The countdown until exams has begun and with only 3 months until this stressful season, how are the students of London feeling?


For the third consecutive year, learning has been interrupted by COVID-19 but the government and many others have adopted the view that exams must go ahead as an attempt to bring the exam system back to ‘normality’.


The government’s current plans are to release advanced information on the content of some GCSE, AS and A-Levels by 7 February. But will this additional aid be enough to compensate for the disruption caused, particularly by the recent Omicron surge?


After questioning multiple Year 11 students at The Holy Cross School, the overarching message was that of worry. Many pupils are now feeling the impacts of lockdown when revisiting certain topics. Elena Young shared, “I think that the online learning made me feel less motivated to work, and now we’re coming up to our exams I feel as if I won’t be able to learn the whole course for some subjects.” 

This stress was also felt by Niamh O’Connell who expressed concern about how “being off school has set us back with the content”. The unfortunate implications of this could be insufficient time for thorough revision of all topics.

Hannah Williams stated, “we barely know anything about the GCSE situation this year” so clearly students feel ‘in the dark’ about what is going to happen and exam boards are not striving to educate pupils on their plans.


However, this period of uncertainty does not solely affect students, but teachers as well. One thing is certain, both students and teachers alike have had to adapt tremendously to the challenges the corona virus has brought. Ms Kay, a GCSE and A-Level History teacher, provided insight into how the virus has impacted the teaching process. Alongside many other subjects, GCSE History’s content has been reduced to 3 units rather than 4 but surprisingly A-Level History’s course has received no alterations. This workload is worsened by additional assessments to provide evidence in the unlikely event of exams being cancelled. She also stated, “there is no level playing field” due to varying levels of absences and disruption to learning amongst individuals across the country.


With no definitive or clear outcome to the upcoming exam season of 2022, all students can do is try their best to fill in their gaps of knowledge and wait for further guidance from exam boards. When asked what tips she has for the students taking these exams Ms Kay advised, “being consistent is the best thing … if you try to cram everything in at the last minute that’s quite a tricky thing to do.” 


So with the assurance of teacher's hard work and support and the somewhat comforting solidarity in students’ shared concerns, to anyone taking exams this year, I wish you good luck.