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For those whose dcd got their GCSEs results today, any advice to those of us about to start year 11?

(21 Posts)
Ginandtonictime Thu 21-Aug-14 19:33:13

Been silently lurking in all the threads watching the much anticipated results rolling in ... so happy for those families who are celebrating tonight ... and hoping that those whose dcs didn't get what they wanted are feeling the love from MN ... so many stories posted of success despite disappointing results ... very encouraging!

We are on the brink of starting year 11 for the first time in our house - would love to have some 'what I wish I knew now, back then' wisdom ... either what you'd do different or really happy you did to support your dcs. DS1 is sitting Maths, English, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, History, German, Geog, RS (sc), German & Classics

Thanks so much!

areyoubeingserviced Thu 21-Aug-14 19:44:16

Make sure that they actually revise
My niece is extremely bright ( predicted A 's )
However, she got 5 C and 4 D grades
She is extremely disappointed , but had been warned by myself and others that she would not get the grades if she did not revise.
She chose to ignore us

funchum8am Thu 21-Aug-14 19:50:34

Lots of pupils I teach who do both history and classics tend to find history "harder" so do loads more work for it than for classics, then find they get a disappointing grade on classics. They need to put in similar effort for both!

indigo18 Thu 21-Aug-14 21:43:25

Keep an eye on what DC is doing. Is homework completed? Test results on track? Don't let anything slide. !00% concentration in class is vital. DC will get lots of past papers esp after the mocks; keep an eye on progress in these, it's Ok to get fairly low % to start with, but you should see steady improvements.
Are there revision classes after school? Encourage attendance if so.
However, there must be time for relaxation, hobbies and fun, so you will need to chivvy them along to get work done in a reasonable time.
Praise when due, for sustained effort as well as results, lots of encouragement and a genuine interest in what they are doing.
Doubtless lots of folk will tell you to butt out and leave it to them, but I wouldn't!

yougotafriend Thu 21-Aug-14 22:20:47

I would say, ease off on the pressure. C and above is all that will be looked at in the future. As long as they get the grades to do what they want after (a levels /college) don't worry about the A*s.
The gap between GCSE and a level is huge there is no guarantee an A* student will cope any better than a B student.... keep grounded as to what's important in the long run

RaspberryLemonPavlova Thu 21-Aug-14 23:20:57

Not entirely true re the A*s, universities can look at them, read the current Oxbridge thread.

Encourage your DC to be true to themselves. DS has done really well today. Sadly he has 2 upset friends who wish they had worked harder, they used to complain to DS1 he was revising 'again' when they wanted him to do something else. He is very glad he wasn't swayed.

mumslife Thu 21-Aug-14 23:25:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

antimatter Fri 22-Aug-14 00:08:55

My dd had her mocks in november and she said she worked probably harder for them than for her exams. She gor 6xA*, 6xA, 1xB today. She is in superselective grammar and I would say her and her best friends got similar results, one got 11xA* but everyone agrees she is a genius smile

We didn't go anywhere for AUtumn half-term, she revised during that and for few weeks afterwards. We went away after Christmas for 10 days.

Make sure you have days kept to take off for first day of exams, result day and maybe even during actual exams as stress is running high.

My dd worked very hard up to exams and did lots and lots past papers. But doing past papers should be left till end, after revision is finished.

If they have some aspects of any subject they can't get on with - they must ask you for help. You can either help with finding another way to study or perhaps find a tutor to fill in the gaps.
My dd liked flash cards and used it a lot for German and History. We bought all books recommended by school for revisions. She used them a lot as well as her notes from school.

She also had one notebook per subject and wrote wrote down digested summary of some subjects like psychology using different colours. She said that helped he in learning too.

I never controlled her use of FB but didn't replace broken strings in her guitar as I saw her playing it too much grin

She agreed with me she was using it as an excuse and distraction at some point too much.

Over all as time went by during exams he confidence grew and looking at her marks she did much better at actual exams that controlled assessment. I was the same during my studies.

antimatter Fri 22-Aug-14 00:10:45

Dd's subjects were almost identical to your DS - instead of Latin and Geography she did Music, Psychology and Citizenship.

