How COVID-19 has affected 2021 examination period

The exam period for both GCSEs and A-levels will still go ahead in the summer despite how much covid-19 has affected the students in the UK.

With the months nearing to the examination season many students are feeling overwhelmed at how far behind they feel in their education due to all the restrictions.

A-levels and GCSE exams in wales have already been cancelled and many students from the South West feel that this is completely unfair. 

Velicia May, a year 11 student from Plymouth High School for girls said; “It fills me with complete terror knowing how close GCSEs are and how much education I have missed out on because of the coronavirus” She went on to say “it was extremely unfair because last years GCSEs were cancelled and yet they had a lot more time in school than this years year 11 class.”

There are many concerns for both the students and parents towards the exams in June, one is what will happen for those who will have to miss the exams due to having a high-risk rate. It is not undeniable that this situation surfaces every year due to there being many people having reasons to not sit their exams because of special considerations such as illness, family emergency or accidents. But, normally it would be just a few whereas this year it could be a much bigger group of teenagers. How will this affect the grades?

When taking a small survey; 93% of the year 11 students said that they were worried about the extent that Covid-19 has and will affect their grades. 

“It’s made me feel a lot more unsure on my future and the path that I can take when GCSEs are over because there’s been a lack of guidance with teachers and an uncertainty throughout the education system of what will actually happen to us in the end,” Velicia stated when asked about how her mindset has been affected throughout this.

The attendance percentage has decreased significantly for secondary scores where the BBC shared that it fell below 70% in some areas. 

Due to the local lockdowns and different restrictions, it can be argued that certain areas in England will have more of a head start than others which can then cause the final grade comparisons to be inaccurate. 

There will be a certain hardship of finding and looking at which students have had the better education, and in the future, this can affect some individuals careers as it will be a lot harder to distinguish who had the upper hand in learning and who has not. 

Velicia gave her insight into what she thinks should happen instead for the exams, “I honestly think that the government should cancel GCSEs and make our results go by our mocks and what we have been doing in class, but even then we were out of school a lot before the mocks.” 


When talking to the parent of a year 11, she reflected that one of the biggest issues that herself and others had towards this entire situation was the lack of work, help and education her children and others got. She stated “My daughter missed a lot of classes, especially when someone in her year or around her year tested positive and it would lead to my daughter having to take more weeks out of class. On top of that, online learning was not helpful at all-the teachers lacked the enthusiasm and reduced the amount of teaching and instead just gave them a tonne of work to complete on their own”.

In a local survey in Plymouth, it was redeemed that 74% of parents felt that their children did not get the amount of education and help that they should have been entitled to. The main enquiry and fear that surrounds England’s students are just how far behind the restrictions will make them and how that will eventually impact their exams in the upcoming summer.

Velicia reflects more on this idea of online learning and isolation; “The main issue I find myself having is the lack of motivation that comes with being out of school, I find that when I’m not being involved in a lesson with the class- I struggle to continue on my own.” She continues by saying how it has not only affected her workload and learning but also has made a negative impact on her mental health.

In 2020 a poll was made by YM where they showed their statistics of how mental health affected students. 

“69% of respondents described their mental health as poor now that they are back at school; this has risen from 58% who described their mental health as poor before returning to school.

40% of respondents said that there was no school counsellor available to support students in their school

Only 27% had had a one-to-one conversation with a teacher or another member of staff in which they were asked about their wellbeing, by the time they completed the survey.

Almost a quarter of respondents (23%) said that there was less mental health support in their school than before the pandemic, while only 9% agreed that there was more mental health support.”

When mental health drops in students in can cause a decrease in energy levels along with their concentration and positive outlook which all three is needed in these important years. Covid-19 has affected students more than most during these trying times and with the exam season coming up, their futures are dependent on the announcements and help that the government can give.

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