing it.

While some may say giving up now is a waste of all our hard work, it’s not necessarily true. Every student will be familiar with the feeling of being past the point of caring.

3. There is always room for improvement

Whether you finally got your shit together for trials or completely flunked them, you can still learn from the experience.

Think about whether the exams made you feel less or more nervous for final exams; try to figure out which subjects need more of your attention or whether you can take a bit of an easier approach from now on. Was it as bad as everyone made it seem?

How did the stress and pressure make you feel? Did you handle it well; do you feel like you were in a good state of mind to succeed? Or were you unable to cope, maybe you need to strategise for study some more?

Figure out if you need to get more sleep, study at different times of the day or just talk to your friends for more support.

Learn to look after yourself; our physical and mental state are crucial to coping with final exams.

Either way, don’t tear yourself up over these marks.

Remember to prioritise your well-being over your results and always seek support when you need it; we know Year 12 is stressful and there is always help if you need it.

You can only do your best and trials aren’t the end of the world, even if they feel like it.

by Matilda Reid