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Complete failure?

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So, here's the situation:

I'm a senior who starts school next week(May 2010 candidate) and is extremely worried about her year 1 grades.

The problem is, that although a generally pretty good student, in the IB1 end-of-the-year exams, I had a panic attack during math HL papers, and I managed(!) to get a 3 (never in my life had I imagined I could see such a grade before me). Still, having 7s in all other subjects, I got a year grade of 40 and math year grade of 5.

Obviously, I have spent all my sumer revising and rerevising math, in order to ace all the upcoming tests and soothe the shame. However, I am extremely worried that now all my dreams about getting into a good university are destroyed and there is nothing I can do. I have been even considering to go talk with my teacher about retaking the exams, if it is possible. But I highly doubt anything of the kind might happen, so I am dying in my misery.

I have had some extremely crazy thoughts, like abandoning the IB and going back to the Greek educational system, or something like that.

My overall college admission profile is quite good, but grades was one of my strongest points.

I have also been thinking, if I can't do anything to change the grade, what can I do to fix it? I understand a prediction of 7 is definitely what I need, but do I have to ask for a recomendation letter from my math teacher(who understood that I had a nervous break-down) explaining this unreasonable grade? Because I wasn't planning of asking him for one, since he has only had our math class for 2 months(our previous teacher left).

What should I do? Are my fears extremely illogical?

I would very much like some advise.

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Your scores are amazing. All sevens and one three [or five, however that works] is still great, and you can still get into most places. I assume your goal is the highest of the high, but a 40 without the extra points is wonderful! I think you're being a perfectionist, which is not abnormal. I think you can talk to your old teacher if you have his or her email. The teacher would probably be willing to write a recommendation letter for you.

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If the highschool-university link in Greece works in a way similar to Canada, then you still have a good three months to impress your Math teacher for the year before you start to apply for university. To me, it seems like you're hard-working and determined - so, getting your math predicted grade up shouldn't be a problem for you. However, if you're prone to nervous breakdowns before huge tests and exams, that is something that you should really try to overcome before you write your actual IB exams. Good luck :)

Edited by 1-2-3

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We had some people screw up a HL Maths mock just before our predicted grades needed to be in, and they went up to the teacher and asked if they could have a second mock paper to up their predicted grade, having realised what was necessary to revise and to prove that they really were capable of more. They did and sure enough their grades went up :) Perhaps you might want to give it a go?

You might also want to follow up on 1-2-3's advice about making sure panic attacks won't happen again. The last thing you want is to panic about having a panic attack right before the real thing! If you panic when you're underprepared or haven't done enough practice (usual causes of panic :P), make sure you do enough to feel hyper confident and do yourself justice. 40 is a pretty mean score regardless, but if you know you can do better, don't let anything get in the way! :S

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In the mocks (simulated IB exams before the real deal) I ended up with a 2. It happens, it's not the end of the world. Make sure you keep on doing past papers left right and centre, and well you should be fine really. I got a 5 in the actual exam, but that was because we were the guinea pigs for the new exam format so we really had no expectations whatsoever. I thought, so did the rest of the SL class, since I was the only one in Maths HL, that the exam was excruciatingly hard. However since you have the added advantage of knowing the way the Maths paper works, you should really be just fine.]

I asked my teacher to give me a 6 for my university predicted grades, and it can be done depending on your relationship with the teacher and how well they know your abilities etc. Convince/sweet talk them into giving you at least a 6 as your predicted grades if you think you are capable in actually getting that 6. If you think that you can't cope with the level of Maths HL, drop down to SL. My friend, the only other student in my HL class, dropped down to SL after the mocks in January.

Don't ask for a recommendation from a teacher who doesn't know you. Unless you had extenuating circumstances in your end of year exams for maths, there really is no explanation that any one can give for your 3. However, with hard work you can surge forward :)

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I agree that you should do loads and loads of past papers, and also focus on the newest ones. You can only gain confidence through practice. Hopefully this will be enough for you to forget your fears during examinations. Also, you know that you've done the most amount of work you can this summer, so if your grades are still not improving, you should look into dropping to SL (that is unless you need Maths HL for your university course). I know how it is to get really nervous during exams, but I learned to push it aside because it was affecting my overall performance negatively.

Good luck :)

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