<font face="Times New Roman">My 17 year old is doing AS levels and has been getting more monosyllabic and morose as the exams progress - his last exam is on Wednesday. Earlier today he said that if he failed this exam he didn't really mind as he could retake it next year with his other A-levels and then stay on at college a further year to take the A-level.</font><font face="Times New Roman">I was quite taken aback, telling him that someone of his academic ability shouldn't be going in to his exams thinking along those lines, but it has obviously backfired because tonight he spent several hours revising / doing past papers and then told me that there's no way he is going to pass - and it is my fault that he is stressed because now he will feel a failure for not passing his exam! He also said that he felt ill-equipped for the exam as much of the preparation in class had focused on past papers but the actual input was limited - some of the things that were coming up in the papers were being covered for the first time there and then.</font> <font size="3">Meanwhile, his younger brother in Year 10 has been doing GCSEs early that he is so obviously not ready for - I don't mean he hasn't worked for them, just that he doesn't seem to have the necessary maturity. He is also feeling under a lot of pressure and seems destined to underachieve, not because he is not able, but because he and his friends are being pushed into exams too early. It's such a waste - they seem to spend so much time doing exams that there isn't any time for learning, so they are actually being tested on things before they have had a chance to really understand them.</font> It really worries me that we are setting up a whole generation of bright kids to fail – and all because of our obsession with exams.