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There comes a point in every teenager's life when they reach a certain, some might say 'special', age when they drop some detested subjects and go into a whole new phase of education. This is called doing one's GCSEs1.

This means that two years of teenagers' lives have to be taken up learning2 to paint, speak properly, and add up correctly, ending in a series of exams in different subjects. You might have thought that learning about Chartism in Britain was not especially important for a future career as a dustbin man or a budding brain surgeon. However, as this is what the British government expects adolescents to know, they learn the GCSE curriculum to prevent failing their exams.

After two years of gruelling knowledge-stuffing or, as is many cases, skiving, the dreaded GCSE exams are taken. Sitting in a freezing hall in silence with at least two teachers watching every move examinees make, all the time knowing full well that the entrants would much rather be sitting at home in front of the television, or a computer.

When the papers have finished, it is inevitable that some entrants have:

  • Finished half an hour early and have to sit in silence going over their paper again and again spotting any mistakes they may or may not have made and desperately trying not to doodle happy faces and/or rude words in the margins.

  • Finished with five seconds to spare, not having enough time to go through the paper checking their mistakes and seeing if they answered all the questions they were supposed to.

  • They have not finished their exam paper. This is possibly the worst scenario as, after the exam, these individuals will be thinking, over again and again, 'I would've got a much better mark if I had just had a bit more time'.

The fun, however, does not stop after the exam has ended, it goes on. The joy of finishing the exams are soon followed by a dread beyond all horrors faced by people of this youthful age: waiting for the results of their exams. During this waiting time the examinees will occasionally chatter amongst themselves, saying things like 'I think I did well in this subject' or, 'I'm really worried about this one', until finally the results day arrives. That terrible day of reckoning. The day when their parents realise their children have been lying about the fact that all the exams went 'okay' and that their children have not got straight 'As'.

1An abbreviation which stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education.2In much more detail than necessary, to be useful in later life.

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