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EDITIONS
Thursday, 6 June, 2002, 11:41 GMT 12:41 UK
'Four exams a day' nightmare
David Robinson
David Robinson warns of putting pupils under stress
Sixth formers can face up to four exams in a single day, says a head teacher.

The National Association of Head Teachers, meeting for its annual conference in Torquay, has heard complaints that pupils are facing "exam overload".

Exam overload
Lower sixth year: 5 AS-levels, with 15 exams, taken in May.
Upper sixth year: 3 A-levels, with 18 papers, taken in June. Plus AS-level re-takes.

And David Robinson, head teacher of Ullswater Community School in Penrith, Cumbria, says that the present burden of A-levels and AS-levels is "enormously stressful".

In his school, there have been cases where pupils have faced an exam timetable which has stretched from 8am to 7pm - with individual candidates taking up to four papers in a single day.

Revising for four separate subjects in this way is plainly very difficult and likely to cause stress, he says.

Overnight stay

There have even been cases where pupils have had to stay overnight with teachers, where there have been "absolute clashes" between exams.

This happens when two exams - perhaps an A-level and an AS-level re-take - are timetabled for the same time.

The pupil will take one of the exams and will then take the other paper the next day. And to prevent any cheating, the pupil will have to stay with a teacher.

Mr Robinson is also concerned at how AS-levels are scheduled - saying that sitting exams in early May means that the course is compressed into two terms.

And that after the exams are finished, it is difficult to motivate pupils for the remainder of the term.

There is also a considerable increase in the volume of exams. He says that a pupil taking five AS-levels will usually have to take 15 papers in the third term of the lower sixth year.

And this student, if taking three full A-levels, will take another 18 papers in June of the upper sixth year, plus any re-takes from AS-levels.

See also:

06 Jun 02 | UK Education
27 Mar 02 | UK Education
06 May 01 | UK Education
Links to more Education stories are at the foot of the page.


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