Article August 24, 2023

Online exam pilot student Amelia shares her story

By King's InterHigh

This year, King's InterHigh were honoured to take part in Pearson's ground-breaking remote invigilation pilot, where students taking IGCSE and A Level exams were able to complete their assessments online – a first in the UK's history!

Amelia was one of the students who took part in the pilot. Having achieved a stellar set of IGCSE results through the programme - three 8s and two 9s - she's here to share her experience and thoughts on why offering the option of remote invigilation for high stakes examinations is so important.

"Students need to have the option to sit their exams online as opposed to in person for the sake of accessibility."


 Why did you decide to sit your GCSE exams online, and what was the experience like for you? 

Honestly, one of the main reasons I chose to sit my GCSEs at home was to avoid the commute to an exam hall. But more significantly, a core motivation in my decision to sit my exams online was that it afforded me a level of comfort that wouldn't have been possible from an in-person examination. I have severe panic disorder, with is exacerbated by the stress of examinations, and being able to able to stay at home and not have a stranger staring at me from the corner for the whole exam helped alleviate some of the anxiety (not all obviously, exams are still scary, but it helped).

 Do you think it’s important for students to have the option to sit their exams online instead of in-person, and why? 

Students need to have the option to sit their exams online as opposed to in person for the sake of accessibility. Students with anxiety disorders face enough extra difficulties during exam season due to stress and fear of failure. For many people with anxiety disorders (myself included) being in environments perceived as unsafe can lead to panic attacks which makes sitting an exam near impossible, and the lack of accommodation to make exam centres feel like safe spaces puts these students at an extreme disadvantage and prevents them from being able to meet their full potential.

 What's something you've gained from going to school online that's really helped you personally? 

Going to an online school has helped rekindle my academic interest. As a gifted autistic student, I've always excelled at class but was bullied by classmates and struggled with conforming to the unnecessarily strict rules of brick-and-mortar schools which discouraged me from education in general. Being able to take classes at home has allowed me to spend the time that would be wasted in-between classes or going to and from school on studying personal interests in-depth and developing my excitement and academic intrigue in a wide range of subjects.

 What are your dreams for the future? 

My dream for the future is to pursue higher education, and I'm very excited to be starting my A-levels soon. I’m hoping to enrol in a university with a strong philosophy, politics, and economics course, before converting to a postgraduate law course. Overall, I'd say my dreams for the future are as varied as my interests and I want to spend the rest of my life developing knowledge across a substantial number of subjects, I'd like to consider myself a burgeoning polymath. I would also like to adopt a lot of dogs because dogs are cute. More generally, my dream for the future is a long-waited working-class revolution that solves the climate crisis and ends homelessness but that's unrelated.

By King's InterHigh

King's InterHigh is an author for King's Interhigh.