GCSE therapy with BTS

How to get through the GCSEs with the help of K-pop.


I’ve been doing quadratic equations. It’s nearly, nearly the GCSEs and daughter two is holding out surprisingly well and, remarkably, seems to understand quadratic equations a little better. Only son has also been joining in as he loves maths with a passion that daughter two has never been able to develop.

After attending various workshops at school over half term, daughter two decided that she couldn’t revise at home due to “distractions” – even when no-one else is there – and took herself to a library several times. Not any library, but one half an hour’s tube ride away. I was suspicious at first and requested proof. “Is there anyone of interest in there with you?” I inquired. It turns out that there was not. In fact, on the second occasion she left because the man next to her was being a bit noisy and she didn’t want to tell him so because she thought he was homeless and had bigger worries on his mind than GCSEs. So she came home.

She says the tube journey is “calming”, which is not my experience, but she and her sister have got heavily into K-pop over the holiday, in particular BTS, and journeys are a good opportunity to indulge. I had never heard of the band before, but now I rarely do not hear of them. They appear to be the ultimate boy band. They dance, they sing, they smile a lot and generally look like small puppies in human form. The main thing about them, apart from the smiles and the fact that there are loads of them so there is always a new one to ‘discover’, is that their music is generally frothy upbeat stuff – the kind of thing you need when you are contemplating GCSEs and climate change annihilation [daughter two went on the climate change march and daughter three came with me to Extinction Rebellion last weekend].

Daughters two and three have obsessively watched every single video interview with BTS and only son, for one, is heartily sick of it. He texted daughter two from my phone the other night: “Stop listening to BTS. It is messing with your head.” Every time I go out I am joined by daughters two and three who force me to play BTS in the car the whole way. It’s a GCSE distraction for daughter two, but she is presenting it as ‘GCSE therapy’ and is rapidly spreading the treatment across the whole of her year. I’m a bit worried her revision has peaked way too early and she’s into the partying bit before the actual exams have started. It feels like she has been revising for months, though.

The revision timetable outlined by the school is basically wall to wall studying with Sunday mornings off. This fails to take into account a somewhat vital teenage fact, unless I am just a very bad parent. Teenagers, in my experience, do not even see Sunday mornings so having Sunday morning off means absolutely nothing. Daughter two’s revision timetable goes: up around 12-ish. Breakfast. BTS for an hour. Shakespeare [Leonardo di Caprio DVD]. BTS. Quadratic equations. Lots of [vegan] snacks in between and scrolling of phone/sessions advising friends about their love life. BTS. Revision cards until dawn. I’ve advised against burning the midnight oil, but she just smiles a sort of Mona Lisa smile and ignores me.

I think she’s studying hard. She seems to write a lot of revision cards, but ultimately her main motivation is not maths or science or whatever. It’s to get into the sixth form so she can stay with her mates, which is probably the best motivation there is.

*Picture credit: Wikimedia Commons

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