We can't imagine what you're going through right now, with news of your exams being called off this summer, but we can try and understand. Our presenter team have all been through the stresses of school, sixth form and college and have tried to place ourselves in this situation, and think of the questions we'd most want answered
I am not going to be sitting my exams this summer: what does that mean?
For now, we don't know. All we do know is that exams have been cancelled, and that the Government are working with schools and teachers to come up ASAP with the fairest and most accurate way to assess you.
Will it count against me in the future?
The short answer is no. Colleges, universities and employers will also be re-adjusting how they choose to accept you. They will be very understanding as this is unprecedented in our lifetimes and they are therefore being massively affected too. They will know this is through no fault of your own, and there's nothing you can do. Also, if you need to re-take some exams, we'd hope the exam boards will give you the opportunity to do that or have your grades reassessed, when life starts to return to normal but don't quote us on that. Our best guess is that it might not be until the start of the next academic year.
But I'll now be a year behind everyone else. Great.
Keep calm, breathe and get some perspective: this is affecting the entire world and everyone's lives are affected, including every university and employer in the UK. They will all be deeply understanding of what happened to all students in 2020, and their grades. Life is a road trip, not about the end destination, so just think of this as a minor bump in the road (it hasn't even caused a puncture) that in no way stops you from getting to where you want to be in life. It will just take a little longer, and see this time as a great opportunity to build your roundedness. If you need to defer entry (hold off until entering a higher education course in September 2021) then when things kick into action again, you will be ready to go.
What will happen next?
We really can't tell you, no one can: the situation is changing day by day but we'd recommend checking out UCAS for exam grades required for any higher education courses you have applied to, and BBC Health and Education for updates on how your grades will be decided (and when school will kick into action again). Subscribe to the Push Youtube channel too, for a host of useful videos on study, self-confidence, resilience and choices.
Ok, well what can I do during this time to boost my future CV?
This enforced slowdown could allow you to develop really good soft skills that impress employers: like resilience, independent research, independent learning, and you could even boost your CV by joining a local Whatsapp support group and getting out to support the vulnerable in your local community with food drop-offs or supply runs (only if you're fit and showing no symptoms and following local and national government advice) or offering to be there remotely to have conversations with vulnerable people who may be experiencing loneliness due to isolation. In other words, this is a great time to work on your human compassion and empathy (employers really value these things). Year 13s you could even apply, for extra CV experience, to become a Samaritans volunteer. You need to be 18, and it could be a brilliant way to build your interpersonal skills, and be listening to others' problems and being a supportive calming presence for them, it might just do the reverse simultaneously and become a calming measure for you too.
Compassion, empathy and resilience are mightily impressive to employers and universities, as well as you proving you can be proactive, self-motivated and maintain a calm outlook when times are tough - as they truly are right now.
Why not tick all three of those by starting a blog or vlog, or what you are doing each day to stay healthy and sharp, and share it with friends and family? Remember, you only get 740,000 hours alive on this earth, so don't waste these days away. Even in tougher times, don't waste your time and let opportunities drift by.
MOJ TAYLOR is an Edinburgh Fringe First winning actor, and stand up comedian - being selected for the BBC's Stand Up If You Dare competition, for Comic Relief (and being mentored in comedy by Jasper Carrott). He was the first Taylor of his family to graduate a higher education course, reading Hispanic Studies & Drama from Queen Mary University of London before undertaking an MA in screen acting at Drama Centre London. He has appeared in various high-profile commercial campaigns (Asics, Nivea, Mazda, Lexus, Movember) and has delivered over 3,000 workshops to young people across the UK via PUSH and ComedyClub4Kids. He is also a PADI Divemaster, and has assisted on various conservation projects on seagrass and carbon emissions in the UK and The Baltic Sea. He is passionate about getting young people to scuba dive, as a way to develop their soft skills, self-confidence and resilience and over the last decade he has helped develop the Push framework on proactive choices, youth employability, effective learning and public speaking / comedy workshops to develop crucial soft skills/resilience in teenagers.
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We're always interested to hear from talented young writers, so if you'd like to feature as a guest author then hit us up for more details.