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Dreading middle school

Hi, I am a girl of 13 years old who attends a Christian private school and will start secondary school after the summer. Both Primary school and secondary school share the same school building. In other words, we are all together. My problem is that I struggle with the idea of starting secondary school. What I'm dreading is the tests and exams and getting grades. All the girls in my class can't wait to start except me! I get a lump in my stomach every time people start talking about secondary school. Imagine that your exam result determines your future! Imagine that if I get really bad grades and get a bad job when I grow up! Sometimes I want to cry because I feel this way! Some students say there's a lot of homework and stuff, while others don't. What can I do to help myself?

Hello, and thanks for your question!

Starting middle school is a transition that many people find a bit overwhelming to think about. Life at school is changing and will be a little different. Even if there are some new things to get used to, it’s completely normal to feel nervous about these changes. Fortunately, the transition between schools goes well for the vast majority. Here are some things to think about that can help you relax a bit:

When it comes to exams and midterm tests, you might find them longer and more extensive than the tests you've had before. But don't worry, with time, you'll get accustomed to them. The term "midterm test" may sound intimidating because people often talk about it as a significant event, but it's not too different from other tests you've taken in school. You'll receive help from teachers to prepare beforehand to ensure you feel as ready as possible to tackle it. Additionally, your teachers will explain what to expect during the test.

In some midterm tests, you might even have different options to choose from, allowing you to pick the one you feel most comfortable with. Many students appreciate this flexibility.

After you've taken tests a few times, they become more normal and not as intimidating. By the end of secondary school, you will have received good training in taking written tests, which will greatly help you during your exams. The exam is almost identical to the midterm test, with the only difference being that it is assessed by a teacher from another school to ensure fairness. Fortunately, your secondary school grades do not determine your entire future. While some high schools may require a higher average to be accepted as a student, there are also plenty of opportunities available for those who may not have the highest grades.

Keep in mind that it varies greatly from person to person what grades they get in different subjects. It is quite common to get low grades in some subjects, and then it is important not to be discouraged because of this. The most important thing you can take away from secondary school is what you learn in the different subjects, but also that what you achieve is good enough. Only the grades in final subjects matter when applying to the high school you want to study at, so the grades in the eighth and ninth year are not included on the diploma. It helps to think of the secondary school numerical grades as a slightly more detailed way of measuring high, medium and low achievement that you are used to from primary school.

Next, you will feel it’s slightly different how much homework teachers give in middle school, but it is common for it to be a little more than in primary school. This is something you get more used to over time. You're certainly not supposed to drown in homework, and probably teachers will try to make this transition as smooth as possible. 

You wrote that it seems like all the girls in the class are excited to start middle school. Although it may seem like everyone is looking forward to it, there are probably more people who are also a little nervous. Perhaps not everyone wants to show it, but worrying about something new is quite common. The transition to the next level in school can seem great even to those who are best at school and who seem to achieve a lot.

Dreading and thinking about something all by yourself can be hard. Many people find that it helps to talk to someone they trust when they dread something because it becomes easier after you have talked about it. It can be good to talk to a trusted adult, whether it's your parents, a teacher, or a public health nurse at your school. 

When preparing for something completely new, there are many questions and thoughts swirling in your head. Many have experienced being nervous about something new, but people have also experienced that things went much better than they were afraid of.

We wish you the best of luck moving forward!

Kind regards, BoyandGirl.info

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