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Forums / Young people / extreme pre-exam stress

Topic: extreme pre-exam stress

  1. C74
    C74 avatar
    38 posts
    3 July 2019 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hi Summer Rose,


    Thank you for your super kind reply.


    Honestly, it would probably be best to take some proper action on what I’m going through, but I don’t want to cause any more trouble in the household. I’m afraid that by taking action, my dad will become infuriated and do worse things.


    Truthfully, I’m terrified. Everyday I dread coming home, knowing what kind of life awaits me at home. I feel like so weak for not being able to cope with my dad’s abuse…


    Dad keeps yelling at mum, saying she doesn’t raise me properly, never watches over me, and as a result I have become a failure. Frankly, I am disgusted by his words and actions towards her. She works full-time and yet does all the chores at home; my dad never lifts a single finger. She pays the bills, he (extremely reluctantly) pays my tuition, constantly telling me that I’m a waste of money, and that he thinks I have no hope and should just quit my tutors. He earns more than she does.


    My mum’s not doing well… she has a strained shoulder, and it’s only been getting worse, because she has to keep doing all those chores, only for my dad to yell at her for any little mistake she makes. Like, if she accidentally hung his shirt in a different place than usual, or if she forgot to make one of the beds.


    Earlier, he’d been yelling at me once more - it was particularly bad. I’m constantly crying at night in secret due to all the stress building up about exams, and he makes it worse by telling me I’m hopeless. I then left the room, and he continued by yelling at her - and she stood up for me. He kept yelling at her, I was so scared that he’d physically hurt her, but then he left to watch his soccer.

  2. C74
    C74 avatar
    38 posts
    3 July 2019 in reply to Summer Rose

    My mum saw me crying in the living room, and despite the fact that she got yelled at too, she came over to comfort me, handing me a tissue and telling me that everything will be okay and that I should just ignore him and focus on myself. I love my mum so much, I hate that she has to put up with this. She deserves the world and more, and it’s all my fault that she has to put up with all this abuse. I absolutely despise myself. I know you said earlier that none of this is my fault, but no matter what I tell myself, I can’t convince myself that it’s not me. I pretty much ruined my mum’s life and yet she still loves me more than anyone in the world… What did I do to deserve such an angel?


    Worse off, this constant abuse and negative feelings circling around my head everyday is changing me as a person. I resent my friends for every single complaint they make about any little thing - I can’t help but think, “What gives them the right to complain? Their lives are much better than mine!”, and just constantly feel extremely irritable towards everyone. I’m constantly taking out my anger towards my dad to people around me, and I hate that about me. I feel like as a result of my father constantly taking power and authority over me, I’m taking it out on everyone else whenever I can. I hate this about myself, I truly wish I could stop feeling this way.


    Also, this isn’t as relevant, but lately I’m also constantly having horrible nightmares - my friends being much more successful than I, my mother passing away… I think it truly reflects what I dread the most. This isn’t healthy, nothing about how I’m living my life right now is healthy.


    Something I truly need advice on, however: My father after yelling at me today, told me I have one of two choices: either I stop going tutoring and he won’t care what ATAR I get (if I stop going tutoring, I know I will do dismally in the HSC) OR I can continue tutoring, but if I don’t get at least a 96, I’d better ‘watch out’. I must tell him my response tomorrow. I’m so afraid, I don't know how to respond to this and I’d like advice on this please.


    I know constantly posting here isn’t taking any real action, but simply letting my thoughts run loose here and hearing someone understand me and comfort me online really helps lift a huge weight off my chest. Summer Rose, I truly don’t know where I’d be without you - thank you so much.


    C74
  3. Summer Rose
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    4 July 2019 in reply to C74

    Hi C74

    I'm so glad that it's helping you to pour out your thoughts. There is much I want to say but I'm going to now focus on your response to your dad.

    I would suggest something along the lines of ...

    I appreciate your support to provide me with tutoring. I believe it is really helping and I am trying my best.

