Since UK schools shut on the 20th of March, most young people have launched into home school and subsequently faced big fears for their future. As a Lower Sixth student myself, I have not stopped worrying about how the current crisis will impact on not only my education but my life as I mature and begin to apply to universities and jobs. Although I am frequently being sent work by my tutors and joining Microsoft Teams meetings, this method of teaching is not nearly as affective as classroom sessions. I feel as if I am not doing enough work as I am unable to engage in class discussions to widen my knowledge and develop my understanding with the range of views I would normally receive from my peers.


Kasia Edmund, a former student at Woodcote 6th Form Coulsdon, shared her views as a year thirteen student progressing onto university. She said that she “feels like I’ve missed an opportunity to prove myself” and that the absence of exams will mean there will be “no sense of achievement on results day.” This factor has left many candidates feeling underwhelmed and disappointed as they miss out on the buzz surrounding finishing exams and achieving results.


Kasia also shared fears regarding the influence that mock exams would have on the final grade students would be awarded. Many students did not do very well in their mock exams and so this caused many to feel stressed as they feared that these grades would make up a large part of final ones awarded in summer. However, Kasia said she has been assured that “this is fixed” and mock grades will have less of an impact than originally anticipated.


On the 30th of April, my year group received a definitive statement which outlined that our year twelve progression examinations are cancelled. This naturally has caused many students to panic as the grades that will be on our UCAS forms will be based on our interim exams and class work. I for one feel that this is an unfair representation of our abilities as, as to be expected, our knowledge has developed over the past year and grades that we received in earlier exams are not a true reflection of our current apprehension. However, the overarching sense of frustration in this situation comes from the lack of power students and teachers have over the outcome. Professionals are doing everything they can to reassure students and ease any fears, though we will naturally continue to worry until we all regain some sense of normality and have a conclusive pathway into our future.


I spoke to Grace Edwards, a student at Reigate College in Surrey, who held a very different view to many other students. Grace said that she feels “reassured that these exams have been cancelled as personally, I work better over a longer period of time and without the anxiety of sitting in an exam hall under pressure.” It is understandable that many candidates will feel relieved that the exams will not take place as they would bring added stress into the already busy lives of teens, with many already facing problems such as anxiety. She continued to state, “I feel that the work I’ve done over the year is a much more accurate representation of what I’ve achieved as opposed to one exam at the end of the year.” With many A-level subjects being heavily made up of course work, many students will be comforted by the influence that this work will have on their overall grade.


Collectedly, students across the UK will agree that these unprecedented times have brought with them substantial stress over their futures, but the solidarity shown nationally with support coming from all angles and through many forms of media is what will get everyone through this pandemic and see a more unified and stronger generation as a result.