Have your say: Changes announced to 2021 GCSEs and A-levels

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tam13
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Becca216
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I have just finished Year 12 and I am studying Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Geography. So I am on of few alevel students who the new changes actually(kind of) effect.

The changes they have made to geography I am not surprised about, many schools had their field trips cancelled due to the virus, my school got sent home while on our field trip back in March due to a student developing covid symptoms (this was the week before the full lockdown), so although I have done some field work I haven’t completed all that is required so it is kind of a relief to hear that we don’t have to go out again. The big downside to the announcement is that coursework hasn’t been cancelled- for many students, especially those doing human geography, coursework requires interacting with people and finding out their opinions, which is obviously not possible at the minute. I know there’s ways around it and I know ofqual have asked exam boards ‘to be mindful about missing primary data’ but it just makes the situation quite difficult.....

In regards to basically no other changes being made to alevel I would say I’m disappointed but at the same time not surprised. think many students are annoyed especially due to the inequality created (some students having full zoom classes, others not even having access to the internet) but also due to the negative impact it has had on so many peoples mental health.

I do think changes could still happen, in fact if there is a second wave I think changes will have to happen, but with exams being 10 months away who knows what position the world will be in by then....


To all the year 10s that don’t have to do poetry/other English texts.....you lucky people, I am very jealous as I did absolutely awful on the poetry when I did my exams :lol:
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Hermione23
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I'm sorry, well actually not really, but basically A-Levels haven't been effected or helped in any way. Considering I would've thought they are more important then GCSEs as they actually get us to Uni and therefore start careers etc. I think its ridiculous that they haven't came up with anything for those that have been disadvantaged. For example I am in year 12 going into year 13, I have a little brother whom because of his additional needs, my family have had to shield since MARCH and I'm classed as a carer for him. I love him very much but trying to do 3 A-levels whilst he is always around and my family is very exhausted is almost impossible. Not to mention the effect that staying in the house for just over 5 months can do to your mental health. I'm beyond disappointed.
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Misty369
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I am an A-level student taking Geography, Design and technology, and psychology so there are minor changes to geography and dt but not psychology. The changes are definitely not enough to ensure I get a good grade on my exams.
Another problem is the fact that I am doing the cambridge international course for geography which is (to my knowledge) the only exam board that still does the AS - A2 split so I'm due to take my AS exam in November, and i am no where near ready. The teaching has certainly been slacking (which would be understandable if all of my teachers were doing this but the rest have been fine except for one Geography teacher).
Has anyone else had this problem too and how are you trying to teach yourself the course in time- any suggestions would be helpful!
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5hyl33n
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I take Chemistry, Physics and Psychology and I don't see any change for the STEM subjects.
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Geraldthegoat
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Yeah I don’t think A-levels have been helped at all regarding minimising the content or making the exam’s shorter etc so I expect the grade boundaries to be low. If not I will rage I stg. Not being funny but GCSE year 10 can write and learn the content in the matter of months, it takes a few days just to write the revision cards for a science. Whereas, A- level content takes me a week sometimes to write out my revision cards just for one topic. I don’t get how they can leave us like this tbh, it’s quite shocking. Not to mention that the A-level courses are rushed whereas GCSE have revision lessons a few months before GCSE just to revise in class we don’t.
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Misty369
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(Original post by Geraldthegoat)
Yeah I don’t think A-levels have been helped at all regarding minimising the content or making the exam’s shorter etc so I expect the grade boundaries to be low. If not I will rage I stg. Not being funny but GCSE year 10 can write and learn the content in the matter of months, it takes a few days just to write the revision cards for a science. Whereas, A- level content takes me a week sometimes to write out my revision cards just for one topic. I don’t get how they can leave us like this tbh, it’s quite shocking. Not to mention that the A-level courses are rushed whereas GCSE have revision lessons a few months before GCSE just to revise in class we don’t.
I'm really not looking forward to how stressful next year is going to be as a result. This year has been hard enough before the virus and people say it gets worse in year 13- I don't expect we will do as well as we could have and potentially not get the grades we need for university because I sure am not going to get an A of higher in geography if i keep going at this rate
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Aminah T
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(Original post by Hermione23)
I'm sorry, well actually not really, but basically A-Levels haven't been effected or helped in any way. Considering I would've thought they are more important then GCSEs as they actually get us to Uni and therefore start careers etc. I think its ridiculous that they haven't came up with anything for those that have been disadvantaged. Not to mention the effect that staying in the house for just over 5 months can do to your mental health. I'm beyond disappointed.
I agree. It's ridiculous how they are not proposing any changes to A-Levels, which are more difficult than GCSEs :facepalm:. Plus, people who come from disadvantaged backgrounds are going to be affected the most.
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5hyl33n
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I was thinking of making a thread where we could post resources made by ourselves and from the Internet and share them with each other... I might make the thread if a lot of people request it.
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Becca216
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(Original post by 5hyl33n)
I was thinking of making a thread where we could post resources made by ourselves and from the Internet and share them with each other... I might make the thread if a lot of people request it.
I am happy to help find/make resources if you want, every little helps I guess.

