From a very early age we understand that testing and exams are an essential part of growing up. It gave me a clear indicator of where I was at in comparison to my peers rightly or wrongly. I vaguely remember having a ballet exam at about the age of six – I can see myself in a large hall, wearing green ballet pumps pointing my toes in time to an old piano in the corner being played by a middle-aged woman who had the most impressive bouffant. Then there were the spelling and maths tests at primary school, which then got more daunting and as I got to secondary school. Life suddenly shifted a gear and things ramped up with music exams, end of term exams, GCSE’s, A Levels and university finals.

Obviously, those times were so important and I just took it on the chin and rolled with the punches. Over the years since, I’ve had panic dreams thinking I haven’t revised a topic or missed an exam, waking up in a fit of panic only to see Michael snoring next to me to bring me back to my senses – I guess a clear indication of how important those times were. I can also remember the tangible fear I endured whilst taking my driving test – horrendous. And then there was my screentest to get my job on CBBC – I was a wreck and couldn’t speak so I’m still confused at how I was chosen.

Well it’s been a while since I’ve been really ‘tested’ and this week, those feelings of anxiety, trepidation and sheer apprehension all came flooding back as I prepared to sit for my grade 3 cello exam. I decided to take the instrument up again as I had failed miserably the first-time round in commitment as well as talent. The cello had been gathering dust in my attic so I wanted to give it a go properly with a mature head on. I woke up on Monday morning cursing myself for signing up. I felt sick. I couldn’t remember my scales, pieces or who I was. It was going to be a disaster.

I felt like a child again in the room with the examiner. I only really mucked up the end of one piece which I’m still raging about, played some of my scales out of tune, and forgot to use the word ‘crescendo’ but I’ve got to give myself a break! I managed to control my nerves enough to get through and I did it!