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Wednesday, 19 June, 2002, 07:32 GMT 08:32 UK
Pupil faces 49 exams in two years
Library
The school magazine was a victim of the exams
Exam overload has been described by teachers and debated by politicians - but it is teenagers who are having to experience the pressure.

And Vera Kislova, a 17 year old in her last year at Westside School in Gibraltar, says that it means a huge amount of stress and not even enough time to read her own notes.


Exams just don't do justice to the hard work that goes on

Vera Kislova, A-level student

In the past two years, she has taken 49 exams, including papers for 10 GCSEs, five AS-levels and three repeats.

And at present, she is sitting exams for four full A-levels (now known as A2s).

This has meant up to eight exams in a week, which she says is just too much pressure in too little time.

"Half the stress is that you don't even have time to revise properly. There isn't physically enough time to go through your notes - and that makes me really worried," she says.

Overwhelmed

"I just don't see why every single unit of the syllabus has to be assessed externally. I think there should be more trust in teachers," she says, arguing that teachers' assessments should be used more widely.

These are considered rigorous enough for universities offering places, she says, so they should be an acceptable alternative to an unreasonable number of written exams.

Apart from feeling overwhelmed by too many exams, she is angry that it means ditching the types of non-academic activities traditionally associated with sixth forms.

"This has forced me to cut down on extra-curricular reading, taking part in drama and the AS-levels saw the end of our school magazine."

As well as exams being more numerous than a generation ago, the papers can also be shorter. And Vera Kislova says that a one-hour paper can be much too brief a way of testing what might be two years of study.

"Exams just don't do justice to the hard work that goes on," she says.

Another worry this year, she says, has been the fear of exam boards making mistakes with the papers. Unprompted, she says that this is a recurrent topic of conversation among her schoolfriends.

"And now it's back to the books for me. Two 90-minute business exams on Wednesday, followed by 105-minutes of history on Thursday, and then three hours of English on Friday.

"But I consider myself lucky - it's a light week compared to last year. Television, drama, going out - what was that again?"


If you have an overcrowded exam timetable this year let us know your experiences by sending an e-mail to educationnews@bbc.co.uk although we cannot always answer individual e-mails.

See also:

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


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