(Please can you tag me if you do )
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username5142258
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(Original post by Geraldthegoat)
Yeah I don’t think A-levels have been helped at all regarding minimising the content or making the exam’s shorter etc so I expect the grade boundaries to be low. If not I will rage I stg. Not being funny but GCSE year 10 can write and learn the content in the matter of months, it takes a few days just to write the revision cards for a science. Whereas, A- level content takes me a week sometimes to write out my revision cards just for one topic. I don’t get how they can leave us like this tbh, it’s quite shocking. Not to mention that the A-level courses are rushed whereas GCSE have revision lessons a few months before GCSE just to revise in class we don’t.
well the thing with GCSE is that they have a lot more subjects to learn than A-level so maybe that is why they may have reduced the amount of work for them? However, I think it’s shocking that they expect A-level students to be able to do the exams almost as normal. It’s been just under half the school year’s worth of work that they’ve missed and there’s barely any change. I hope they continue to discuss the matter and actually take proper actions because pushing the exams back by a few weeks is nothing compared to the time that’s been lost.

Edit: sorry, I didn’t mean that I thought GCSE had more content, just that at face value, the list of subjects is longer than A-Levels. And that it wasn’t my opinion, just a possible reasoning as to why they’ve only made changes to GCSE’s so far. I can’t imagine what it must be like to do your A-Levels in a situation like this, so I’m really sorry if I offended anyone.
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Becca216
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(Original post by Hannah.xxxx)
well the thing with GCSE is that they have a lot more subjects to learn than A-level so that is why they may have reduced the amount of work for them. However, I think it’s absolutely appalling that they expect both GCSE and A-level students to be able to do the exams almost as normal. It’s been just under half the school year’s worth of work that we’ve missed and there’s barely any change. I hope they continue to discuss the matter and actually take proper actions because pushing the exams back by a few weeks is nothing compared to the time we’ve lost.
It’s alright saying you do more subjects at gcse, but you go into a lot more detail at alevel so overall, although you do less subjects there is probable more content at alevel (especially if you do 4 alevels)
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Geraldthegoat
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(Original post by Hannah.xxxx)
well the thing with GCSE is that they have a lot more subjects to learn than A-level so that is why they may have reduced the amount of work for them. However, I think it’s absolutely appalling that they expect both GCSE and A-level students to be able to do the exams almost as normal. It’s been just under half the school year’s worth of work that we’ve missed and there’s barely any change. I hope they continue to discuss the matter and actually take proper actions because pushing the exams back by a few weeks is nothing compared to the time we’ve lost.
Yeah but the content isn’t as hard or takes as long to learn compared to our subjects.
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MilkyWay_236
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(Original post by Hannah.xxxx)
well the thing with GCSE is that they have a lot more subjects to learn than A-level so that is why they may have reduced the amount of work for them. However, I think it’s absolutely appalling that they expect both GCSE and A-level students to be able to do the exams almost as normal. It’s been just under half the school year’s worth of work that we’ve missed and there’s barely any change. I hope they continue to discuss the matter and actually take proper actions because pushing the exams back by a few weeks is nothing compared to the time we’ve lost.
Hannah, are you going on to year 13 next year? I am asking out of curiosity because it seems like you don't really know how much content there is for A levels. All the concepts for GCSE subjects are mostly simple. Even though there are more subjects, the content overall for A level is much greater than GCSE, and more difficult to grasp. So the fact that the gov expects us to continue with exams as normal, after missing 4-5 months of school time, is very ridiculous. Especially as A levels have a big impact on our university entrances and careers in general. I hope you understand where I am coming from
