A-Levels and GCSEs in 2020: How to Make Them Count

The outbreak of coronavirus has disrupted education all around the world. In the UK, the government has closed schools and cancelled all public exams this summer – including A-Level and GCSEs.

But the lack of exams doesn’t mean students are not being graded. Rather, instead of their exam performance, students will receive their grades based on several things:

–          Mock exam results

–          Non-exam coursework assessments

–          Subjective data – e.g. teacher assessment or general subject knowledge.

Unsurprisingly, this leaves many students and parents in the dark. Without a clear grading framework available as of yet, it is easy to slip into grade-related anxiety. So, it is now more important than ever to divide things we cannot control (the outbreak, the government guidelines) from the things we can. This way we can focus on improving them and maximising their impact.

This article will focus on what you can do as a student and parent to boost your grades and prepare for university.

1. Keep a track record of your academic progress.

With the assessment criteria as subjective as they are, the key thing is to keep every proof that you (or your child) are consistently doing well in your subjects. This may be in the form of regular subject grades, projects, or assignments, but also remarks or compliments from your teachers, advisors, and principals. Ask for written feedback every chance you get, and keep it safe. It might be evidence you need to negotiate a better grade.

OIC Online Programme offers just that – a written summary report of each student’s overall performance. These reports can be sent to your school as evidence of continued study, enabling your school to give you additional credit and providing them with evidence for higher GCSE and A-Level grades.

2. Keep your education sources credible.

It might be tempting to self-educate for the time of the quarantine, or work with a friend, but this might backfire on the student later on. Grading subjectivity means that not all education sources are judged equal. Try to pick an institution-accredited course, or something that evokes quality and fairness.

OIC GCSEs and A-Level online course will be run as a part of the school, and by the same people that have consistently led our students to score best in the country. An academic report from the UK’s No.1 ranked school may carry additional weight when submitted as evidence to the exam boards.

3. Keep your course of study as continuous as possible.

The consequences of no exams and subjective grading will almost certainly lead to students being unhappy with their awarded grade. Some students may choose to resit their GCSE and A-Level exams in September. If this is an option you want to keep on the table, continued study between now and then will be essential to get the right grade.

It also follows that due to the subjective gradings, some schools or universities may have to admit more students than they were expecting. This could force them to reassess students after their first-year exams. Students may risk losing their place in the school after the first year if they do not do well in 2021. This is particularly applicable for those with conditions on their offers – you do not want to be admitted to your dream school with a bloated predicted grade, only to lose your spot the next year! Even more incentive to study continuously, thoroughly, and with as little disruption as possible, so that the received grade actually reflects your academic prowess.

A structured online course offers the most flexibility while also staying thorough and well-thought out as a whole. Rather than ad hoc tutoring, we recommend that you choose a course with an outline and syllabus to keep your education consistent throughout this crisis. The OIC Online Programme offers an award-winning curriculum that can be tailored to the students’ individual needs and focuses on their personal goals – an asset if they are working to overcome a particular academic anxiety.

Ultimately, it is impossible to control all factors in a student’s grade. The situation is changing quickly, and although educational institutions are adapting faster than ever, it will remain fluid until at least the end of the outbreak.

But it doesn’t mean there is nothing we can do. If you track record of your progress, keep your education sources credible, and study continuously, you can avoid later pitfalls and walk into the new phase of your education confident in your foundations. Good luck – and stay safe. We’re all in this together.  From the bottom of our hearts, we at OIC wish you and all students and families the very best.

For further information on the OIC online GCSE Online Programme, contact Rafael Peters at rafael@oxcoll.com.

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