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AQA gcse english resit. school giving no help.

(18 Posts)
VoldemortsNipple Wed 07-Sep-11 23:29:56

DD, took GCSE English last year while in year 10. Although her coursework was all graded an A, she didn't do well in the exam and received a C.

DD wants to resit the exam. When she asked her teacher on Monday, she was told she couldn't resit because she hadn't failed. Only DCs who got a D or below could resit and they would have extra tuition after school.

After we kicked up a fuss, the school are now prepared to let her resit the exam but will not tutor her. The tutoring is aimed at the foundation teer so is not suitabe as DD will be resiting the higher paper.

I can't afford to pay for a tutor so that's not an option. How do I help DD to get ready for this exam and what resources should she be using.


IHeartKingThistle Wed 07-Sep-11 23:33:46

Did she fall down on a particular paper, do you know, or does she freeze up in exams? When can she do the resit?

Good for her for wanting to resit.

VoldemortsNipple Thu 08-Sep-11 06:53:52

I think it was a case of not answering the questions effectively to get the most marks. After her coursework was in and they began to study the pre released book, DD just sat back and didn't put the effort in. I honestly don't think she realised how important it was to study after the coursework was in.

ProfessionallyOffendedGoblin Thu 08-Sep-11 06:58:01

Have they got past papers available to download on their VLE?
Buy appropriate study guides for the texts.
Use online revision sources.
I think taking GCSEs early is daft in most cases. smile

IHeartKingThistle Thu 08-Sep-11 08:54:54

If it was just a matter of effort then she should be able to improve that grade fairly easily, which is great. Is it GCSE English or Literature we're talking about here?

In my experience students lose most marks on the non-fiction comprehension paper in English. To prepare for that past papers would be great (although be careful, the syllabus has changed so the format won't be exactly the same!) as well as reading articles, leaflets and extracts from novels (newspaper opinion columns are particularly good for this) and doing practice analysis on them. Get her thinking about what the writer is trying to say to the reader, who the text is aimed at, what techniques the writer has used, how the text is presented etc.

There is also a lot of writing in the English exams (obviously!). If she got As in her coursework she obviously can write well, but she needs to be able to produce the same standard under timed conditions. This takes practice! She needs to be able to proof-read her own work and plan effectively so that she is able to produce an effective piece of writing.

Hopefully, the shock of a lower grade than she expected will be enough to focus her mind!

HTH smile

VoldemortsNipple Sat 10-Sep-11 10:32:01

IHeart its GCSE English. We have an AQA revision workbook which I bought her last year. She didnt use it because she said it was not related to the pre released booklet. It was full of articles with different types of questions to work through. She is going to work through that, but she is still worrying about the pre relesed book.

Do you know whether she will need to study this further. I didnt think the resit exam would relate to anything in the past paper. DD thinks it must do because how would she be able to work her way though another pre released booklet in 8 weeks.

Also how useful are websites like BBC Bitesize, how much time should she be spending revising and how do you work around other homework. Im finding it very difficult to find decent basic advice on setting up and implementing a revision/homework timetable.

Thank you for the advise so far its been very helpful.

VoldemortsNipple Sat 10-Sep-11 10:33:00


ProfessionallyOffendedGoblin Sat 10-Sep-11 10:46:42

'We have an AQA revision workbook which I bought her last year. She didnt use it because she said it was not related to the pre released booklet.'

She needs to broaden her understanding of what revision entails for English. It is not just about being able to answer questions on one narrow pre-release booklet, it is about understanding the techniques and style required, what should be included in a model answer.

VoldemortsNipple Sat 10-Sep-11 11:55:42

Yes Goblin I know that and you know that, but try telling that to a know it all teenager.

I dont understand why they even need a pre-released booklet. Surely its better for teachers to spend the time teaching children how to answer questions effectively within a timescale whatever the subject. Surely in this day and age they should be teaching in styles that relating to real life expectations in the workplace.

ProfessionallyOffendedGoblin Sat 10-Sep-11 12:00:47

My DS did GCSEs last year, my DD did them 4 years ago.
If she doesn't want to listen, then step back and let her be. She can't whinge about wanting to retake and then refuse advice, if she's doing that, then she needs to manage on her own.

VoldemortsNipple Sat 10-Sep-11 12:35:26

Last year she had that attitude. if I offered any support, I was told she knew what she was doing, I bought the revision book and she took one look at it and decided it was not following the sylibus (sp). I'm not in the business of blaming teachers but I do wonder why she was so obsessed with that booklet being so important and why they were not studying a wider range of material. I sat back andet her get on with it last year, believing she knew what she was doing. After all she had produced good quality coursework without any help.

She was genuinely shocked and upset that she had done so badly and now wants to put it right. I won't be sitting back this time round, which is why I'm asking for help on how to support her. She wants and needs the support, especially as she is getting none from school but I realise that having the right tools is important.

ProfessionallyOffendedGoblin Sat 10-Sep-11 12:52:21

Have you asked for the scripts back, so you can see which areas she needs more support in?
Are the school prepared to offer you advice as to what they think she should be doing, even if they won't tutor her?
Is anyone else at the school in a similar position, having a study buddy is sometimes more effective for motivating a teenager than going it alone.
Not answering the questions effectively for me means practising past papers and looking at what marks are available for each question, then making sure that you get those marks.
But she needs to want to take advice and help when it's offered. If she thinks she knows best, then you may just end up with frustration and anger on both sides, distracting her from this years' requirements for the rest of her GCSEs.
Does she want to do English at A level?

Ilovegeorgeclooney Sat 10-Sep-11 13:14:53

Are you talking about AQA English 2010 with controlled assessments or the old spec English, I would guess B, that finishes this November? I would suggest arranging a meeting with the Head of English to discuss how you can help her and ask for some individual support, ie marking practice papers etc. When I was HOD I would have happily helped. It is important you establish what course she is actually doing, I have taught AQA for the past 10 years but spec A or now 2010, and don't quite understand which exam you are talking about. If it is AQA A I have loads of revision stuff I could e-mail you but I am afraid B is uncharted water as far as I am concerned.

VoldemortsNipple Mon 12-Sep-11 20:12:36

Ilove Im sure its English 2010. I would be grateful for anything you could offer me. Im finding it really hard to find anything relavent. The AQA website is so confusing and they have nothing at all about the resits.

my email address is


ellisbell Mon 12-Sep-11 20:59:13

Have a look at the AQA website here and see if you/she can find the mark scheme for the exam she sat. It may help her to understand how to pick up more marks.

pranma Mon 12-Sep-11 21:42:47

With aqa her only chance of resitting that paper will be in November after which only the new spec will be available.I mark both the paper and the queries about results.

VoldemortsNipple Mon 12-Sep-11 22:16:34

Thanks ellisbell I will have a good look and see what I can find. Do you think the school will have her papers back? Will they be able to give them to DD.

pranma we have paid for the Resit so she will definatly be doing it in November. Is the Resit much different from the original exam? DD is on work experience for the next two weeks which is bloody frustrating, I can't send her into school to ask questions.

pranma Tue 13-Sep-11 19:01:57

No-it will be different questions obviously but as long as she really knows the poems and does exactly what she is asked she will be fine.In the creative writing tell her that spelling and punctuation and paragraphs really matter.She should try to include some sophisticated vocab.
With regard to the papers the school wont get them back unless they have paid for a remark and asked for them back.

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