A few weeks ago, I took my GCSE English literature exam. Everything seemed to go well – the questions were predictably similar to past papers and the unseen poem, (Long Distance II by Tony Harrison,) was easy to understand and empathise with – or so I thought. But logging onto my Twitter account I found a completely different story.
Twitter unintentionally allowed everyone doing AQA English to link into one huge spider's web. A quick search revealed one very worrying tweet: "Wait, what. The dad in Long Distance II was dead too?" Wait, what? This was not something I had picked up on.
How could it be that after preparing so much for the exam, working so hard on my analysis, I had failed to notice that crucial detail? It may have been subtly contained in a single line – "you haven't both gone shopping" – but I was still kicking myself.
The reaction on Twitter was instant. The majority of responses were filled with frustration, some along the lines of "stupid unseen poem" or the beautifully understated "I think I may have misinterpreted that last Long Distance II text a little bit". Most were sprinkled creatively with expletives.
But there were a few, slightly smug tweets, along the lines of: "So happy that I picked up on the fact that the father died in the literature exam today!" which just rubbed salt into the wound.
After an anxious exchange of capitalised messages with friends, including many, many variations of "WHAT" and "HOW" peppered with emoticons, I decided that this revelation would not, in fact, cause us all to fail.
Nevertheless, our reactions were undoubtedly a warning signal to the excess stress that using social media can cause in an already nerve-racking time of year. Students love social media, but having instant contact with other students post-exam can do more bad than good.
Logging onto Twitter is a good way to "torture yourself after the exam by looking up answers" as one student at my school put it. Some might say it is the internet equivalent of those unpleasant experiences outside the exam hall where the answers are discussed between students. Discussions like this cause extra stress – and Twitter gives students a bigger platform to add to each others worries.
In spite of the stress, next exam season I won't be deleting my Twitter account – I just won't be logging on straight after an exam. Throughout the exam period it can be a useful place to share revision tips and talk to other students in the same position as you. Revising can be a lonely experience, and social media makes you realise that you're all in it together. Just don't spend too long worrying about that one question you got wrong.
•Did you talk about exam answers on social media after exams? And did it add to your stress? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Summer 2019 Non-Exam Assessment Tasks
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Eduqas GCSE Media Studies for teaching from 2017 – Change to Set Product for Component 2, Section A: Television
Owing to copyright issues, it has been necessary to change one of the set products for Component 2, Section A: Television, Option 2 – Sitcom.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has been removed and replaced with The IT Crowd, Season 4, Episode 2: The Final Countdown (2010). For full details, please see page 16 of the specification. All of the other set products, including the additional set product for Sitcom (Friends), remain unchanged and are as detailed in the specification. We apologises for any inconvenience caused by this change.