    However, I cannot guarantee a 96 atar. The calculations are complicated and out of my control. I can only set goals and i

  4. Summer Rose
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    4 July 2019 in reply to Summer Rose

    Sorry, I hit post by accident ...

    I can only set goals and the goals need to be realistic and reasonable. I know what you expect and I am trying. But I believe it's reasonable for me to achieve an atar somewhere between X and X. ( you have to decide the range) And this outcome is contingent upon continued tutoring.

    So the choice is yours, Dad. You can help me to achieve my best or you can take whatever action you think is necessary. Whatever you decide, I will continue to work hard and try my best.

    Does this make sense to you, C74? How do you think Dad would respond? At least this approach would remove the threat of what he's going to do if you don't get a 96. If he withdraws financial support for tutoring don't panic.

    Your teachers will help you. Perhaps an extended family member could help you with a loan? Your friends could also help. It will be okay.

    Kind thoughts to you

  5. C74
    C74 avatar
    38 posts
    4 July 2019 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hi Summer Rose,


    Thank you for the valuable advice.


    Honestly, I am also quite afraid that the ATAR range that I believe is reasonable for me to try and achieve (around 93), is quite a bit lower than his expectations of me. In fact, when setting the goal of 96 to me, he’s already constantly telling me that he’s already being lenient, because a 97 should be “really easy” and that it “shouldn’t even require studying”. His ideas on the HSC are completely warped and deluded to the point where a 93, which I consider a good ATAR, seems like the end of the world.


    I am quite certain that by telling him I’ll try for an ATAR of around 93, he will withdraw my tutoring funds, and then I will officially be screwed. My teachers can only help me so much, and I’m not in contact with any of my family (most of them are overseas, and a few years ago, my dad cut off my connections with my family who’re in the same country so I can’t ask them for a loan). My friends would never help me, I just know it. They’re extremely competitive. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but my high school is one of the top 5 schools in state - It’s a completely different environment here. Almost every student here is pursuing medicine/law, and every single student here will take any advantage they can get to get ahead, even if it means exploiting friends. People hold grudges towards their own friends when they get beaten, and lie about not studying in order to lure others into a sense of security, in an attempt to rank higher in assessments.


  6. C74
    C74 avatar
    38 posts
    4 July 2019 in reply to Summer Rose
    I too, am afraid that I won’t make it into medicine now. My father told me yesterday that even though one can transfer to medicine during uni if they don’t make it in right away, it’s “practically impossible” so I can “forget about it”. Surely it’s not impossible? I never understand why people say it’s impossible - if you compete to transfer into medicine, surely you’re just competing against people who didn’t get into medicine in the first place? Either way, I’m so scared about my future. I genuinely don’t have any other interests to pursue careerwise. I’m so afraid of what my father will do to me if I don’t get into medicine. I was really hesitant to first tell him about my interest in medicine - but the first time I ever told him, he said it’s okay if I didn’t get in. He probably saw it as an unachievable goal at the time, but now that I’m nearing HSC, it seems like he’s thinking about me being a doctor more and more, to the point where he cannot see me in any other career, and now he’s absolutely serious about me having to get in or else. I regret it, I regret everything… I regret being honest with him :(


    C74
  7. Summer Rose
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    4 July 2019 in reply to C74

    Hi C74

    Firstly, I have been through the VCE process twice in recent times. Talked to school counsellors with my kids and then with career advisors (my daughter is 21 and son is 23). As my son needed help changing his uni path.

    I believe your father is wrong. It is possible to transfer into medicine. One of my son's friends transferred from physio and I know another who has shifted from science. I don't know all the details of how they did this but I know it can be done.

    No matter what atar you achieve (as long as it's in the ballpark) I believe you can find a way to get to where you want to be.

    With regard to your father, let's look at the evidence. He wants you to become a doctor. He has threatened in the past to withdraw funds for tutoring but he hasn't followed through.

