Exam Season


‘Study leave’ – or get rid to of the kids early…when I studied for my O’levels we were released from school at Easter so that we could ‘study’.  It is worth noting that I had only seen one exam paper by then and that was my mock.  No explanation on how to revise, or exam technique…just good bye and good luck

‘Study leave’ – students now stay in school until the last possible moment at Uplands.  This gives them the opportunity to maintain the contact with teachers, gives them the structure of revising an hour at a time on different subjects.  We also run booster classes for those who need extra help and support.  Students practice papers so they are used to the ebb and flow to them.  Teachers will take the paper with the students as practice, talking them through how they would approach each question in the paper.  We understand psychologically effective ways of remembering information, importance of rest, spacing of testing and we have begun to use research into how the brain works.  But more importantly the students turn up listen and practice.

Exams – from memory I had 8 exams

Exams – this year due to government removing the ability of students to resist, all the exams have to be taken in the summer.  This means courses designed to be modular are sat at one time.  A student studying triple science will take 9 science exams this summer alone.  Most of our student are taking more than 20 examinations.  Take a moment and think about that…each one needs preparation and revision, building a timetable to prepare for 2 exams a day for 10 days for many of them.  For them I would guess that only moving house will be as stressful (if they can ever afford one).

Hard-work – I remember my final year at school more for the long summer, which started at Easter (see ‘study leave’).

Hard-work – students work harder for longer.  Even with being at school optional, most classes are still full with students desperate to do well.  They have to, the pressure is huge to hit that first requirement of at least 5A* to C to even be accepted on to a level 3 course.

So when people ask me if exams are easier I agree with Mary Beard (Professor of Classics

Newnham College, Cambridge), who noted in a recent blog:

“Students aren’t smarter, but they work harder. And we probably teach them better too. But dumbing down?? No.”


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