Exam Uncertainty: What’s in Store for The Class of 2021?

Updated: Apr 21, 2021

If there’s one thing that’s certain these days it’s that everything is uncertain. In-class lessons are on, then they’re off, then they’re on again (at least partially). But what of exams? We already know that GCSEs and A Levels have been cancelled in the UK; what we don’t know yet is whether their international equivalents will go ahead. It’s the same with IB. They’re all on for now – but for how long?

This time last year, no one could have imagined that the class of 2020 would be denied the opportunity to sit their final exams. Since then, sadly, we’ve watched the Covid-19 pandemic gather speed across the globe at staggering pace, and while none of us really want to believe it, deep down we all know there’s a distinct possibility that 2021’s cohort will face a similar fate to last year’s graduates.

A cautionary tale

The 2019/20 academic year was, quite simply, a nightmare for graduating students. School closures began back in November, when the Education Bureau (EDB) closed campuses due to Hong Kong’s ongoing protests. Then the virus hit, and while children in the west continued with normal schooling, Hong Kong took a cautious approach and turned to online learning immediately. Students began to worry that they would be at a serious disadvantage come the summer.

As it turned out, the rest of the world was soon to ‘catch up’ with Southeast Asia’s predicament, and ultimately, exams were cancelled. This brought about a whole new set of problems and concerns, with schools and exam boards alike struggling to adapt to the unprecedented situation they found themselves in.