Every spring and summer, Britain’s children are subjected to weeks of silence and separate desks and writing. For younger students, these are called tests. For the older ones, they’re exams. But no matter what they’re called, they’re difficult and draining for the children who sit them. 

Exam season is notorious as the hardest part of the school year, mostly for older students, but that doesn’t mean that younger students don’t also feel the strain. “It’s the most stressful part of the school year,” said one Year Eight. “I’ve got two exams each day. It’s so draining.” 

Things only get worse from Year Eight; by the time students reach college, they can find themselves in exams for three hours or more. One sixth form student, Max Enticott, noted that the Year Twelve mocks are one of “the most intense sets of exams” due to the reliance of many students on the grades from these exams for their university applications, despite the fact that there is little preparation for these exams and many of the papers are incomplete or are AS and therefore do not properly resemble the actual exam papers students will sit in Year Thirteen. 

The exam season is so stressful and difficult for students that the value of the current system must be questioned; as the Year Twelves of colleges around the country finish up their mocks and the Year Elevens and Thirteens prepare for some of the most stressful weeks of their young lives, we must ask ourselves if this is really the best way of examining our students. 

Is stress and worry what we want for them? Is this how they can achieve their best? 

Should the exam system as it is remain?