The Student Room Group

A levels should be cancelled.

Students mental health is getting really bad and we are all under a lot of pressure including our teachers. there is too much to study and revise for as we missed 3 whole months of education. Students and Teachers are having nervous breakdowns and it is really stressful. Wales, Northern Ireland etc have all decided to cancel a level and gcse exams in the upcoming year. It should be done in London iswell as we are also stressed and we’ve missed out on a lot of education. There is a ridiculous amount of loss of work that we won’t get back.


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(edited 3 years ago)

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I completely agree, having had to take ANOTHER year out, and not being able to prove myself in written exams was horrible. I wouldn't want anyone to go through it.

I can imagine the amount of work students have done for these exams and cancelling them for another year would be disastrous!
cancel the exams pls
Nah sorry, need to do a lot better than 'cancel stuff!' without any proposed alternative.

TBH I'm biased, up in Scotland we've had lecturer strikes every year for years, so you get quite used to being pretty self sufficient and not overreacting to the various institutional freakouts.
Original post by sumiizx
Students mental health is getting really bad and we are all under a lot of pressure including our teachers. there is too much to study and revise for as we missed 3 whole months of education. Students and Teachers are having nervous breakdowns and it is really stressful. Wales, Northern Ireland etc have all decided to cancel a level and gcse exams in the upcoming year. It should be done in London iswell as we are also stressed and we’ve missed out on a lot of education. There is a ridiculous amount of loss of work that we won’t get back.

No, they must not be cancelled. Why haven't you self-studied? Why do you "deserve" a qualification if you haven't reached the required level? How can you continue to study in higher education without having completed the previous level?

There's no doubt that these are difficult times, but we can't reduce standards - Doctors, Engineers, etc, still need to know what they're doing.
(edited 3 years ago)
As somebody who has actually dealt with very poor mental health (and who still isn't great) I have a lot of empathy with everyone who is struggling right now, from all walks of life.

However, this whole 'let's use poor mental health' as an excuse whenever the going gets a little bit tough is starting to wear thin. Life isn't stress free, and life isn't fair. I think a lot of people really need to work on their resilience issues when it comes to things like this.

Cancelling exams won't help you. Yeah you might not have 'mental health' struggles if you don't want to sit your exams, but you will end up being stressed out when you get to university (or whatever you plan to do next) and haven't got a clue what you are doing because you didn't have to do any actual work to get there. Look at the mess that happened this year, there are thousands of students across the country who got onto courses they probably wouldn't have in normal times, will probably struggle, and eventually drop out. Do you think this is good for their mental health or stress levels?

No I'm not going to be one of those people who says going to school is useless and we can all teach ourselves. There's a lot more to school (and university) than just the education aspect. Nonetheless, it's your life and your future. If you feel you're not getting the teaching you need, show some motivation and start self-teaching yourself. Motivating yourself and not expecting spoon-feeding is another life skill people seem to lack.
(edited 3 years ago)
I see both points of view and remain relatively neutral given I'm a uni student so am not taking a-levels or gcse's this year - however I do agree with this statement.

If you continue to cancel exams, where does it end? We don't know how long this crazy period will last, we need some form of assessment eventually.
Original post by sumiizx
Students mental health is getting really bad and we are all under a lot of pressure including our teachers. there is too much to study and revise for as we missed 3 whole months of education. Students and Teachers are having nervous breakdowns and it is really stressful. Wales, Northern Ireland etc have all decided to cancel a level and gcse exams in the upcoming year. It should be done in London iswell as we are also stressed and we’ve missed out on a lot of education. There is a ridiculous amount of loss of work that we won’t get back.


No - I'm a teacher and it's not that bad. I know a lot of other teachers and you are over stating the issue. Why did you miss three months of education; didn't you do the work you were set? We taught online [state school] and we are where we should be at the moment.
Original post by Ramipril
As somebody who has actually dealt with very poor mental health (and who still isn't great) I have a lot of empathy with everyone who is struggling right now, from all walks of life.

However, this whole 'let's use poor mental health' as an excuse whenever the going gets a little bit tough is starting to wear thin. Life isn't stress free, and life isn't fair. I think a lot of people really need to work on their resilience issues when it comes to things like this.

Cancelling exams won't help you. Yeah you might not have 'mental health' struggles if you don't want to sit your exams, but you will end up being stressed out when you get to university (or whatever you plan to do next) and haven't got a clue what you are doing because you didn't have to do any actual work to get there. Look at the mess that happened this year, there are thousands of students across the country who got onto courses they probably wouldn't have in normal times, will probably struggle, and eventually drop out. Do you think this is good for their mental health or stress levels?

No I'm not going to be one of those people who says going to school is useless and we can all teach ourselves. There's a lot more to school (and university) than just the education aspect. Nonetheless, it's your life and your future. If you feel you're not getting the teaching you need, show some motivation and start self-teaching yourself. Motivating yourself and not expecting spoon-feeding is another life skill people seem to lack.


