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News: From resitting GCSE English to being published in the English Association’s National Journal. Student Lilly shares her top tips!

Lilly Rabjohn
Lilly Rabjohn

When 17-year-old Lilly Rabjohn retook GCSE English alongside her Travel and Tourism course last year, she had no idea it would ignite a passion for creative writing. A year on and she’s not only supporting others who are resitting their GCSE English exam, but she’s also written an article that has been published in the English Association’s National Journal!

An interest in creative writing was sparked when she joined the English GCSE class at college. When her lecturer suggested she entered a writing competition, she decided to give it a go. Drawing on her own personal experiences of resitting English as inspiration for the piece, Lilly was delighted to find out she’d had her work chosen by editor Kayte Haselgrove, and her piece was printed in the Autumn 2023 edition. She said:

It was surreal to see my name in a printed publication. Thinking back to my school days, I would never have dreamt this could happen. 

I didn’t really enjoy English at school, it wasn’t until I had the freedom to write more creatively at college that I became interested. I ended up finding a passion in an area I originally struggled with. What was once a chore, is now something I love. 

Lilly Rabjohn — Travel and Tourism student

Lilly’s article describes the challenges she faced when resitting her exam. She now uses her experience to support her peers who are going through the same thing.

She explained: Having achieved the C grade I’d worked hard for, I’m now in a position to help my friends who are resitting their English. I like helping others if I can. I’m now considering a career in teaching, or at least combining my love of writing with travel.”

This summer, Lilly will sit her maths GCSE for the second and, hopefully, final time. She shares her top tips and advice on revision techniques, balancing social life with college, and managing stress.

Check it out!

Blog written by Lilly Rabjohn

Feeling the pressure with upcoming exams around the corner?

I’m here to give you an insight in how to deal with that anxiety and pressure that can creep in if you let it during the exam period.

I’m just like you! I re-sat my GCSE English in 2023 and I’m resitting maths this year. If you don’t get the grades you were hoping for the first time-round, I know it can feel devastating and doing it all again can be challenging, and most of all, time consuming, but I can tell you from experience – it’s worth it in the end!

This time of your life might feel never ending and like you’re on repeat, but believe me, you do have the mental capacity to achieve the results you need, you just have to keep working hard and believing in yourself.

I created a realistic revision routine I could stick to and that worked wonders. You might be thinking, I’ve tried this and couldn’t stick to it and now I feel like a failure’ – Incorrect! You are not a failure – if what you try the first-time round isn’t working for you, try a different method, like a timetable on your phone? After all, you’re far more likely to look at this rather than a scrunched-up piece of paper at the bottom of your bag!

With motivation and determination, you WILL succeed!

Whilst exams can be very overwhelming and difficult for many students just like me and you. If you don’t start now, you’re only setting yourself up to fail. Try to remember that these short-term struggles can lead to your long-term gains!

Here are my top five exam coping strategies and tips!

Take regular breaks

For example, pick a topic you are struggling with the most, revise the key information for 20 – 25 minutes and then take a 10-minute break.



If you’re anything like me, a good night’s sleep can make all the difference. Getting seven hours or more each night will make you feel energised and motivated for the day ahead.


Be creative

Colour coordinate key points and phases to help important information be easily identified when you revise. Try using different colours for different topics/​subjects.


Limit your screen time

Try to distract yourself from using social media during the exam period and late at night. I know it’s tricky, especially if you’re like me and addicted to your phone! I can spend hours scrolling on TikTok or watching pointless videos. I found that having a break from it helped to relieve my anxiety and overthinking.


Healthy body, healthy mind

I don’t mean eat an apple a day because that’s boring, right? By this, I just mean try to maintain a healthy, balanced diet and keep active to prevent an over-stimulated, tired body.


And finally…good luck!

For all those who are sitting or resitting exams this academic year – good luck! Stay positive and know that you will get through it – I believe in you!

Published on:
  • 23rd April 2024 (12:00 AM)
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