    It's possible that he thinks his new threat will motivate you to achieve a 96 because he either doesn't understand or doesn't care about the impact of this threat on you.

    But withdrawing tutoring now makes no sense if he truly wants you to become a doctor. And I think his ego needs you to reach medical school. What I'm saying is that it's possible he's bluffing to scare you.

  8. Summer Rose
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    4 July 2019 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hi again

    I also want to address the issue of a "good" atar. There really is no magic number because it depends on your ability, environment and circumstances.

    My son achieved a 99.25 my daughter just under 80. My son was bright and healthy. My daughter was bright and unwell, battling a serious mental health condition.

    For my daughter to graduate was a success. For her to do so in the top 25 per cent of the state was a major success. With a Seas application to reflect her circumstances, and her hard work against the odds, she got into her chosen course at her chosen univetsity. She is studying architecture.

    I am incredibly proud of them both.

    A 93 for you would be amazing but so would a 70 given your circumstances and mental health issues. You are doing an amazing job, please don't ever forget that.

    Given your circumstances you are entitled to make a SEAS application. Talk to your school counsellor. This can make a big difference to you.

    Kind thoughts to you

  9. Summer Rose
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    4 July 2019 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hi C74

    You have been on my mind all day and I'm hoping you have calmed down a bit before talking with your dad.

    I know you are scared of him and I am so sorry for that. But you are not weak. You are incredibly strong. Everday you try your best in very challenging circumstances. One day at a time you are surviving. That takes courage, my friend.

    I am glad that mum has been able to provide some comfort. Your mum must be sad and worried too, but that is not your fault. None of this is your fault. Sadly, your dad is not behaving in a rational or acceptable fashion.

    You have nothing to be ashamed of. You are a great person. I am proud of you and backing you 100 per cent.

    I'm wondering how your visit with the school counsellor went? This would be an ideal time to pop back for a chat.

    The counsellor can give you advice on getting into medicine through different pathways, if necessary. The counsellor could also help to work out home strategies to keep you safe.

    I'm worried about you. In an emergency call 000. If you need to talk to someone call the bb support line, any time day or night.

    When you have time, if you want (no pressure), let me know how it went with dad.

    Kind thoughts to you

  10. C74
    C74 avatar
    38 posts
    11 August 2019 in reply to Summer Rose

    I regret so much ever telling my parents I want to get into medicine! Now they're fully set on me getting into medicine or nothing... I'm so exhausted, my first post on this website doesn't even compare to how I feel now.

    This is such a stressful time for me, it's like no one in my life understands... My whole family was so proud of my cousin for simply getting into uni. But since my father simply cannot keep his mouth shut about any good achievement I've ever gotten (he likes to boast because it boosts his own ego, not because he wants to do it on my behalf), and now my whole family is waiting for "good news" with their expectations of me significantly higher. If I don't get into medicine, it's completely over for me.

    Of course, I agree with you when you say that a "good" ATAR is subjective to one's circumstances and I think both your son and daughter did amazingly. But my father doesn't get that, he has a set number for what is a 'good ATAR' and since I had always grown up in an environment with people who have no problem getting into medicine (I go to one of the top schools in my state, and it's crazy there), I can't help but think it'll all be over if I don't into medicine right away... It'll be humiliating, and I'm scared my friends would scoff at me (I go to a school where people look down on people who don't do well in school)

    My mental state has been quickly deteriorating over the past six months, and now that my first HSC Trial Exam is tomorrow, I'm seriously thinking of giving up. My dad puts so much emphasis on me doing well otherwise it'll "be embarrassing for him" to the point where everytime he tells me to study, I simply don't want to, so that he doesn't get the idea that I'm doing it for him, or that it can demonstrate that his methods of yelling at me and beating me aren't going to make me work, but ugh... There's absolutely no way to convey to him that what he is doing is wrong.

