GCSE exams

(135 Posts)
chart53 Sun 08-Jun-14 21:47:34

Feel current exam cycle, with all 10 GCSEs taken in the Summer, is too much for young people. So far, my daughter has taken almost every day,so 16 exams since the 6.5.13 with another 6 to go this week. She is both mentally and physically exhausted. My older daughter took exams in under the modular scheme given her 14 exams which she found stressful enough! For young people to complete 22 exams in one go seems borderline insane. If Gove wants to reform GCSEs he needs to look at the whole exam not just when you take the exam. I think he needs to try 22 exams in five weeks to see how he fairs!

sausagedog12 Mon 09-Jun-14 14:54:25

Not got problem with this myself having done 10 O levels all in the same time period with 3 hour long papers. No controlled assessments to bump up your marks.Everything was counting on those exams, didn't have internet,study aids at fingertips, had to just get on with it best we could. I think they have got it pretty easy these days but that is my opinion.

sausagedog12 Mon 09-Jun-14 14:55:43

I may add though that the coming in for revision during these exams is ridiculous and time consuming.

creamteas Mon 09-Jun-14 18:27:44

Not got problem with this myself having done 10 O levels all in the same time period

I also did O levels, but there were a lot less papers per subject. That is because they were designed to be linear rather than modular. Gove is too stupid to realise that moving all the exams to the end does not make it linear assessment.

When the new GCSEs come on board which are designed to be taken at the end, it should be better for pupils. The current cohort have been shat on, and there is no other way to describe it.

bronya Mon 09-Jun-14 18:35:21

I did more than that together, in the '90s. I don't remember it being an issue at all. My friend's DD is doing her GCSEs this year, and other than on one occasion, has always had half a day between exams to revise for the next one (or an evening, with a half day after the next exam). The amount needed to learn isn't that much (you could learn it in a couple of hours - 4 max) so seems fine to me. And I've been helping with the revision for the subjects I know, so I have a good idea of how much they need to learn!

I remember taking A-levels as one series of exams at the end, too, with no retakes. Personally, I think that's less stressful as you get two full years to learn the stuff, then revise and sit the exams. Good preparation for finals too, for those aiming for Uni.

13Stitches Mon 09-Jun-14 18:44:15

Whether it is more or less than people have previously done is irrelevant.

I think it is too much. I've just some a revision session with a small group of dedicated yr11s who were almost incoherent with exhaustion. They we're there because they felt they should be, but in no fit state to revise after weeks of exams.

creamteas point about shoving all the module exams to the end is spot on. Linear courses should be examined in a more coherent way. And hopefully they will be (it remains to be seen).

The government have really messed up the last few cohorts. (With the reactive, rushed and poorly thought out changes) How has this been allowed to happen?

13Stitches Mon 09-Jun-14 18:45:36

^"The amount needed to learn isn't that much">

You are sadly mistaken. GCSE's don't take 2 years for nothing.

13Stitches Mon 09-Jun-14 18:45:50

<italics fail>

ThreeLannistersOneTargaryen Mon 09-Jun-14 18:47:14

DS1 started his GCSE courses last week. In the May/June of 2016 he'll be sitting 24 exams. It does seem a bit much.

AllsFair Mon 09-Jun-14 18:49:28

It is supposed to be hard, that is what makes the grades reliable. Spreading them out makes it too easy, and the high grades are worth less.

Another one who did O levels, far longer papers, far more exams taken together, a relevant experience for a levels, degree, job, etc.

PurpleBoot Mon 09-Jun-14 18:50:27

the amount needed to learn isn't that much

I agree with 13Stitches, this is nonsense! Have you seen GCSE History recently?

ISingSoprano Mon 09-Jun-14 18:50:42

Yep, my dd also has 22 exams spread over six weeks. She has been great about revising and is keen to do well but to be honest she is bored and tired with the whole process now. It all feels too strung out and I agree that the process feels poorly thought out.

TeenAndTween Mon 09-Jun-14 18:51:25

The amount needed to learn isn't that much (you could learn it in a couple of hours - 4 max)

Really?? No way could I learn all DD1s American West in a couple of hours, or her Biology B1.

I do get the feeling that exams are shorter these days so it seems more (though I may be wrong on this as DD is only y10).

Apart from the fact that I only did 8 O levels (owing to my school's weird options I couldn't do 3 sciences) I don't think DD1 is really going to have more exams than I had. But she will also have had loads of controlled assessments too. e.g. I know I had 2 physics and 2 chemistry, 3 for French if you include the oral, etc.

