Today my teenager completed his penultimate GCSE exam. Exam number 23 out of 24, with his final exam being taken next Wednesday. 24 exams between the 14th May and the 20th June, 24 exams to revise for, 24 exams to feel anxious over, 24 times to walk into the school hall under exam conditions, and to remember everything you have been taught over the past 3 years.
I remember looking at the exam timetable a few months ago. I naively thought that the 2 page document in my hand was every single GCSE, not just the ones my son would be taking. But no, this 2 page document was my sons GCSE timetable, all 24 exams staring back at me. And this timetable has dominated our fridge for the past month, ticking off every exam as they happen. And he is down to the last one. Film Studies that will take place next week.
Now I know I did my GCSEs a very long time ago, but I don’t remember doing this many exams. Morgan decided to take combined Science as it’s not his favourite subject (let’s not talk about the fact that his Dad is a Scientist). You would think he would sit 2 or 3 papers for combined science, but he sat 6 separate exams, just for 1 subject. Just writing this down makes my brain hurt. I struggle to remember what I go upstairs for, never mind taking in information for the vast amount of subjects he has studied.
And it’s not just the exams. There have been countless hours of coursework for subjects such as PE and Business Studies.
There is no denying that year 11 is a tough year, and I salute every single student who is coming to the end of their GCSE journey. I am proud of my son for how he has handled the pressure of the past month. He has been incredibly self motivated, getting the balance just right between revision, seeing friends, and of course playing Fortnite. But a few days ago he hit a wall of exhaustion, and he felt he couldn’t carry on. This is what 24 exams does to our teenagers, and thankfully he smashed his wall of exhaustion by taking a step back from revision for the evening.
On Wednesday when the final exam is over, the words GCSEs, revision, exams, coursework, will be banned from our house. Well until the 23rd August when it’s results day. Onwards and upwards to an amazing summer of fun, our teenagers deserve it.