GCSEs: the pressure to pass
GCSE results day is here! For the young people on our programmes, this is an especially big day. We know that for young people from poorer backgrounds, the path to success is even steeper than their better off peers; our Life after school campaign revealed only a third will make the grade on five GCSEs first time around. Less than half will go on to achieve the crucial English and maths qualification by the time they reach 19. Two young people benefitting from our programmes have shared their feelings about receiving today’s results.
Zakiyah, who is 16 and lives with her family in East London, has completed a programme with our charity partner Teens and Toddlers.
“Knowing I am about to receive my GCSE results is scary for me. Like many other people my age I worry about whether I have failed or if I could have done better. One thing I do know is that I tried my best as I revised, studied, and worked hard to do the best I can.
“Doing the Teens and Toddlers projects was a great help. It boosted my motivation and my confidence. Before I was never confident in myself and I would always find an excuse to get away from studying.
“My instructors at Teens and Toddlers helped keep me up on my feet and they boost you so high up on a scale where you can feel better and organised to revise and get prepared for your GCSEs.
“The project was an excellent part of it because you constantly had support around you when you needed it for advice or help with stress. It enabled you to get more involved within education as well as keeping you on your toes.
“I’m hoping to do quite well because I put in a lot of effort and work into my revision and exams. Having Teens and Toddlers there has been a big help. I hope to get the five A-C grades that I need and hopefully two A*s in RE (Religious Education and English).
“My next step will be getting a part-time job and going to college. I want to study four A Levels in English Literature, English Language, Media Studies and Film Studies. I also want to have a job on the side to help with my studies.
“I’d like to get into journalism because I love writing. Sometimes you see a lot of bad stories and negative portrayals of people in the press. I want to dig deeper and get the stories behind what you see on the news.”
Eriona, who is 16 and a year 11 student in Brixton, has benefited from the support of charity partner IntoUniversity.
“Wake up, go to school, go to IntoUniversity to revise. This was the cycle of my GCSE revision days which now seem so long ago.
IntoUniversity helped me loads with my revision: they offered GCSE study guides and help from the staff members who specialised in the topics that I needed help with. I think that my GCSE revision would’ve been much harder without the help of IntoUniversity.
One of my struggles with GCSE revision was maths: the staff at IntoUniversity helped me understand it more which was very useful because I was able to understand what I needed to do in the test and how to get a higher grade than in my mock tests.
Studying for GCSEs was not fun but having a place to go after school and revising in a good environment was really helpful.
Some people may not do well in tests and may do extraordinarily well in classwork instead. Unfortunately I am one of those people who are better at classwork and I don’t think that GCSEs are a good way to test people’s knowledge. They’re also really stressful.
Luckily my IntoUniversity mentor, Lulu, was able to help me prepare for the stress of my exams. She also helped a great deal with my homework and revision.
I feel very nervous because my future depends on my GCSE results, which I will be getting this week. I want to open my results and cry with joy and nothing but joy! I’m going to admit I’ve had a few nightmares where my results are not what I wanted them to be but I hope with all my might that when I open my results tomorrow I’ll be overflowing with joy.”