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Staying motivated now that exams have been cancelled

Staying motivated now that exams have been cancelled

by Katherine Hanrahan

With exams cancelled because of the global pandemic, are you worried about the impact on your plans to study your dream degree?

Read on for some tips on how to stay focused on your studies and how, even in these unprecedented times, you can still prepare for going to university.

Why were exams cancelled?

A Level and Scottish Highers exams were cancelled because of the disruption the pandemic has caused to your learning. Continuing with the exam timetable could have led to unfair results for all UK students.

How will my grades be awarded now?

This year, A Level and Scottish Highers grades will once again be assessed by your school and your teachers. They are best placed, and have the professional experience, to make fair, objective assessments of the grades they think you would have achieved in your exams.

Unlike last year, no algorithm will be used to calculate your results. Instead, your teachers will base your grades on the work you’ve been doing. They'll draw on a range of evidence which could include mock exams, classwork, in-class tests and coursework to decide your grades. 

Exam boards will be providing schools with support materials, including exam questions to help teachers, but these are NOT compulsory and it will be up to your school whether you sit these tests.

If I’m not taking exams, what’s the point of studying?

Even though your schooling has been disrupted by the pandemic it’s still important you stay focused on what you want to achieve.

Now that your grades will be based on the work you’ve been doing, rather than exams, it’s vital that you’re engaged with your school or college studies and doing your best.

Your school and your teachers know how much your learning has been affected and that will be taken into account when they assess your grades, but so will your performance.

And although your learning this year has been challenging, whether you realise it or not, it's also helped you develop the sort of self-supported study habits you’ll need at university - from mastering new digital and communication tools, to improving your organisation and time management techniques.

I’m struggling to stay motivated, what can I do?

There’s lots of things you can do to stay focused on your studies, both at school and at home.

  1. For some top tips on studying at home, check out our blog, including practical tips on organising yourself and your study space – whether you’re working at the kitchen table or a desk in your bedroom.
  2. Don’t set yourself impossible targets, and don’t leave things to the last minute – you don’t want to run out of time to complete an assignment or course work.
  3. Just as you have a structured environment at school or college, divide up your time so you get the most out of studying at home – whether that’s shorter sessions so you don’t get bored with just one topic, or longer periods spent concentrating on one subject in depth. Find the combination that works for you.
  4. If you hit a problem with your studies talk to your teacher straight away; don’t struggle on your own.
  5. Enjoy your successes, whether that’s a good mark in an assignment or a productive day at school. Keep an eye on your progress, too; you could be surprised by how much you’re achieving.

Don’t forget, we’re here to help you every step of the way to university, and our Belong blog is packed with loads of useful advice on preparing for this next big adventure, as well as blogs on what university is like.

You can read about our students’ experiences – from their first days with us, settling in and getting to know their flatmates, to their experiences of online learning – and get a taste of what it’s like to study with us, so you can start to imagine yourself here.

We hope you’ve found this blog post useful – we’re adding new blogs and stories all the time, so remember to check back for more resources. To find out more about the University experience at Newcastle in 2021, why not download our new eBook, 2021 Entry: What will university be like?

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