LOOKING BACK AT GCSEs AS A HOME EDUCATOR



It's now been 5 years since I sat my GCSE exams. Many students are currently sitting exams right now which made me want to document the experience I had with mine. This post has been sitting in the archives for several years waiting to be edited and shown to the world (well, the people who read this blog anyway!) and I decided it's finally time to write it up properly and publish it.
I am very grateful that I got to experience exams in the environment I did and I hope you find this insight interesting.

If you are unaware of my educational experience, I will give you a brief rundown. I was home educated until the age of 17 when I went to sixth form college to study for my A levels, meaning the majority of my education was based at home. During my time at home, I studied various subjects and when I was around the age of Year 10 I worked towards my GCSEs. The best option for me was to take International GCSEs as that is what the local centre offered. I only took 4 subjects because of limited resources available meaning I only had to take 8 exams. 

Because I had never done anything close to sitting an exam before I asked if I was able to have a look in the hall at the centre where the exams were to take place beforehand. Thankfully the centre agreed and I was able to have a tour. The main reason for this was to remove at least one foreign part of the whole process, so when I went into the hall for my exams I knew what to expect because I had been there before - minus the other students, invigilators and exam papers.

I am very grateful for the fact that, being outside of mainstream education, I was able to enjoy the whole exam experience. I think exams are generally labelled with stress and anxiety. However, I was able to approach them with excitement and curiosity. Actually taking the exams was quite enjoyable. This isn't to say that I didn't feel nervous about any of the process because, of course, it is inevitable that anyone would. However, I didn't have any outside pressure from either peers or teachers. Yes, I had the ambition to do as best as I could but I didn't feel worried about the grades. I was able to go into the exam and think about using it as an opportunity to show what I had learned. At the time I didn't focus much on the thought of results, I just focused on each exam in turn. In fact, I must have been quite relaxed because at one point we didn't have WiFi (meaning internet resources were off limit) so I didn't worry too much about cramming in lots of revision. I just did what I could with the time and resources to hand.

Standing outside the exam hall for the first exam was very unusual to me because I was one of the only ones (there were some other private candidates as well), without a uniform on. It was really interesting that once I got inside the exam hall I felt rather relaxed. As I went on with the exams I got used to standing there as one of the 'odd-ones-out'. On one of the days of my exams, it was really hot so I decided to take in a water bottle that I had frozen previously. This proved a problem when the ice started to melt and all the condensation on the outside of the bottle dripped all over my desk!

I hope this post gives some insight into how exams work for home educated students and how I perceived the experience to be. Even if you aren't taught at home I would encourage you to enjoy exams as much as possible because it does take the pressure and stress away and helps you relax.

How do you perceive exams?

Thanks for popping by! I hope you learned something from this post.

Abby

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