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too many GCSEs for too long

(131 Posts)
lianath Sat 06-Jun-15 20:35:03

My son has been doing GCSE's now for at least 3 weeks and still has 8 more exams to go with his last one on 19th June. I find it cruel. I was brought up and educated in The Netherlands. We had all our exams in 2 weeks (max 2 per day). Over and done.
Does anyone agree with me that GCSEs are too many weeks of endless exams?

BrilliantDayForTheRace Sat 06-Jun-15 20:42:44

Totally! The system here is bonkers.

Too many subjects, and too many exams.

Where I was brought up you did 5 or 6 subjects and 5 or 6 exams, and I guess they took about 2 weeks.

Also we only studied them for 1 year, not 2 years.

But seeing as I don't want to move back home, guess my DC are stuck with this bonkers system smile

InstitutionCode Sat 06-Jun-15 20:55:22

I did 8 O-levels and that was because I was considered "academic". Most people at my school did 6 or 7. Most subjects had only one paper. So it wasn't always like this in UK either.

DS1 who is decidedly average academically, will do 13 GCSEs. Madness and I really worry that he'll end up not getting the magic C in any of them.

BrilliantDayForTheRace Sat 06-Jun-15 21:10:24

I think they had to get rid of 3 hour exams because some students need 25% extra time, and a 4 hour exam would be ridiculous.

But the result is this, a billion short exams.

InstitutionCode Sat 06-Jun-15 21:12:36

DS is 2 years away from CGSE. I didn't realise the exams are shorter these days. That, at least, is good for him as he is hypermobile and his hands tire easily from writing. No-one ever writes, with a pen, for 3 hours straight anymore...I'm not sure I could do it.

NotCitrus Sat 06-Jun-15 21:28:24

I found it reduced the pressure after the first couple, and the first few tended to be pretty easy ones. 10 subjects, 2-4 exams of 45min-2 hours over about 5 weeks. (1990). A-levels were 2 or 3 papers of around 2 hours over about 3 weeks then special papers - I guest there's fewer subjects to fit in.
I wouldnt change the system except I was at boarding school and not allowed to have post-exam leave until after my last paper, which bizarrely was 2 weeks after all my others and was Computer Case Study, solely about a 40-page booklet on Shropshire County Libraries. I'd pretty much memorised the bloody thing by the day of the exam!

The opposite extreme was university finals, with 70% of my whole degree riding on 7 three-hour papers in 3 1/2 days. Bloody ridiculous and we all concluded the reason men outperform women is because they have stronger finger muscles. Turned out I'm also hypermobile and couldn't write more than a few pages then.

thehumanjam Sat 06-Jun-15 21:34:38

I did 8 GCSEs. It was 2 exams for English and Maths but only 1 exam for the other subjects so in total about 10 exams. It seems that kids now to about 10 GCSEs with 2 exams per subject and 3 for science so that's over 20 exams. Way too much.

noblegiraffe Sat 06-Jun-15 21:37:32

It's not 3 exams for science, it's 6, or for those doing triple, 9.

That's because Gove declared all exams must be linear so the 9 exams which were supposed to be spread out over 2 years in modules were all shoved into the end of Y11.

caroldecker Sat 06-Jun-15 21:40:53

In the old days, 1 3 hour paper per scienec, now 3 1 hour ones - more exams but easier as only have to revise in bite-sizes.

thehumanjam Sat 06-Jun-15 22:02:27

Blimey 6 for science that's crazy!

DorothyL Sat 06-Jun-15 22:20:30

For my history and English Abitur in Germany the exam was 5 hours long, and I filled all the pages of an a4 exercise book shock

TheFirstOfHerName Sat 06-Jun-15 22:23:28

It is a bit ridiculous. DS1 will have more than 25 papers to do next May/June, not including the paper he did this year and all the controlled assessments.

Bunbaker Sat 06-Jun-15 22:27:06

This time next year DD will be sitting 18 exams!

