I'm failing my engineering classes!

Hey there! So here's my problem; I've always dreamed of doing engineering for my career ever since my dad first got me model planes and robot arms for my early birthdays, and its a passion Ive taken all the way through my life. I am now half way through my Physics and Maths AS Level courses and have realised that my Math is suffering HUGELY (Im talking scoring about 10% and sometimes less in our class tests) and my Physics, while I enjoy it immensely, isnt much better, usually scoring about 30-40%. Its strange to me as I got an A* and an A in Maths and Physics respectively at IGCSE, but it seems something about the transition to A Level has damaged something in my ability or confidence in the subjects. I have never really considered any career other than that in engineering, so what should I do?
posted by Will , London on January 9, 2014

Answer by Victoria Taberner

Hi Will. Firstly, try not to stress, whatever happens your life and career will work out just fine and worrying won’t help you pass your exams. When one door closes another one opens. Having said that I do understand your dilemma. I had a very similar life choice during my time studying but looking back at that time I think I’m a better person and a better engineer for having had something to struggle with. There are two things you need to consider; Firstly, what is it that is making you fail your exams? Only you can answer this. Being honest to yourself is harder than it seems but there will be a reason. There is a jump in standard between GCSE and AS/A2 level, but realistically if you were getting A*/A’s at GCSE then academically you wouldn’t struggle with the AS course content and you need to believe in your own abilities and try and re-build some confidence. Having been there myself, I know it is possible to knuckle down and pull your grades up (even from 10%!!); However, the second question you need to ask yourself is, why are you following this career path? Spending more time studying is all well and good if it’s something you are sure you want, but futile if it isn’t. Engineering as a career is very different to loving it as a hobby. Its fab that you share this passion with your Dad in your free time but it’s also important for you to follow your own career choices. You don’t have to ‘give up’ your engineering hobbies if you decide you’d rather a career in something else!!
So all I can advise is to spend a bit of time thinking about whether this is what you truly want. If it is, then it’s not too late to get good results. Stop panicking about the low grades, work out a study plan and do as many past papers as possible (exam formats rarely change). If you’re not sure you want to continue down this path, you have a whole world of opportunities available to you. With your GCSE grades you can pretty much do anything you want to. And its ok to change your mind!! (now and later in your career!!).
Good luck