  11. C74
    C74 avatar
    38 posts
    11 August 2019 in reply to Summer Rose
    I don't think he cares about me anyways... I recently injured my leg really badly when doing an errand for him, and ended up being unable to walk properly for a whole week (I still managed to get to school by myself, in great pain, while people kept asking me why I turned up to school in such a state). All I got from him was yelling, and anger that I can't "learn to be tougher" and that when he was younger, he suffered worse.... like, really?

    Above that, he keeps inviting his friends over to talk, and they don't leave until very late so I'm left waiting until 10pm for them to leave just so that I can have dinner. He also puts so much emphasis on me sitting in my room working yet thinks it is okay to watch extremely loud videos in his room? It's extremely distracting. Above that, he is a heavy smoker so the smell is constantly wafting in the room when I'm trying to memorise English quotes.

    Oh, and to top it off, my parents don't let me go to the library because it's a 'waste of time travelling there'.

    I literally am out of options at this point...
  12. Summer Rose
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    13 August 2019 in reply to C74

    Hi C74

    I'm so disappointed to learn about how your dad is behaving. He really is unhelpful to you and your studies and I'm sorry that you are being poorly treated. You deserve so much more.

    Unfortunately, you can't change him and you can't stop him talking about you. All you can change is how you react and your self-talk.

    Try to block him out with an invisible wall. You've got to ignore the "noise" and try to stay focused.

    Stay calm, no matter what. Give yourself some love. Tell yourself what you know in your heart to be true: whatever the number you will be okay.

    You will find a way to get where you want to go. Could be direct, could be roundabout. It just doesn't matter. This is called resilience. It's not failure.

    I know from my children's experience that the pressure is currently building. You are close to the finish line, just try to hang in.

    Try to ensure you are getting adequate rest. Exercise regularly. Take lots of breaks. Drink lots of water. Remember to breathe.

    How did the trial exam go?

    Kind thoughts to you

  13. moomamoo
    moomamoo avatar
    1 posts
    18 August 2019 in reply to C74

    Hi C74,

    I'd just like to ask how you're going right now. I am a year 11 at a selective school (top in state aswell), who is also currently struggling to get by. Trials have just ended and I would like to know how you're feeling after this extremely stressful period.

    I cant imagine what you're going through and I am so sorry for your situation right now, you really don't deserve any of this abuse at all, especially through such a stressful time. I dont want to assume anything, but I think you're a fellow Asian, and the culture is frustrating as all they seem to care about is marks.

    Have you ever tried talking to your year adviser or a teacher that you trust? It may help alot as they may be able to find the help that you need. And also, you could try arrange study groups with your friends or your classes. It may help you and it also helps others as it clarifies what they know when they teach someone else. At this rate, I dont think you should think about how anyone else sees you, just focus on yourself.

    About you not having an adequate space to study, does your school have a library that is open after school? I think its a good place to study at with no distractions.

    Take this time to relax a little bit before the external HSC exams, and try to improve your health. I'm rooting for you!!

    - CH

    1 person found this helpful
  14. C74
    C74 avatar
    38 posts
    21 August 2019 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hi Summer Rose,

    Thank you for your valuable advice! And so far, trials are going as expected - I'm not sure if that's good or bad, considering my expectations were pretty low to begin with. I'm extremely nervous for my results, but there's nothing I can do for now except to study for the remaining two trial exams I have left.

    I do have something I want to ask, however:

    I have great difficulty in concentrating on tasks, and I always have. Whether it’s sitting down to study, or making sure I’m focussed in an exam, it’s always been an issue. Lately, its been getting more and more prominent now that I’m getting 3 hour exams which require focussing for long periods of time. I would start reading a question, and then I hear some small noise, whether it’s a bird chirping outside, or someone dropping their pen, and suddenly it’s like everything has gone out of my head. It makes me so mad at myself, because I can’t force myself to concentrate no matter what I do, and it really affects me in my exams. Would you happen to know any suggestions as to what I can do to prevent this from happening?