She took history and art this year then she will do:
3 x English
2 x Maths
2 x Citizenship
9 x Science
2 x Geography

When I was sitting O levels in 1975 the exams were two and a half hours long, and A level exams were three hours long. Now the written exams are shorter.
Art GCSE was 10 hours , but split into 2, 3 and 5 hour exams

BrianButterfield Sat 06-Jun-15 22:33:22

Three-hour A-level exams are back on the new specs for teaching from September, at least in English Lit (the only spec I've actually read).

OddBoots Sat 06-Jun-15 22:41:35

InstitutionCode - my ds is in y11 and is hypermobile, 2 years ago the school moved him over to using a laptop for all his work (except maths as it didn't work very well), it has made a huge difference to him. If your ds has a diagnosis then do think about him doing this this way, I couldn't imagine my ds doing these exams by hand, he would be in so much pain and no examiner would be able to read his paper.

doglover Sat 06-Jun-15 23:24:19

My dd has:

3x Physics
3x Chemistry
3x Biology
3x History
3x RE
2x Maths
2x Eng Lit
1x Eng Lang
1x Music
1x Media
1x French


Bunbaker Sat 06-Jun-15 23:58:06

History is only two exams. DD is doing AQA history this year and had one exam last week and has one next week and that is it. I think RE is 2 exams as well.

BackforGood Sun 07-Jun-15 00:08:46

It's just because they chunk the information down into smaller chunks.
People aren't used to writing for longer periods of time anymore, so the exams are much shorter.
I actually think it's a good thing - dd, for example on had 4 short exams this week, so it gives plenty of time for relaxing revising in between. I think it would be much worse to cram them into a frenzied week or two.

welshpixie Sun 07-Jun-15 07:45:37

DD did iGCSE's 2 years ago and did 12 subjects, she had 33 individual exams of varying length. I did O'levels back in the dark ages and did 10 subjects with 11 exams, Maths was 2 papers. We worked out that we did about the same amount of exam time but just in different ways. DD said she would much rather sit 1 long paper than many small ones.
She has just sat her IB and they are much more concentrated into a short time frame, 6 subjects in 3 weeks and it is done. Despite the claims of children needing things to be dumbed down, I think we do them a great disservice, they are far more capable than they are given credit for and will rise to the challenge if they are given the chance.
Sorry rant oversmile

YoureAllABunchOfBastards Sun 07-Jun-15 07:51:00

It is only going to get worse as we go to 100% exam and all linear.

OddBoots Sun 07-Jun-15 07:52:27

My ds is doing history, he has 3x 1h15m exams as well as his controled assessment (25% each), that is Edexcel.

I don't think it is a bad thing if the exams are shorter, GCSEs are taken by a wide range of abilities, everyone needs to have a fair chance to show what they can do. The questions are still tough and when they are pretty much one a day it doesn't leave much time for revising bite size. Many of these children have been putting in hours of revision since Christmas, they are working so much harder than I or any of my school friends did.

meditrina Sun 07-Jun-15 08:13:47

It won't get 'worse' but it'll be different. It'll mean that most people will do eight or nine subjects, and will have one or two papers per subject plus the practicals and orals.

In terms of survivability if exam season, those of us who did it know it can be done.

Bunbaker Sun 07-Jun-15 08:40:43

"It is only going to get worse as we go to 100% exam and all linear."

But that's how O levels were and we had fewer exams. I'm not saying it is right, but we survived.

AuntieStella Sun 07-Jun-15 08:43:30

Isn't it the case that private schools, many of whom stuck with IGCSE throughout, have pupils who sit about 9-10 subjects? That number doesn't seem to be in any way inadequate for academic progress, nor unachievable in a single exam season.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 07-Jun-15 08:49:07

IGCSE Sciences have 3 papers, similar to the most popular "home" exam board. Two of them are taken one after the other though. So feel like one very long exam rather than two shorter ones.

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