On the naughty step - conduct that deserves a ticking off

This week: pre-results anxiety

Savour it. That is our message to Year 11 and Year 13. Savour the delirious joy you felt when you walked out of school after your last exam a few weeks ago. You believed it was not just the end of revision but the start of eternal sunshine. You felt you would never again have to do something just because some adult told you to - especially wear a tie or flat shoes.

Cherish the memory of that first day of freedom, when you were able to relax without feeling that you should be revising French tenses, mathematical formulae or the significance of the dagger in Macbeth.

Hold on to that feeling of liberation and try to ignore the small, grey cloud of anxiety you can see out of the corner of your eye. Cling on for as long as possible because soon that cloud will loom over every picnic, every swim in the sea, every waking moment. It's the same for teachers and headteachers, whose pay rises may soon depend on how well you do.

The gnawing internal doubt would be bad enough, but this year exams regulator Ofqual has become the Voice of Doom, warning of "particularly volatile" results and "big variations". Summer is fleeting, so let's banish this anxiety to the naughty step. We'll cope with the exam results when they arrive.

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