From Monday (May 16), students in Salford and across the U.K will begin to take their GCSE and A-Level exams for the first time in two years.
The return of exams has been met with some concern from teachers and students as the constant disruption caused by the Covid pandemic has left some people feeling like they have lost vital learning time in the lead up to the exams.
The Government and exam regulators have made a few changes in order to compensate for the learning time students may have lost.
Grades are still going to be awarded the same way as before Covid, however the grade boundaries will be more lenient. Boundaries will be set at a midpoint between 2019, the last year exams took place, and the grade levels from teacher assessments in 2021.
Earlier this year, exam boards across England released information about the exams for the majority of GCSE and A-Level courses. This was done so that students would have a better idea of what to revise in the lead-up.
The Department of Education has confirmed that some of these adaptations will only be in place for this year, and by 2023, exams will be virtually identical to how they were pre-Covid.
Salford Now has collated some of the best tips and tricks for revision and exam preparation from former GCSE and A Level students across the city.
If you haven’t already, create a revision timetable. Each day revise two or more subjects with an even balance.
If there are subjects you enjoy more than others, revise a subject you enjoy with one you enjoy less. This can help you to stay focused on multiple subjects at the same time, rather than getting bored by focusing solely on something you do not enjoy.
If you are struggling with a specific subject, don’t be afraid to ask that teacher for more support. Teachers are there to help and there is no harm in asking for something to be explained in more detail or in a different way which may help you to understand it better.
Everybody has a different way of revising, here are some methods to try if reading notes is not helping:
Make a spider diagram for each subjects’ key topics
Find a Quizlet class based around your subject
Get a family member or friend to ask you questions on your subject
Read every question a few times over to make sure you understand what it is asking and how to answer it.
Make sure you have enough time for every question. If you are stuck on a question, come back to it at the end, it’s important you leave yourself enough time to attempt every question.
Everybody is as nervous as you so don’t worry about anybody else and focus on yourself and your own paper.
Take a bottle of water in with you even if you don’t think you’ll need it, it’s always good to stay hydrated.
Tips for Parents
Tests and exams can be a challenging part of life for your child. The NHS has provided advice for parents and guardians of children dealing with exam stress.
Look out for signs of stress such as headaches, low mood and a lack of appetite.
Make sure your child has a balanced diet – avoid high-fat and sugary foods.
Help your child get enough sleep, between 8 and 10 hours a night.
Help them to study and ask how you can support their revision.
Do not add to the pressure – listen to your child and avoid criticism.
For more advice click here.
This video by Childline details six tips to manage exam stress.
Mental Health Advice
No matter how well your exams have gone, it is not the be-all and end-all of life. You have opportunities to re-sit in the future and the grades you get do not define the person you can become.
Your mental health matters. If you are dealing with stress or anxiety, speak up and ask for help. Exams are extremely stressful, but you are not alone. Speak to your friends, family, teachers, or if you want to be anonymous you could text the 24/7, free, YoungMinds textline.
Here are some contact details of support networks: