Unless there is the sudden emergence of a new Covid variant of concern leading to a snap lockdown and cancellation, it is safe to say that GCSE and A Level exams will take place in summer 2022 almost as normal.
After two years of disrupted education and examinations this may seem daunting. However, knowing what is planned will help you prepare, both academically and emotionally, for the summer exams ahead, and enable you to give of your best.
The most important thing to consider is that the exam boards are fully aware and sympathetic over how disruptive the past two years have been for students.
The grade boundaries are likely to be lower to take potential gaps in learning and study into account, and will be set at a mid-point between the grade boundaries achieved in the last set of full face-to-face exams in 2019, and the teacher assessed grades in 2020-2021.
Advance Content Information
Earlier in 2022, exam boards released information on what content will be examined in this year’s exams, including A Levels.
Whilst they haven’t released so much information that you could memorise answers, the exam boards have done this with an awareness of students having fallen back in their revision skills as well as their exam taking skills.
Knowing what the questions are going to cover will help you structure your revision and help you rebuild this skill – something you will need in your university life and for any professional qualifications you might take in the future.
In addition to advance notice of what the exams will cover, you will also be able to take additional support materials into your exam in 2022. These will include formulae and equation sheets for maths and sciences.
Of course, subjects that are assessed through coursework will be examined as normal, with no advance information supplied.
Aside from the help from the exam boards, you may feel you need support in what to expect from taking an exam.
For many of you, you will have missed out on your GCSEs in 2020, your AS Levels in 2021, and now be fretting about whether you can sustain the concentration required for taking not just one exam, but several papers for each subject.
The first rule is, don’t panic – you can structure long question-answering sessions into your revision. Make use of apps and timers to guide your focus, and practice studying in a silent environment to mimic the exam conditions.
Check beforehand which aids you are allowed to take into the exam with you, and check also with your school SENCO if you have additional needs which may expand the help available to you.
Even if you can’t sleep well the night before, make sure you rest – extra cramming is unlikely to go in at this point! – and eat and drink before your exams.
And remember; exams are very rarely a one-shot and done event. If you don’t achieve the grades you expect or need, take some time out, resit your exams, and try again.