100000% Agree, as someone who was given grades they weren’t happy with last year and the uncertainty aspect with it, it isn’t a good situation to be in.
One poor mock grade and that could result in your whole grade dropping snd you missing out on a uni choice. It’s much better to be in control of your situation.
I think the best choice is for Exams to be shortened in content going forward but not outright cancelled.
Original post by Uzair63
100000% Agree, as someone who was given grades they weren’t happy with last year and the uncertainty aspect with it, it isn’t a good situation to be in.
One poor mock grade and that could result in your whole grade dropping snd you missing out on a uni choice. It’s much better to be in control of your situation.
I think the best choice is for Exams to be shortened in content going forward but not outright cancelled.

How could your fairly cut content? There's no set order to teach the specification in ...what if I've already taught that section?
Original post by Ramipril
However, this whole 'let's use poor mental health' as an excuse whenever the going gets a little bit tough is starting to wear thin. Life isn't stress free, and life isn't fair. I think a lot of people really need to work on their resilience issues when it comes to things like this.

Totally agree, TBH i'm terms of mental health awareness I think the pendulum has swung a touch too far and it's become almost a sacred cow not to be questioned. I also feel that increased openness about mental health should come with increased self responsibility for treatment, too often I seem to hear 'I can't do x, I have anxiety', 'what treatment do you get?' 'oh nothing, doctors can't help me '

One of my last big uni exams was quite telling, less than 1/4 of the class actually sat the exam normally, the other 3/4 all either had side desks with laptops or private quiet rooms to themselves and it all just felt a bit preposterous. I'm aware of the possibility of unfairly judging and invisible disabilities and stuff, but come on! the vast majority of these people seemed quite capable sitting in crowded rooms using pens and paper when it suited them, something is not quite right here.
Original post by Muttley79
How could your fairly cut content? There's no set order to teach the specification in ...what if I've already taught that section?


I mean just speaking from the way I’ve been taught, paper 3 content for Biology and Chemistry wasn’t taught till much later in the year so maybe, those papers could just be integrated into the other 2 papers.
Also for Maths, instead of 2 separate pure papers how about just 1 bigger one eg of 150 marks
Original post by Muttley79
No - I'm a teacher and it's not that bad. I know a lot of other teachers and you are over stating the issue. Why did you miss three months of education; didn't you do the work you were set? We taught online [state school] and we are where we should be at the moment.


Yes its great that your school was able to set up online lessons quickly but other schools are not so fortunate. Also, each school is going to be in face to face education - which is a lot more effective than online lessons - for a different length of time so it is unfair for everyone to receive a standardised test when not everyone will be in their educational setting for the required 190 days.
Original post by Muttley79
How could your fairly cut content? There's no set order to teach the specification in ...what if I've already taught that section?

You could have on some of the questions that are typically taught at the end of the year an option to do one of the questions and the other question will not be taken into account. For example, The last question on paper 2 could be a choice between reaction rates and equilibrium OR analysis
Original post by tltom2601
Yes its great that your school was able to set up online lessons quickly but other schools are not so fortunate. Also, each school is going to be in face to face education - which is a lot more effective than online lessons - for a different length of time so it is unfair for everyone to receive a standardised test when not everyone will be in their educational setting for the required 190 days.

What has "unfair" got to do with a qualification attesting to your level of ability? If you don't have the ability, you shouldn't get the qualification.
Original post by RogerOxon
What has "unfair" got to do with a qualification attesting to your level of ability? If you don't have the ability, you shouldn't get the qualification.i

I didn't say that the qualification being due to your ability was unfair, what I was saying is if schools go on lockdown several times - where each lockdown constitutes over 5% of the teaching for that year - then the ability of the student doesn't matter if they don't have access to teachers either in person or online, like in my school where we did not get any work set or communication from teachers for the first month of lockdown. Are you telling me that me and someone who had online lessons and constant support from teachers are in the same place?
Original post by tltom2601
Yes its great that your school was able to set up online lessons quickly but other schools are not so fortunate. Also, each school is going to be in face to face education - which is a lot more effective than online lessons - for a different length of time so it is unfair for everyone to receive a standardised test when not everyone will be in their educational setting for the required 190 days.


Proof that online is ineffective please? I know my students progress is where it should be ... how long does an online platform take to set up? Work could be set anyway and was!
Original post by Muttley79
Proof that online is ineffective please? I know my students progress is where it should be ... how long does an online platform take to set up? Work could be set anyway and was!

You don't speak for all teachers and students everywhere. To say "I'm doing fine, therefore every other student must be" is pretty poor logic. Some schools have funding issues, some schools have fewer teachers, some schools have teachers constantly self-isolating, some schools have lazy teachers. I need say no more.
Reply 18
Original post by Muttley79
Proof that online is ineffective please? I know my students progress is where it should be ... how long does an online platform take to set up? Work could be set anyway and was!


You sound very privileged what about students who can’t work from home didn’t have teachers or systems in place to work for them. I’m lucky that my school was on top of their work but I have friends who were left alone for 6 months or told to read a text book. In this situation a lot of people are being selfish about what is best for them but it’s what’s best for everyone exams are the fairest way but this isn’t a typical situation just be a little considerate with your comments
My opinion is that no exams will mean that the grades are not valued by employers. If you had to sit an exam for one of your A levels, and for 16 year olds, English Language and Maths GCSE, this would add credibility and allow for those who do better in exams than coursework.

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