As we get closer and closer to the freedom of the summer months, the holidays are still a distant dream for the many 17 and 18 year olds taking public exams this May and June. For many Year 13 students, a process over two years in the making will culminate this summer, with the results determining where students will go to university.

In the next few weeks there will be a mass scramble for coffee and revision guides as students everywhere attempt to consolidate hours and hours of work in time for five or six exams.

As a Year 12 student, thankfully my final exams are over a year away. However, this summer will mark one year until the first exams for the new A levels. For those who don’t know, for many core subjects such as English, Chemistry and Physics, the AS qualifications will have
no influence on the final A level grade, which will be based solely on exams or coursework completed in the second year. Despite this, schools like mine, are still making their students take them in hope of preparing us for the real things. It is a surreal experience to be the ‘guinea pigs’ for such a huge change that could lead to a huge number
of retakes after Year 13. This could make it harder for some students to get into university or could lead to an increase in the acceptance of students to top universities as grades are now worth ‘more’.

The importance of the exams will add an extra layer of pressure and expectation to already stressed and lethargic teenagers.

In the past, you could ‘mess up’ your AS and redeem yourself at A level. However it seems that students don’t have that luxury now, something which scares a lot of young people. For the next year and a half, revision and testing is a leap into the dark as only on
results day will you know if it paid off. Good luck to all those completing their A levels this
summer and to those in Year 12, see you in August 2017.

Samara Roach-Keiler, 17