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Exam Date - pupil availability

ABRSM exams

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#1 The Great Sosso

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 09:17

Hi all

 

I have three students going in for exams this session.  One of them, the father emailed me just before Christmas telling me that they wouldn't be available for the second week of the session, due to a family holiday.  

 

I didn't have much time to think about this, but now I am coming to do the entries today, I am thinking "eeek, what if he gets given that week?!"  I know that it is possible sometimes to move once the dates are published, but in fact in my area that is very difficult, due to large numbers of people taking exams.  My last mover had to travel 45 minutes to a different centre to get a convenient slot.

 

It's too late for this one now. I shall put the end of the first week as his last available date, and hope to get it.

 

However, my question is:  how do other teachers manage this?  Do you tell your students, as ABRSM advise, that they need to be potentially available for any date in the exam period, or you won't enter them until the following term?  Or do you simply - as I am now - cross your fingers and hope they get given a date they can make?

 

TGS X


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#2 Latin pianist

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 10:26

Particularly in the Summer Term I get students with dates they can't do. I've always been able to move appointments fairly easily. There are several centres I can use, none of which are particularly near. I think you just have to tell the parents there is a possibility they may have to move centre if the date comes when they are away, and only enter the student if they're happy with that.
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#3 Catey

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 15:39

We have the same issue here. Easter holidays in Sheffield are not at Easter this year as they have been set so that the terms are more even. This means that the last week of the exam period is the first week of our holidays and inevitably people will be away. As I have a fair number of candidates I should be ok for the week I want, but people have to be prepared to move dates. I shall be popping a 'last available' date on all of mine!

Easter holidays not being at Easter means we have two weeks holiday followed by two four day weeks because of Good Friday and Easter Monday...
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#4 Lucid

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 21:52

You can email the exam board and let them know that one of the candidates is on holiday in that week, and request that they avoid timetabling the exams for that week. They're usually pretty good at working around requests like that. The difficulty is if the chosen centre is only offering exams in that week etc.

 

Lucid :)


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#5 DMC

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Posted 28 January 2019 - 08:04

After the debacle of last summer, I now only use centres as an absolute last resort, and exam visits for the majority, as we know far in advance what the dates will be for those.

I think in 2019 telling a pupil their exam could be at any time within a 5 week period is draconian. Can you imagine GCSE's being run this way? If they must do it this way, at least make appointments amendable online, or employ enough telephone staff to cope with the inevitable slew of calls. In ABRSM land, it's 1973 and there's a stay at home mummy available to whisk little Johnny to his Grade 3, but in reality, both parents work, sometimes far away from home, and often in occupations where it just isn't possible to get away that easily. 


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#6 jpiano

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Posted 28 January 2019 - 23:26

You can email the exam board and let them know that one of the candidates is on holiday in that week, and request that they avoid timetabling the exams for that week. They're usually pretty good at working around requests like that. The difficulty is if the chosen centre is only offering exams in that week etc.

 

Lucid smile.png

Ha, I tried that with ABRSM not so long ago and received what I can best describe as a rather patronising and curt corporate email back putting me firmly in my place and telling me that they couldn't accept requests to avoid specific dates and must be prepared to attend at any day or time. (I can't get the tone of it across on here but it was very annoying).So it's left for us to try to get through on the phone when the problem could have been prevented in the first place. DMC's post about the 1970s stay at home Mummy hits the nail on the head.


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#7 ma non troppo

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Posted 29 January 2019 - 01:33

There is something very wrong with ABRSM and they will die unless they address it. It is so out of touch as an organisation. The Teacher's Voices panel (of which I am a member) is useless, and doesn't seem to understand either. They ask the wrong questions. I notice they appear to be winding down their surveys. I really am beginning to despair. The people I deal with can't understand the rationale behind the exam booking system and new candidates are incredulous - to the degree where I worry that they think I am making it up.

Add to that some ridiculous stuff on this site and I feel very despondent.
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#8 maggiemay

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Posted 29 January 2019 - 08:48

I’m glad ma non troppo mentioned the Teachers’ Voices panel - I find it totally pointless and annoying.
Often badly phrased questions - that seem to be put together by a work-experience team.

I have felt for a very long time that the AB appointments system needs a drastic rethink. Plus the fact that the exam comments sheet is becoming more and more irrelevant, with a series of formulaic remarks - I do wonder what the future is, and whether the system will continue to be relevant.

I’m certainly finding that the most enjoyable (and often the most productive) terms are when I have no exam candidates.
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#9 Misterioso

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Posted 29 January 2019 - 11:24

The Teacher's Voices panel (of which I am a member) is useless, and doesn't seem to understand either. They ask the wrong questions. I notice they appear to be winding down their surveys. 

 

I couldn't agree more, ma non troppo. I wonder what Teachers' Voices are actually trying to achieve; is is just a data-gathering exercise? As has been said, they are simply not addressing the important issues, and I have ignored their recent surveys.


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#10 ma non troppo

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Posted 29 January 2019 - 11:46

Their surveys come across as having been set by robots.
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#11 Hedgehog

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Posted 29 January 2019 - 13:18

 

You can email the exam board and let them know that one of the candidates is on holiday in that week, and request that they avoid timetabling the exams for that week. They're usually pretty good at working around requests like that. The difficulty is if the chosen centre is only offering exams in that week etc.

 

Lucid smile.png

Ha, I tried that with ABRSM not so long ago and received what I can best describe as a rather patronising and curt corporate email back putting me firmly in my place and telling me that they couldn't accept requests to avoid specific dates and must be prepared to attend at any day or time. (I can't get the tone of it across on here but it was very annoying).So it's left for us to try to get through on the phone when the problem could have been prevented in the first place. DMC's post about the 1970s stay at home Mummy hits the nail on the head.

 

A couple of years ago (so fairly recently!!) I had a pupil who needed to avoid a specific week because of a field trip at school. With previous applications, I had tried emailing like Lucid and found it didn't work. So as I had plenty of notice and was able to put the application in early I went the old fashioned way and did a paper entry. I attached a note explaining the dates, and crossed my fingers.  It actually worked, but I was disconcerted because I had no receipt for the application so I had to trust to the postal service to deliver my letter - which is another difficulty in the system.


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#12 Minstrel

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Posted 29 January 2019 - 16:27

I had an especially bad experience with this in the summer term.
ABRSM gave my students the one date that I had notified them by email was impossible due to our area combined schools music event.
It took more time than you would imagine in your worst nightmare to resolve, and It was only eventually sorted through the intervention of the local rep.

I had a thread running at the time, I afraid I can't see how to link it.

I have fled back to Trinity - online booking, pick your time slot online at time of entry.
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#13 Misterioso

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Posted 29 January 2019 - 16:39

I had an especially bad experience with this in the summer term.
ABRSM gave my students the one date that I had notified them by email was impossible due to our area combined schools music event.
It took more time than you would imagine in your worst nightmare to resolve, and It was only eventually sorted through the intervention of the local rep.

I had a thread running at the time, I afraid I can't see how to link it.

I have fled back to Trinity - online booking, pick your time slot online at time of entry.

 

 

And if Trinity can do it, why can't ABRSM?


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#14 Maizie

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Posted 29 January 2019 - 17:25

I had a thread running at the time, I afraid I can't see how to link it.

This one, I think: https://www.abrsm.or...showtopic=61873


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#15 Minstrel

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Posted 29 January 2019 - 20:16

That's the one.

I hope things improve. Anyone heard any more about any changes to modernise the booking system ?
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