With Christmas over and the new year having finally arrived, the mock season for many GCSE students across the country has started, which will be followed by the final runup to the exams in 4 months’ time.

Of course, the presence of social media and the internet is commonly labelled as a distraction and negative platform for students in such an academically focused time period. However, such platforms have been used to create a culture in which many students vent their stresses, questions surrounding specific courses and experiences. In other words, over the last few years, social media has become an outlet for students to not only discuss GCSEs, but to bring a light to them that not many see.

Twitter has been a dominant platform for students to spread their feelings, particularly through jokes and comical references that target exam boards, particularly after overly difficult exams, and undoubtedly through meme formats. These tweets often spread to Instagram pages and stories, and provide a sense of community among teenagers across the country due to the shared experience of GCSEs that all students must face. Not only does this bring some ease to the grave nature of exams and education but acts as a reminder for those who particularly struggle from the pressure of their courses and targets that they are not on their own.

Youtube has also gained a rich library of videos covering every nook and cranny of most GCSE courses, with specialised videos that have become popular amongst students that want a whole course recap close to their exams. Surprisingly, these videos manage to break down a 2 year course into one single video lasting no longer than 3 hours. The comment sections also see a massive support between students days before their exams, and many shocked exclamations as to how a Youtube teacher has taught them more in a single afternoon than they have over 2 years. Undoubtedly, the teachers in these videos make for great entries for memes, with the most prevalent being the channel FreeScienceLessons who has been praised by many students as a “life-saver” and even a “God”.

The market for GCSE revision resources has been dominated by CGP products, particularly the revision guides, however, free resources and access to revision plans, flashcards and guides online has become increasingly popular and prevalent, and a recent website named Seneca provides active course for every subject, specifically made to incorporate learning with recall as the student progresses, and memes and gifs to satisfy the teenage mind every so often.

Despite distractions online that can be detrimental to revision and learning, as time goes on the resources available that provide alternative methods to study that can be more interactive, motivational and almost passive, meaning the time leading to GCSEs can be more enjoyable, and some stress can be eliminated.

By Derin Burke