I am glad that they did stuff for year 10s, but that doesn't really help me tbh
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username5142258
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(Original post by smuntaha)
Hannah, are you going on to year 13 next year? I am asking out of curiosity because it seems like you don't really know how much content there is for A levels. All the concepts for GCSE subjects are mostly simple. Even though there are more subjects, the content overall for A level is much greater than GCSE, and more difficult to grasp. So the fact that the gov expects us to continue with exams as normal, after missing 4-5 months of school time, is very ridiculous. Especially as A levels have a big impact on our university entrances and careers in general. I hope you understand where I am coming from
I am glad that they did stuff for year 10s, but that doesn't really help me tbh
I’m so sorry, I don’t think I made myself very clear in my post. I didn’t mean to say GCSE was comparable to A-level in terms of actual content or difficulty. I just meant that to look at face value, the list of subjects for GCSE is longer than A-Level that’s all. Not that the amount of work for GCSE was the same. Reading it back now, it does come across as quite condescending. To answer your question though, yes I will only just be going into Y11 this year, as my lack of knowledge about A-levels has proven. But my brother will be going into Y13, so knowing how difficult it has been on him, I really am sorry if it came off rudely x

I hope that they make some actual amendments to A-Level exams though because I agree that A-Levels carry much more importance than GCSE. Hopefully the reason they haven’t said much yet is because they’re still working on plans to reduce the content for all courses and is why they haven’t announced it yet? Good luck in your exams for next year though, I hope you do really well x
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MilkyWay_236
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(Original post by Hannah.xxxx)
I’m so sorry, I don’t think I made myself very clear in my post. I didn’t mean to say GCSE was comparable to A-level in terms of actual content or difficulty. I just meant that to look at face value, the list of subjects for GCSE is longer than A-Level that’s all. Not that the amount of work for GCSE was the same. Reading it back now, it does come across as quite condescending. To answer your question though, yes I will only just be going into Y11 this year, as my lack of knowledge about A-levels has proven. But my brother will be going into Y13, so knowing how difficult it has been on him, I really am sorry if it came off rudely x

I hope that they make some actual amendments to A-Level exams though because I agree that A-Levels carry much more importance than GCSE. Hopefully the reason they haven’t said much yet is because they’re still working on plans to reduce the content for all courses and is why they haven’t announced it yet? Good luck in your exams for next year though, I hope you do really well x
Aw you didn't come off as condescending dw And yes I am hoping that they think through with these 'changes' again. Thank you and good luck with your GCSE exams :^_^: Good luck to your brother as well!
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Disappointed that there will probably be no changes to MFL and English literature A-level exams also annoyed that A-level science practicals will still have to be completed in full. Other than that meh.
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Also what about drama and PE coursework and practicals? Same with GCSE food Tech
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Becca216
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(Original post by 1st superstar)
Also what about drama and PE coursework and practicals? Same with GCSE food Tech
I know edits have been made to drama and music - not sure what though
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(Original post by Becca216)
I know edits have been made to drama and music - not sure what though
Still nothing for PE/ sport science though... Oh well
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