The main problem I think is that younger parents haven't been through the terminal exam system so it seems like loads to them.

ISingSoprano Mon 09-Jun-14 19:03:17

Well, I did O Levels in the 1980's and I don't remember the exam period being sooooo long and I am fairly certain I didn't do 22 separate exams for my 9 O levels.

I also know I could not learn DDs entire Biology syllabus in four hours.

bronya Mon 09-Jun-14 19:04:33

We did Textiles in 3 hours, ICT in two, Biology in two... Then did a past paper each. That was with revision guides though!

RaspberryLemonPavlova Mon 09-Jun-14 20:38:58

When I did O'levels in the 1980s, we had mostly finished the courses by Christmas, did mocks in January and spent the rest of the time revising.

We hadn't spent months trying to finish coursework, and only finish the course in some cases in the last lesson.

My DS is also going through the long-haul of the exams now. There is no way there is 4 hours of learning for each subject, I think its quite insulting to suggest that.

It will be even worse for DD in 2 years.

lljkk Mon 09-Jun-14 21:58:20

4 months of revising?! Really Raspberry?

Gawd that sounds horrific. I don't think I ever studied more than a full day for anything (different education system).

titchy Mon 09-Jun-14 22:06:21

Presumably bronya that was with two years of 3-4 hours a week being taught the subject, having in class tests, homework etc. you're not seriously suggesting someone could spend four hours learning a brand new subject and then get decent grade?

TalkinPeace Mon 09-Jun-14 22:20:11

DD is doing 28 exams spread from 13th May to 20th June (with Half term in the middle there)
THe current year 10s are doing less subjects
the current year 9s less again

so the number of exams will revert back to how it was before modular exams were invented

bronya Tue 10-Jun-14 06:26:07

Of course titchy, but then it is usual to have studied the course for the exam in school/at home (if home ed) before taking it!

Unfortunately for me, I had to learn one of the subjects from scratch then teach it, as there'd been a succession of different teachers and a lot of the course material hadn't been covered (which friend's DD discovered when doing past papers at home!). That was rather interesting to be sure, took me a couple of evenings and then I had to explain it before she could learn it. Luckily for an adult, that particular GCSE is mostly covered by common sense/life experience, so I didn't have too much to figure out!!

ishouldcocoa Tue 10-Jun-14 06:32:34

I agree with the length of time over which the exams are spread out. DS has been taking GCSEs (if you count French Aural) for over 2 months. He still has a week to go and 6 papers. He's fed up and exhausted by the whole thing. It didn't help having over 2 weeks off in the middle.

It's so hard to keep up the impetus for them.

spongeypop Tue 10-Jun-14 08:40:07

There is more content in modern exams and more subjects.

My DD is doing 23 exams thats over 30 hours of tests; not including all the other controlled assessments and GCSEs she sat in year 10

Our children have way more pressure than we ever did.

13Stitches Tue 10-Jun-14 17:44:45

Yes to more content - the science GCSEs contain stuff that would have been on the A level, as well as all the new science since the O level days.

And from next year, your KS3 children will be learning much of what's on the current GCSEs, then in KS4 they'll study a significant amount that's on the current A level.

It shifts right down to KS2 (I've no idea about KS1). Is an alarming amount of abstract content that most teenagers struggle to comprehend (due to the development of the brain).

chart53 Tue 10-Jun-14 22:02:58

I agree it is not the exam itself whether O`levels or GCSEs are harder or easier - it is the relentless number of tests- the constant stress of yet another exam - day after day. DD has had an exam every day for weeks on end. She is a sensible girl and not one for a drama - but half way through the exams she started trembling for no reason ..doctor thought it was due to stress. She is 16 years old ... why would we want to put any young person through this. By this Sunday when she collapsed in tears from exhaustion because she could not remember any of the maths she had spent hours revising the week before, I said enough is enough.... we went the see the animals in the park instead.. hang the exams! My older did GCSEs last year and it wasn`t like this.

MissScatterbrain Thu 12-Jun-14 08:42:54

My DC's experience of GCSEs has been an eye opener for us.

Not only are CAs adding to the pressure, the content is broader and more in depth compared with O levels and I was surprised to see stuff that we covered for my A levels.

With O levels, there was usually one paper for each subject, not two or three and these were over in a few weeks, not months.

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