Cancelled exams doesn’t mean we haven’t worked hard for our grades

Dewi Jones was due to sit his A levels at Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg, Llangynwyd this summer. He describes his feelings when exams were cancelled and how he’s continued to learn during lockdown.

 by Dewi Jones, Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg, Llangynwyd

This year, like many of you, I was preparing to sit my A Level exams. But as everyone is aware through the news, social media and conversations (the word “unprecedented used often) – things are happening differently this year 

I know many expected to feel relieved, daydreaming of the free time they’d have to watch TV they’d missed out on due to how hard they’d been working. 

When the news did break, it almost seemed as if this work amounted to nothing as there would be no exam to measure it. This led me to feel a twinge of guilt. Was I going to get a qualification without proving to myself that I deserved it? Would people from other years perceive me as a cheat for not doing the exams?  

But despite this being a non-traditional way of attaining the qualification, that does not invalidate it. There is a reason that these times are so often referred to as “unprecedented” after all. 

What it took me a while to realise was that the exam itself is only one metric of how “deserving” someone is of the qualification. It’s important to remember that often people don’t perform to the top of their ability during exams and so this doesn’t always reflect how “deserving” someone is of the qualification either. 

No system is perfect and the fact that we are being assessed differently does not change how hard we worked this year and throughout our time in school. 

In fact, the cancelling of exams has enabled me to explore my subjects more freely, outside of the curriculum. For example, I’ve been watching the videos provided by the Further Maths Support Programme Wales. These were made for year 13 students aiming to study a maths related subject in university to help bridge the gap through interesting and fun scenarios ranging from Maths and Art to Zombies.  

The thing that’s most important to me in all of this, however, is that my situation is a lucky one in the scale of things. Yes, it is unfortunate that I will be missing out on some of the experiences traditionally enjoyed by Year 13 as they move away from school. Yet, in these uncertain times at least, I’ve had much more certainty than many others. 

Published 3 July 2020