Though Covid-19 is still present today, the relaxation of almost all rules and guidelines means that most things are back to normal. For school students around the country this means exams are now (almost completely) back to normal. This year will be the first year students will sit external exams since 2019. 

When Covid fully hit in March 2020, A-Levels and GCSEs were cancelled for school students. Many were unsure of how schooling would continue and how these students would receive their all-important grades that they had been working towards for years. In the end, students’ received Centre-assessed grades (CAGs) and external exams were not sat with most students not being able to return to school until the following academic year. 

In 2021, following multiple lockdowns for the respective GCSE and A-Level cohorts, the government decided it would be best to cancel the external exams once more. This was due to the inequalities of technology, teaching and missed school during the months students had had doing online learning – more than half a year of learning from home in total. Since exams were cancelled once more, when students returned to school in March 2021 – after not seeing their peers and teachers since before Christmas – schools were given the opportunity to set internal exams to provide evidence for teacher-assessed grades (TAGs). Methods of providing TAGs varied school to school which led to varying equalities within grades. 

Many private and grammar schools were seen to have a large inflation in highest grades, widening the attainment gap between state-educated and private-educated students. One state school student, now in year 12, felt that she “was very happy with my grades” but upon moving to a grammar school for sixth form felt, “it was difficult to find out that the private and grammar educated students at the school felt that they had been given grades they would not have achieved without inflation whilst I was stuck with grades that I would have achieved, but had not been inflated as other students had been”. Hopefully this year, the disparities caused by inflation a socio-economic background will take a significantly lesser effect.

This year, GCSE and A-Level students’ education has still been affected by Covid, but exams will go still ahead. To help students, the government has ensured that exams and the content required has been altered. For example, for history A-Level students studying the French Revolution and Napoleon, the Fall of Napoleon has been cut. Daisy Casemore, a student in year 13 currently revising for her A-Levels, said that she was feeling “a bit frustrated that the exam boards did not tell us [about the content cut] sooner”. 

Overall, students can only try their very best and see if they get the results they deserve and want on results day this summer.