Ginandtonictime Fri 22-Aug-14 08:22:02

Genius ideas here thanks! So interesting re: how much pressure to apply vrs not coming on too strong ...

I'm defo on the same page as Indigo - I can't be hands-off at a time like this, but it does help to know what you guys would do if you could turn back the clock ...

Congrats on dd's results Antimatter! What an achievement - I hope you had a wonderful day yesterday celebrating!

RaspLemPav - a sobering story! Your DS stuck to his principles and plan and it paid off - hope he remembers that life lesson as he gets older!

mumslife Fri 22-Aug-14 08:56:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hellsbells99 Fri 22-Aug-14 08:58:02

Buy the revision books - much better than their notes. Encourage them to revise for every test thoroughly including doing full revision notes (DD like to draw mind/memory maps). When it comes to final revision half the hard work will already have been done then! Tell them to enjoy year 11 though! They do need at least Bs if intending to carry on with the subject - and some 6th form also require Bs in 'associated' subjects - e.g. For sociology, would need a B in English; for psychology, a B in science.

Itscoldouthere Fri 22-Aug-14 16:38:15

If they do art or DT don't believe them when they say its all under control and they are doing it at school. They need to be doing work at home as well. Don't let them fall behind, its a nightmare to catch up, it will take over at the end and they won't have enough time for their other subjects.

Don't wait to start doing practice papers till they are on study leave, start doing them at Easter or even Christmas even if its only one a week, it will make a difference.

My DS did not work hard enough, left it all to late, he is not an A student but should have got Bs. Instead he has mainly Cs, not the end of the world but he doesn't feel good, we don't feel good and we are not 100% sure what to do next.

Mumalot Fri 22-Aug-14 22:16:11

DD has always kept up with class work but never been very swotty about revising for internal exams. Solid B's. I knew she was capable of more because I was exactly the same as her at school ie could never be bothered to revise until it was the real thing ie public exams. She just surpassed the school's predictions which where for A's and B's. She got 7A* 3a's. I knew she could because I've known her for 16 years and know she's the kind of kid who needs the pressure of the real thing. My observations were

1. She started work at Xmas. Even if it was only 30 minutes a day she did something for revision. TBH towards the last couple of weeks before the exams her revision tailed off and she was positively laid-back during the actual exam period. But I think she could afford to be because she had started so early. I think this suited her much better than starting later – I know some people don't start until Easter but I think then you've got to be the kind of kid who can do seven hours a day which she never could. She needs her time on Netflix and her phone.

2. She picked the method that suited her and did it for everything. For her it was flash cards but what ever it is for your particular child, I think you can be helpful by getting them to identify the most efficient method for them rather than them wasting weeks with coloured pens and mind maps that aren't working!

3. Past papers, past papers, past papers. It doesn't matter how often they do the same old papers just looking at picking up every possible mark and playing the game of providing what the examiner is looking for is the best practice in my opinion. And the one thing in which I got really involved was to print off mark schemes and examiners reports for all the past papers she did. I then sat with her and we went through them together. She absolutely hated doing it but I know it was useful because candidates make the same mistakes every year and I know that by me insisting on us analysing the past papers and answers, a little bit of expertise seeped into her approach when in the real exam. So IMHO the best thing you can do to help them is invest in unlimited paper and printer cartridges and print off every past paper going for all of their subjects.

Capitola Fri 22-Aug-14 22:28:18

Know the English lit texts inside out and back to front.

I have always been quite 'on my son's case', up until y11, when I realised he had to do it on his own.

He worked hard, I never thought hard enough as I witnessed so much downtime, but he was always quietly confident. He got absolutely fantastic results. It has taught me a lesson - don't compare your child with your friend's who is slogging away day in, day out. My ds did what he knew he needed to do, and not a bit more! As a result, he remained calm and didn't put any stress on himself. I was a gibbering wreck yesterday morning, he was all 'it will be fine, mum' and of course, it was.

