How to tackle the exams that are operating today

Today’s Solution to Mock Exams: No to Stress, No to Exams!

My name is Joe Booth, I’m 15 years old and I’m from the London Borough of Hackney. I’m currently revising very hard for my mock exams from December 4th to 13th, 2017, and so are other peers of mine. It’s called a collective pressure: almost everyone at my school, of my area, of my age and of my generation is constantly having to revise very hard for their continuous exams, as a mere response to the extreme pressures of exams and our school system.

It’s been too hard for us. So many students in this situation are having to find the most pressurized strategy possible to pass their exams: some I know have come off social media to revise hard, over 6 students simultaneously go to the library every Saturday, so many (including me) have to spend their entire days revising and missing their events or other personal plans, and so it goes on. Too many of us have even been demoralised in this situation: students (including me) have taken days off school due to anxiety or depression, too many students (especially ones in need) express high distress during tests and get given negative sanctions if they lash out, 26% of students experience suicidal thoughts, and so it goes on.

You can learn more about this factor of youth mental health reading this:
workersliberty.org/node/30996

Like with most of the British school system now, my academy is focused centrally around exams and qualifications of students in lieu of teaching them their subjects. Four years ago, when doing GCSEs, students could do project work and 75% exams and 25% course-work. Now, it is just exams. There’s not even work experience at my school for Yr10 students, like how their used to be. There is now debating clubs – which were suspended between 2014 and 2017, for examination reasons – but so many of us (including me), who would love to debate and are good at it, cannot attend, due to so much catch-up work, intervention work, unnecessary detentions and all kinds of factors related to examinations and education hierarchy.

This simply cannot continue! We’re all students who want to learn as much as we can, but we cannot think independently under this hierarchical school system that only cares about qualifications, obedience and hard revision. Most students are not even learning if they’re demoralised or become virtually rebellious. Hence, I intend to interview and confer with most students about their personal anxieties and vulnerabilities about their exams – one strategy would be to produce bulletins: papers that collect information from the oppressed, present articles on how to fight their oppression, and present thousands of ideals to build their solidarity from all related struggles.

Which is followed by the expansion and support of the campaign to Take The Stress Out Of Studying! So, if you or anyone else is in this situation, please invite people to this campaign – tsos.blog – convey them your solidarity and empathy, sit down and confer with them about how to end this pressure and overload, pass motions onto your local trade union or Labour Party branch and sign the petition for Department for Education: https://tsosdotblog.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/tsospetition.pdf.

We must continue fighting for a free, stressless and properly educative education system, so why not join the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC) – a national campaign for this entire cause – at its Winter Conference in Liverpool on the 9th and 10th of December this year where we will discuss our next steps and where you can meet like-minded people.

In solidarity, Joe Booth

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