All Work And No Play...Student Nightmares And How To Slay Them

October 26, 2021

31st October is a day when we tend to think about witches, ghosts and zombies. But let’s be honest - when it comes to what really scares teenagers the most, school, in some form or another, tends to be the culprit. Ask anyone beyond school age; given the choice, most would take wrestling Frankenstein’s monster over re-sitting their A-levels any day. 

Study-related anxiety takes up a lot of space in the average student’s psyche, whether they’re in year 8 or year 13. So if you’re seriously considering attending upcoming halloween parties dressed as Results Day or your A-level Chemistry exam, how could we blame you? The following spooky school stories are sure to get your heart rate up but don’t worry - heed our advice and we guarantee these nightmare scenarios will stay exactly where they belong: in your nightmares.


Picture this: you come into class tense and shaky, terrified of what you’re about to do. You sit down at your desk, praying for some kind of disruption to the lesson - a fire alarm; the announcement of another lockdown; anything to escape the next ten minutes. But alas, no divine intervention comes, and your teacher is calling your name. It’s time to do your presentation.

If the very idea of presenting to your class gets you sweating, you’re not alone. Most people remain terrified of public speaking well into adulthood. However, there are things you can do to calm your nerves and ensure you get through your presentation as serenely as possible. 

Give yourself plenty of time to prepare and get to know the topic you’re presenting on so you’ll be ready for any questions your audience may throw at you. During the presentation itself make sure you speak nice and slowly, allowing yourself to take pauses and breathe - as you’ll know if you’ve ever done yoga, breath is key to staying in control. And remember to drink water beforehand; the last thing you want is a dry mouth when you’re speaking publicly.

Exam failure 

We’ve all been visited by that recurring nightmare: you’re walking into an exam and you suddenly realise… you didn’t revise for it!! You only need to have experienced that feeling of terror at how little time you have before D-day to know how easily this nightmare can morph into a reality. 

Luckily, this one’s entirely within your control. Starting your revision early is key but it doesn’t stop there. Organisation is what will propel you over the finish line and guarantee that you complete all areas of study before the exams roll around. 

Here at Tutor House the words ‘revision timetable’ bring us somewhat embarrassing levels of joy. Structuring your working day and deciding which areas to cover in allotted time slots will help you guard against the dreaded scenario of realising on the day of the exam that you’ve left a gaping hole in your revision. However the exams themselves pan out, knowing you were smart about your studying will bring you tremendous comfort in the weeks leading up to Results Day.

Results Day 

Speaking of Results Day, those twenty-four hours haunt the nightmares of A-level students perhaps even more than exams. It’s easy to see why. Imagine you’ve spent the past few months working harder than you’ve ever worked in your life; it’s all been leading up to this day when you find out whether your efforts have paid off. You walk into school, open the envelope and … you’ve failed every single one of your exams. Goodbye uni, hello unplanned gap year. 

The obvious way to stave off those terrifying fail grades is to study diligently for your exams, so of course this is our first and most important piece of advice. But beyond that, we recommend being prepared for any and all eventualities you may encounter on Results Day. 

If you’ve studied hard, you’ll most likely get the grades you were hoping for but if you don’t, all is not lost. Research the University Clearing process - see our blog on surviving Clearing - and your retake options beforehand so that, should your grades be lower than you were expecting, you won’t be caught out and will be able to respond with a clear head. 

Missed deadlines  

If you make it to university, the night terrors don’t stop there. Here’s one for the uni students among you. You’re finally completing the essay you’ve been working on for two weeks.You add the finishing touches, close your laptop and go to sleep ready to hand your work in the next day. But you wake up … and it’s 11.30 - you’ve missed your 10am deadline!!

Universities should require all students to swear an oath: ‘I hereby promise to always submit my work the day before the deadline’. It’s as simple as that. The day before hand-in has to be your own personal deadline; don’t take any chances! Accidents happen, alarms fail to go off, and universities will take no prisoners; you miss a deadline, you receive a 0. End of. (NB: Do NOT rely on all-nighters - you never know when sleep will win out and overtake you.)

The general state of the world

A scenario we’ve all thought about at several points over the past year: the world ends tomorrow - or at the very least we’re plunged into a virus/global warming-induced that will render the concept of A-levels and UCAS applications beyond obsolete. (And then what will have been the point of all this studying?)

We get it; the state of the world hasn’t exactly been conducive to inner peace and serenity recently. Between pandemics, climate disasters and political uncertainty, many young people are struggling to envisage the future they’re expected to be working towards. However, there are certain actions you can take to reassure yourself that, even if you’re powerless over how others choose to live, you’re doing everything you personally can to make a difference. Being a health-aware, environmentally conscious member of society comes in many forms - see our blog on how to be a sustainable student for details - and can easily be implemented into your life. 

But while you’re looking after the planet, make sure you remember to look after yourself too. If you’re being kept up at night (whether by the prospect of impending environmental catastrophe or anything else that may be on your mind), don’t stay silent. Ask for help. Airing your stresses out loud is the best exorcism you could ask for when it comes to tackling your anxieties, and plenty of organisations exist to help you do so, such as:

Student Minds

The Mix

“The power of Christ compels you!”

If these scary scenarios have got you on edge this Halloween, never fear - Tutor House is here! With the right skills and resources in place, you’ll be able to keep those study nightmares at bay, get more treats than tricks and rest serenely in the knowledge that you’re well on track for academic success.

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Ella Burgess

Ella is a content writer at Tutor House and explores a range of education centred topics, having previously spent time teaching English while living abroad. A foreign language enthusiast and lover of text art, she is devoted to words in all their forms. She'll happily immerse herself in anything wordy from conceptual art to vintage murder mysteries.

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