    I’ve spoken to people about this, teachers, tutors, a careers advisor… many of them suspect things such as ADHD, and said maybe I should get “checked up on it” but I have no idea how to do so, and likely won’t be able to get it “checked out” since I don’t have much time nor do I know who to see about this. In the case that I do have it, my school takes special measures (i.e. they put you in a special room by yourself, with no distractions, instead of an echoey hall with more than 100 students) which would really help me in my HSC. If I don’t, then I can rest assured that I haven’t been put at a disadvantage this whole time.

    But I’m not sure, do you think this is worth acting upon, and would you know how to deal with it? :(

    Thank you,
    C74


  15. C74
    C74 avatar
    38 posts
    21 August 2019 in reply to moomamoo



    Hi CH,

    It’s nice to hear from a fellow selective school student (and asian ;D you were correct in your assumption)

    Actually, although trials have ended for most schools, my school started ours a week later than other schools, so we don’t finish until the end of next week. Surprisingly, although I was really nervous right before trials begin, now that I’m in the middle of trials season, I don’t feel as bad! I think people put way too much emphasis on how stressful the trials are. After all, you’ve already learnt most of the content after task 3, so studying for trials is just a quick revision of topics you’ve probably already worked hard on before.

    I think part of the reason I’m not as stressed as a lot of people in my grade is because I’ve sat a HSC exam before, as an accelerant. I saw how low my marks at school were, then saw how I still managed to scrape a band 6. So now, I know what to expect from my trial marks, and understand that it can be significantly lower than my actual marks.

    Generally speaking though, this whole year, I generally haven’t been coping too well. But by posting through these forums, and talking regularly to one teacher in my school who I’ve known for most of my high school life, its been getting me through. I actually did used to go on weekly study groups with my friends. Eventually, however, my timetable got crowded because of all the extra tutoring I began to do, and since it’s trials, everyone becomes independent since your whole grade is competing against each other. As a result, we stopped forming study groups, and I stopped sharing my notes. It sounds horrible, but TBH the environment gets kind of toxic around trials for everyone, especially in a selective school, since it’s particularly competitive.

    I have tried studying in my school, and it has proven very effective. Unfortunately, my parents usually demand I come straight home if I don’t have tutoring, which is quite a pain. I do spend some lunchtimes at school studying in the library though, so that’s quite nice.

    And yes, I’m looking so forward to taking a small break after my trials are over! Again, it was really nice hearing from you. I notice you mentioned you were also struggling to get by - if there’s anything you want to know about year 12, or if you want any advice, I’d be more than happy to answer anything :)

    C74
  16. Summer Rose
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    21 August 2019 in reply to C74

    Hi C74

    I was so pleased to read your most recent post, as you sounded quite positive. Glad you are getting through the trials. You can do this. You are doing it.

    With regard to special consideration for exams, there is an application process to follow through the HSC governing body. Provisions like a separate room, extra time, even a scribe, are available to students with a disability.

    The disability needs to be professionally diagnosed and then you apply online but you must provide proof. The type of focus and distraction issues you have described could very well be ADHD or could also be anxiety or something else. I really can't say, as I am not a doctor.

    A psychologist would likely be the type of practitioner required to make a diagnosis. However, having said all that, I suspect the deadline for lodging an application would have passed, although you can check this at the HSC website or at school.

    Your best bet may be to prepare to avoid the noise distraction. I suggest wearing ear plugs (you can buy them at the chemist) or putting cotton wool in your ears. This will block out a lot of noise.

    A good night's sleep, healthy breakfast, lunch and snacks and lots of water will also help you stay focused. And, in those moments where everything flies out of your head, close your eyes and take some really slow, deep breaths, as this will help you come back into the moment.

    Pop in and see your school counsellor as he/she may have some ideas too.

    Really proud of you. You are doing an amazing job.

    Kind thoughts to you

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