Things I wish I knew as a grade 9 student

With every new experience and activity, there is a lot more to learn about the ever-changing world. Transitioning from a grade 9 student to an A2 student has certainly brought me many challenges and difficulties; but at the same time, I’ve also seen a great deal of growth in myself, both as a student, as well as outside academics. My worldview has significantly changed since I was in grade 9, but there are certainly some things that I wish I knew when I first started my O’Level journey as a student in Pakistan! Here are 8 things I wish I knew as a grade 9 student, and I hope that these tips and tricks can help you as well on your O’Level journey!

  1. It’s never too early to start studying for your O’Level exams. You can never be too well-prepared for your O’Level exam so it’s always a good idea to compile all your resources well before your exams so you have enough time to prep and practice! This will prevent you from carrying out any all-nighters or stressing out more than you need to. 
  1. Don’t get caught up in the rat race. You don’t need to join a gazillion after-school academies, tuitions, and past paper practice sessions to ace your final O’Level CIES. You only need a study schedule for yourself, and an affordable exam preparation platform such as Igniteful where you can get access to detailed notes, timed quizzes, and past paper solutions from the comfort of your home! 
  1. It’s okay to be afraid before taking part in new extracurricular activities but don’t let your fear completely stop you from new and unique experiences. No one in any debate, MUN, sports, or drama club is there to judge you or scare you — they are all there to learn, fail and relearn, just like you! So, don’t let your fear stop you from doing the things you want to do. Go join that debate session or drama club, because you never know where your secret talents really hide. Darr key aagey hamesha jeet hai! 
  1. It’s perfectly okay to ask for help! Don’t feel belittled if you need to ask for help from a fellow classmate, friend, or even a junior. There is no hierarchy in education, and you can learn something new from anyone! So let any feelings of superiority within yourself go, and allow yourself the chance to listen to others, to ask for help, and most importantly to learn something new. It will only benefit you! Also, if someone asks you for help, even if it is regarding a seemingly really simple question, don’t be arrogant or rude; instead, be kind and genuine with your help. 
  1. Save paper as much as you can! Be environmentally conscious and try not to waste too much paper during your 3 years of O’Level CIE prep. You don’t need to order giant past paper booklets of each and every component, variant and subject to ace these exams. Take it from me: I never practiced in the booklets because the extreme paper wastage always irked me! Instead, I used to open up the past papers online and reuse old notebooks to solve the questions. Later, I would check my answers by opening marking schemes online. Trust me, it works and is so much easier because you don’t have to carry those heavy booklets everywhere! 
  1. Invest in good company and friends. Having inspiring, motivating and uplifting friends certainly makes a great deal of difference while preparing for these challenging exams. Have group study sessions where you all collectively help each other in past paper practice or in building new concepts for O’Level Physics, Biology, Chemistry, for example. Teaching your peers will also help you in further strengthening your concepts so that way you’ll be helping your fellow classmates and also yourself!
  1. Be a friend to everyone. If you find helpful O’Level examination resources or academic material that can potentially help all your classmates, then do share it with them! I’ve seen this happening in many of my peers, who will hide notes, exam solutions and resources because they want all the help only to themselves. Be a teammate and help others. Helping others will not take away your intelligence or your academic resources. 
  1. Lastly, try to have some fun. O’Levels can be a gloomy, stressful, and sometimes isolating time. Make sure to dedicate time for your self-care and leisure activities so you can stay refreshed whilst still maintaining your focus on your CIE exams! 


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