Leeds2 Fri 22-Aug-14 22:47:32

I would second the advice about keeping up to date with Art etc course work. DD didn't do any practical subjects, but the amount of out of hours work her Art friends were doing was beyond belief.

I had a friend, DD now aged 22, who was enthusiastic about Art as she said her DD had finished it all by Christmas in Year 11 so it left her free time to study other stuff. Different school, but DD's Art friends were putting in the hours right until the very last minute. Do not treat it as an easy option.

CatherineofMumbles Sat 23-Aug-14 08:55:16

Another one agreeing about the Art/DT etc coursework! DS1 has just got results - we were astonished - he got 11 A*, but these were not all predicted - he was predicted B in English (both), but the school got fantastic English results across the board this year - so must be down to the teaching as well as the DC work.
We were also surprised at the amount of work required for Art - had assumed when he chose it would be a dossy subject - far from!! He did a lot of work at home and had several after school sessions. DS2 is going into Y10 in September (same school), opted for Art and has already been given an Art holiday project which has required quite a few hours, spread over the holiday.
DS did iGCSE languages, so there were no controlled assessments, but the main boards' Language GCSEs do have controlled assessments and again, make sure the DC out in the effort on those. They have masses of help from schools - some literally spoon-feed (I know, I have been helping out in a local state non-selective secondary with language CAs) and it is heart-breaking that some do not put any effort intro what can be easy marks if they do what the teacher tells them advises.
Some of DS friends did drama - again do not underestimate the amount of work. Some who go A* for the practical got low grades for written work, which brought the grades down.
Since we have DS2 just embarking on this, also watching others' input with interest!

CatherineofMumbles Sat 23-Aug-14 08:59:53

Also agree with Capitola re their independent working. We have been busy this year, so not paying much attention to DS but I did think I was not seeing him doing much work, other than on the Art grin. But he clearly was, and I'm glad he monitored his own activity, but he has always been fairly self-managing. Somehow think with DS2 we will have to be more on his case - so every DC different.

mumslife Sat 23-Aug-14 11:57:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bouncingbeans Sat 23-Aug-14 12:20:54

Agree with everyone on the Art/Textiles practical side, dont leave too much to the end as it will detract from time needed for revision for other subjects.

My DD was very firmly B/C grade targets but has pulled off 7 A*/A grades to everyones delight and her own shock!! She really worked hard from February half-term on past papers, mark schemes etc, and if I am honest learnt more herself this way than she did at school so she did not attend all of the extra revision classes they laid on. She swears by My GCSE science which is on youtube and went through every video numbers of times, so her predicted Cs (which is what she got in her mocks) were turned to As in the real thing. Her biggest struggle was the half-term in June as she lost focus and struggled for the last few.

I dont mean that to detract from the excellent teachers but she didnt feel in some subjects that she had been provided with all of the right information to get higher marks, and the examiner notes for History and English were particularly enlightening.

Flashcards were her friends too, she was very methodical with them and I tested her when she asked me to, and those she struggled with were put into a separate pile to go over again another day.

She is now saying that she put in 3 months of really hard graft after coasting in year 10, picking up a little from beginning of year 11, but really getting her head down in the February half term. She had plenty of breaks though for hobbies, socialising, netflix etc, even during the exam period so it wasnt all work, but it was focussed and somehow everything clicked into place when the time was right.

She said nothing has ever felt as good as getting her results which may not be as good as some (she also got B/C grades) but she knows she did her absolute best.

Good luck to your DC and the next cohort!!

Ginandtonictime Sat 23-Aug-14 12:45:23

Wow - some golden nuggets of advice here ... the flashcards idea is a defo - I'm off to Rymans right now ...

So interesting what you all say about art (or Arrrrgghht as another mums netter calls it!), DT and drama - so glad we didn't pick it at options time (if you visit The Student Room chat room, that message comes loud and clear there too from the kids themselves)

DS1 has coasted in year 10 - giving us the heebigeebies as year 11 approaches - but its comforting to know that other dcs have found their own speed as they go back to school and work through the year ...

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