As parents of year 11 students, the year ahead is likely to have many ups and downs as your child faces the challenges of GCSE exams. This year more than usual due to disruption to vital school years.
There are many ways parents can help their child through their GCSEs – one of them is helping them prepare for what lies ahead by making them aware of what they should expect from Year 11.
Our guest Lucy Parsons is an experienced academic coach and has put together this post for students. In addition to covering the main things students should know about Year 11, Lucy also answers some of the more common questions she is asked about studying for GCSEs.
So please share this article with your child or visit Lucy’s website for more advice on helping GCSE students through their exams.
Tips for Year 11 Students – what to expect and how to cope
Exams, Exams, Exams!
Obviously, this is not news to you and you have probably had numerous tests and assessments in Year 10! This year you’ll also have one, or even two more sets of exams, in the form of mocks, as well as several smaller tests throughout the year.
Mocks are the nearest thing you’ll get to experiencing the real thing. It’s a great learning opportunity to see how you cope under pressure, how you revise and what works and doesn’t work for you. This is your chance to be prepared.
You will have noticed the increase in workload when you made the change from Year 9 to Year 10. However, now you’re in Year 11, expect the intensity to, at the very least, stay the same, but more likely it will increase even more.
By being prepared for this and starting as you mean to go on, you’re more likely to deal with the pressures of an intensive year of work.
Time will go FAST!
We talk about the ‘school year’, but really, it’s only nine months. Three quarters of a year. And that time will go fast! Before you know it, you’ll be about to sit your exams and it will all be over.
You need to be willing to make the most of every day. If you are consistent in your approach to learning, including your homework and revision, you’ll make the most of every minute and will feel more prepared when the time comes.
Common Questions about Year 11
- How can I make the most of my classes? You need to turn up ready to learn. This means having not just the right attitude to your lessons, but also the right equipment, books and so on. Be prepared to learn and don’t be afraid to ask your teachers questions or for clarification on anything you’re not sure about.
- How much revision time should I be doing? At the start of Year 11, homework should be your priority, with any remaining planned study time spent on revision (at least five minutes per day to begin with). As the year progresses, you’ll find the balance between homework and revision begins to swing gradually the other way, so by March or April most of your study time will be spent on revision, with very little homework. To create and get into a good study routine, take a look at the weekly routine of a straight-A student.
- What should I do if I’ve missed lesson time? Should I go back and re-learn the subjects? If you’ve had time off school, perhaps through illness, you might be worried about catching up. For subjects such as maths, it’s a good idea to go back and make sure you have a good grasp of concepts, as you won’t be able to work out more complex problems without that knowledge. For subjects such as history or geography, it’s not as important to know what was taught in Years 7, 8, and 9, so concentrate on what you are actually being taught in your GCSE studies.
- What’s the best approach to take towards Science? Try breaking the subjects down into bite-sized chunks, and focus on your weakest areas first by using a ‘Red-Amber-Green’ system. This will help build your knowledge, and you will become more confident if you can tackle the harder things first.
- Can I have my phone with me when I study? Honestly? No! Phones are a huge distraction when studying. However, you can use the timer on your phone to signal when it’s time to take a break – just leave it on the other side of the room while you work.
We hope you’ve found these tips helpful. If you’d like some more advice on helping your child to reach their full academic potential, download Lucy’s free advice sheet, 10 Steps to Exam Success or visit her website, lifemoreextraordinary.com.