As many GCSE students across the country will tell you, nothing and no one can truly prepare you for the volume of content you will have to memorise and recall for so few questions on the actual exam. Like myself, for example. When the time came to choose my GCSE options, I confidently selected French, Product Design and History. Thinking I had a good array of subjects I (somewhat arrogantly) strode into school on the first day of Year 10, only to run into the brick wall that is the GCSE OCR History Curriculum. Looking at the sheet describing the number of chapters and topics we would have to cover by the end of the year had my mind whirling. Having made it to (almost) the end of Year 10 and facing End of Year exams squarely in the face, you can probably imagine how affronted I was to discover that we essentially cover the entire International Relations unit for a few questions worth about 15 marks in the assessment. 15. MARKS.

At this point, having an existential crisis about why I even chose it in the first place, I came to realise that GCSEs are very much a labour of love. Unless you enjoy the subject you’re learning you will easily find the GCSE curriculum the most tedious thing you’ve ever undertaken. You’ll find yourself near constantly studying or catching up on homework, no matter how organised you’ve tried to be (and believe me, I’ve tried). Sometimes you will be near tears, possibly even shed them, for no reason other than that the deadline for your homework is 3.00pm and you only started working on it at 2.55. But the love of learning makes everything (or most of it!) worthwhile. I know that I’ll never have a practical reason to talk about the Prohibition, but something about having that knowledge settles a part of me deep inside.

GCSEs are also an opportunity to really build relationships with your teachers and fellow students, particularly whatever you chose for your options. My History class has 16 people in it and is such a relaxed and friendly environment because we all chose to be there. It just adds the kind of intimacy that you don’t really get in previous stages of school life or with compulsory subjects.

One thing I do have to say is that no matter how well prepared you think you are, you will still be shocked when you see that exam paper for the first time. Your mind will black for about 20 seconds while you try to remember what an atom even is, or that one quote from Romeo and Juliet. But once the initial shockwave has subsided, I guarantee that your hand will be flying across that piece of paper like anything.