What it’s Really Been Like for GCSE Students in Lockdown

We asked Sophie, a GCSE student to tell us what it’s really been like over the last few months. Here’s what she had to say –

Wow what a whirlwind of a last six months. As a year 11 student I have experienced an extremely mixed bag of emotions. It all kicked off in March after hearing the news that secondary schools were to be closing and all our learning would be taken online. This left me and my fellow classmates having our so called ‘epic’ year cut extremely short and missing out on so many things. Although I think we all didn’t really realise how much this would impact on us as GCSE students at the time. It really has made a massive impact on our school experience. 

It’s been incredibly weird to go from spending every day surrounded by your friends and then go for months without seeing any of them in person, for me that’s been very hard. As well as the isolation from the people you spend most of your time with it’s also been challenging having to spend ALL my time with my family. I’d be lying if I said that it had all been sunshine and rainbows. I know from talking to my friends that we’ve all struggled with this.

GCSE learning moves online

As for my learning, once it had all gone online we did a couple of weeks of GCSE work. Once we knew that none of our exams were going ahead we started being taught work that related to the subjects we wanted to take for A-levels. Or, if we weren’t planning on staying for sixth form, students worked on content that related to what they were planning on studying. For me that meant starting the biology syllabus and joining in with my teacher’s weekly Kahoot! sessions which were always good fun. For my other subjects I started doing work to help bridge the gap between GCSE and A-level to make the transition in September a lot easier. Our school also put on Saturday morning quizzes every week. These became known as “the big quiz” and were brilliant fun and a great way to still stay connected within the school community.

exams for GCSE

GCSE exams cancelled

I want to take a moment to talk about some of the things we as the 2020 year 11 class have missed out on. Although most of them seem like small and silly things to be disappointed about, considering were in the midst of a global pandemic, I still think they are worth mentioning. The first and arguably the biggest thing being that we DIDN’T take our GCSE exams. Like many, I’m not upset about missing out on the immense stress and pressure surrounding the exams. But, more of the feeling of stepping out of the exam hall after taking my last exam and knowing that it is all over, that all the work is done. The other big thing that our year missed out on was our year 11 prom. Something that we’d all been looking forward to and taking about for years.

Finally I wanted to mention what it will be like for students to go back to school in September and how I and many of my peers are feeling about it. As everyone must be feeling as things start to go back to ‘normal’ it’s very strange and I think it will take a bit of time for us to get used to things again as we’ve all gotten so used to a completely different pace of life. 

We will check in with Sophie again in a couple of weeks to find out what it’s been like to return to school!