Everything to do with exams - Liesl’s experience of the education system

Liesl Hammer completed work experience at Archant. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Liesl Hammer completed work experience at Archant. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Local teenager Liesl Hammer writes about the trials and tribulations of exam season.

It's coming up to the end of the school year! Everyone is getting hot and tired. Teachers are waiting for a break. What better way to leave than by giving us a set of tests. Now depending on what year you, your child or your great grandchild is in, it can have a massive impact on the importance of these tests.

I have just finished year 11 which means I've done my GCSE's which was pretty scary as we had been building up to this point for three years! I guess it depends what kind of student you are as to how much pressure you were under.

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Me personally, I would like to think I am a very studious person who unfortunately doesn't do as well in exams. For me this brings up the debate of whether teenagers should be tested in such a stressful way. Would it not be more appropriate and realistic to look at the progress and achievements individuals make during the two or three years of GCSE rather then basing everything off one day?

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One of the hardest things my year had to deal with was the new specification. The dreaded one to nine! The good thing was that the teachers were even more scared of them then we were which enabled us to have some of the best teachers. I am in no way a grade nine student and I am absolutely not saying that the exams were great, all I'm saying is all my other friends said they were hard which must be a good sign. Right?

The biggest subject difference for the new specification was maths as all anyone wanted to do was pass it. There was also a lot of application questions which meant you had to use at least two different skills in one question. This can be useful as it is taking a more realistic approach but at the same time it was so hard as the questions were implicit.

As a result of my stammer I am entitled to 100pc extra time which is the best thing ever. I honestly have no idea how anyone completes a paper without it. Sometimes I write to the last second and don't have time to check it through. Having extra time also meant that during my exams I sometimes had to start work a bit earlier and finish late. I have a 6 hour and 30 minute day at my school and on one occasion I had an English Literature paper and a History paper each were 3 hours 30 minutes long which meant I was doing exams for 7 hours. With breaks I was at school for seven hours 50 minutes which meant I was at school from 8:30 till 17:20 which was not a fun experience. Despite all of this I still managed to get through it.

I also have a scribe which is very useful as if I wrote it myself I would probably need quadruple the time and have to write on a laptop as my writing is appalling. Luckily I was able to have my usual helpers as I was a special case as a result of my speech as normally scribes have to be from the exam board. I am very glad as there was little miscommunication. The one problem that I faced was the fact that I didn't get awarded some of the SPAG marks as obviously l can't spell out every single word. Originally the exam board wasn't going to give me any but thanks to the help of the school I managed to get max 2/3 of the marks. This was very important to me as I love English and yet I'm not that good at it so I need all the marks I could get so I can take it at A Level.

Overall, year 11 was very hard for everyone but I am sure you have all done the best you could have possibly done. I wish everyone all the best for results day and good luck to anyone who still have exams. It's almost over!

Liesl has also written about life with a disability.

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