Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Letter to my girl #24: Your First Major Exam Mistake

Dear Lil Pumpkin,

Your Primary 4 end-of-year exams have started. Yesterday, you had your first paper - English composition.

I've never really done much revision with you for English composition. For one thing, I'm not exactly sure how to go about it other than reminding you to have an "introduction", "body" and "conclusion" with some pointers on how you should "show, not tell". Secondly, Mummy works and doesn't have that much time to revise with you so if we do, I'd rather spend it more on topics and subjects that you struggle more at. Thirdly, you are a diligent reader and have a creative mind. Surely, surely you can't fare too badly in composition?

But oh boy. Little did I know that the one thing I didn't think you'd do, you did and it would be a very costly mistake in your paper.

You missed out on the title and wrote completely off topic *groan*

In your own words, you said that you saw the pictures and started planning and writing everything out. Only at the end, you saw the title was about another topic and it was too late to change anything.

My dear girl. You are so careless!!

I was literally screaming inside when I heard it. And I literally cried a little. Did I not do enough to help you not make that mistake??!

I've chided you many, many times to always check your work and not be careless. Sometimes you're too over-confident and just breeze past the paper, or sometimes you just want to rush through so that you can get over it and do something else, but the mistakes are still there. And the frustrating thing is that we know it is because you are careless and losing marks unnecessarily, not because you don't know your work.

After getting past the initial shock, I went online to check about the marking system. I'm not sure how it is nowadays but I'm pretty sure that if you write off-topic, you would fail. Maybe not get a total zero, but it is unlikely that you would pass for your English composition.

You're lucky Mummy was at work when I heard about this. I'm ashamed to say that if you told me face-to-face, I probably would have screamed at you. And honestly, that would not do either of us any good.

I know that you didn't want to be so careless. I know that you understand the gravity of your mistake. I know that you feel bad and are worried as well. You definitely didn't need either Mummy or Daddy scolding you to make you feel worst.

So, the best thing we could do as your parents yesterday was to tell you that it was ok. Don't worry about it, and just try harder for the rest of your papers. Learn from the mistake and try not to repeat it again. Be resilient. Now more than ever, you need to be extra careful and not lose any more marks.

I'm actually glad that you made that mistake. Maybe this will be the wake-up call that you need to remind yourself to be more conscientious during exams, and less careless. 

I'm actually glad that you made that mistake now. While you're having your P4 SA2s, and not while you're having your PSLE. Because the consequences for that would be more dire.

But even then, even if you made a major mistake during your PSLE, or O'Levels, or A'Levels or whatever major exam in life, understand my dear child that it is not the end of the world. Your academic success does not define you as a person. It does not define how successful you can be in life.

Sure, Mummy and Daddy wants you to do well in school because doing so opens many doors for you, but more importantly than that, we want you to live a happy life where you feel safe and loved, can sleep soundly and wake up with wonder and excitement at what each new day brings.

That's really what Mummy hopes for you and I'm sorry if I've not made you understand that yet. Mummy will try harder to make you understand before it is too late and one day, you give up hope in life if you happen to not do well in school.

You are still too young to know this now but yes, unfortunately there are many young people that fail in school and feel like they fail in life so choose to end it. I've read too many horror stories to know that there's no good reason to push you that hard in your studies. 

Remember that we love you very much, and will still love you no matter what mistake you make. 

Love always,

For more of  Lil Pumpkin's Primary School journey:

For tips on P1 preparation:

1 comment:

Theresa Mahoney said...

Hopefully, she does learn from this mistake. While upsetting, how else are we supposed to learn and grow if we don't trip a little here and there? It's good that she's learning this valuable lesson early in life, but I'm sure she'll be more careful with her work going forward now.