13 May '13

News What are your exam memories? | Open thread

With SATs and GCSEs rearing their ugly heads again, we'd like to hear your memories of the exam hall

Today the summer exams begin, with British pupils nervously embarking on their SATs and GCSEs as many others have before them. That children now sit an endless parade of exams is a common criticism that is likely to return this year with the news that almost half of last year's 10- and 11-year-old candidates were too jittery to eat beforehand.

Whether you view your school years as the days in which you peaked, or the most traumatic of your life, there's something strangely evocative about exams. Perhaps it's because the horror of being trapped in a stuffy sports hall while the weather becomes increasingly balmy is something that you never forget, or maybe it's because your external exams are the first significant life event in terms of realising that a whole, a wider world exists outside and that, terrifyingly, you're expected to perform in it.

To me, exams conjure up memories of polyester sweatshirts tied around waists (not only because of the hot weather but also to conceal a burgeoning teenage pregnancy or two), the scratchiness of fluffy pens and the chemical stink of transparent WHSmith pencil cases. But, most of all, they bring back the cool footsteps of the invigilator behind me as I opened up my physics paper after half an hour of bitesize revision and saw the question: "Explain why the sun will eventually implode." The fear still wakes me, occasionally.

Everyone has an exam story, and we'd like you to share yours below.

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