In light of the government guidance for exams, many schools have formulated their own plans for running internal exams, to be used as evidence for the final GCSE grades of their Year 11 students. In the following, I will be sharing how my school, Tiffin boys, have gone about it and what I like about our “May Secure Assessments”.

Firstly, the reduction was fair and appropriate. For subjects like modern foreign languages, orals were replaced with “speaking endorsements” and the listening section has been completely dropped. For English Literature, the 19th Century novel was dropped, for us it was The Sign of the Four. That aside, there are still questions on Shakespeare’s Macbeth and J.B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls. Topic lists have been sent to us for all subjects, along with the subjects that will not be featured in the exams. Some subjects, like Maths, did not drop any of its content, as everyone is better at different aspects of mathematics.

We’ve been given a month to prepare for these terminal exams. Is that enough? It depends on prior revision done and the foundation of the student’s conceptual understanding. Furthermore, the exams are spread over the course of May, they run for 4 weeks in total. If anything, this is even more time to revise. On the flip side, this May is looking potentially like the longest month of my life.

To help with the revision process, we’ve also been granted study leave during the exam period. Even though this means even less social interaction, it is helpful. I think it is important for us not to let our heads drop over the course of the next two months. With the lockdown restrictions easing, having less interaction with friends, due to the revision, might have serious knock-on effects, especially surrounding exam performance.

To provide a safety net for those who could mess up in their terminal exams, our school has told us that this will only form part of the final grade: evidence can be taken from previous assignments and exams. The MSA’s have given us a chance to show what we’re capable of and for those who hadn’t performed well throughout the year, a second chance.