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Help me to get over the fact that year 11 dd is failing to put the work in at GCSE

(83 Posts)
fidelix Mon 09-May-16 22:10:30

I am v stressed at the moment as my year 11 dd is not bothering to put much effort in at GCSE.

She had history today and said it had lots of odd qus she wasn't expecting and couldn't possibly have revised for but these included topics that a) are in the syllabus, and b) were in past papers that I desperately tried to interest in her last night (she has not bothered to look at a single one, even though she plans to do history A Level and supposedly wants to do it for a degree!). I am getting so stressed, as dd refuses to plan her revision, I think still seems to imagine she can get by in most subjects with night-before revision, makes no efforts to look at anything beyond her (incomplete) school notes (even though I've bought revision guides) and didn't even know until yesterday there was more than 1 exam board! (Seriously - she looked most shocked when I told her!). She also seems to think predictions are gospel, and she is guaranteed the predicted grade even with minimum work.

Should add that she at an excellent selective school, where A* and As are common and she got in on exam, so is a bright girl - but her work ethic seems to have vanished.

I'm frustrated and disappointed - she won't let anyone help. I'm sad for her, because she assumes she will get into at least a Russell Group uni, like her dad, and doesn't seem to get that you actually need the grades to get there. She previously decided she didn't want to follow me to Oxbridge - now that dream (mine, not hers) seems laughably far away.

How do those of you who have bright but lazy children, who were high-achieving academically yourselves, cope emotionally with watching your dcs fail to put the effort in? I know she does want to go to a good university, but appears to have no idea they won't just 'know' she's deserving of a place. She just doesn't seem to get that you can't wing it at GCSE. That GCSEs measure work, not brilliance.

I know I need to get over my frustration because it's not helping anyone and that her grades are her business not mine, but I'm not dealing with this well.

Help, please!!!

goodbyestranger Mon 09-May-16 22:20:15

I can't see that you getting emotional will help.

fidelix Mon 09-May-16 22:27:00

Won't help who? I'm trying not to be the mother-from-hell in terms of nagging dd, so in that sense it might help dd. It might also help me! As in stop me exploding!

I think the whole house might be happier if I could just disappear till after GCSEs were over! But I have 2 younger dcs, so not possible! I'm just finding watching her not work really hard to watch without comment!

noblegiraffe Mon 09-May-16 22:27:53

How were her mocks?

TBH if she's very bright and at an excellent selective school, she could probably do pretty well at GCSEs without doing much at home.

Rezolution123 Mon 09-May-16 22:28:29

There is a lot about you here OP and not much positive info about your DD.
What does SHE want for herself in the future?

fidelix Mon 09-May-16 22:28:49

Sorry, misread. No, agree, me getting emotional won't help at all. But I'm finding it hard not to be emotional about watching my pfb fail to get the grades she is capable of.

blueemerald Mon 09-May-16 22:34:48

Probably not what you want to hear but some students definitely can wing GCSEs. Getting good results (but not amazing) may be the kick she needs for A level too. It was for me!

fidelix Mon 09-May-16 22:36:19

noble, her mocks were 5 As, 2 Bs, 3 Cs - but I think they were easier than the real thing by a long way (eg not whole syllabuses, just parts of them). I think because she was very high-achieving in year 7/8, the school still sees her as bright and tends to put her in high groups, even if she has no idea what's going on - eg recently discovered that she knew no tenses (not even the present tense!) in French and didn't even know the French for thank you! (This is serious - me and my dh just gazed at each other in awe that anyone could learn a language for 5 years and not know that.)

She's quite bright so can probably pull off good grades in English - but that's not possible in all subjects.

fidelix Mon 09-May-16 22:37:41

bluemerald - I'd be more than happy if she can wing it! But I doubt it's as possible as it used to be - exams harder this year. Her school mainly does IGCSEs so no help from coursework.

hobbema Mon 09-May-16 22:38:07

hey fidelix, guess she sat the Cambridge iGCSE PAPER 1 today? My son did it too. Brightest swottiest boy in his year at good indie couldnt do 3 questions. Dont fret, hearing from space-cadet son about the q's they sound mainstream-ish for the 6,10 bit if not the 4. Fingers crossed for paper 2. Fret not. ( Though here I am on an education site while he slumbers...)

Stinkerbelle37 Mon 09-May-16 22:39:00

If worst comes to worst, it's better for her to learn this lesson at GCSEs rather than A Level. Not much consolation!

fidelix Mon 09-May-16 22:39:45

razor - don't think dd knows what she wants but going to a good university is definitely in her plans. Which is why this is frustrating, as the grades matter for that.

noblegiraffe Mon 09-May-16 22:40:20

Mocks are normally the full exam aren't they? Otherwise they aren't a mock confused

5As and some Bs is plenty to get her into college and onto A-level courses which is presumably the plan.

The problem is if you start banging on about how she is going to fail without revision and you can't pass without hard work and then she ends up with some pretty good grades (as in her mocks) then when you start saying the same stuff when she hits A-level, where you really can't wing it, then she will absolutely not believe you because it wasn't true for GCSE.

Oakmaiden Mon 09-May-16 22:43:03

Yeah, agree with a pp - as long as she gets enough GCSEs to stay on at A level, a nasty shock with the results might be the making of her. Although it doesn't seem to have worked with my son who appears to be about to fail his AS levels for the second time.

Very few degree courses are that interested in your GCSE results.

noblegiraffe Mon 09-May-16 22:43:13

Most good unis don't give a monkeys about GCSE grades, especially if she isn't headed for a super competitive course like medicine.

Schools today do an awful lot of revision in class. Even if she isn't revising at home, she will be revising.

fidelix Mon 09-May-16 22:43:38

hobbema - yes, that's the one. Though she described the 4 mark qus to me and there are v similar questions on the past papers, which I tried to go through with her last night (she was paying no attention...). So it's simply not the case it was totally unexpected! Glad to hear others found it hard, as might make the grade boundary a bit lower, at least. Aware I sound horrendously helicoptery - should stress I don't do this for all subjects, but this was my degree subject, so I was interested.

Off-topic, hobbema, but there don't seem to be any past papers for Friday's paper anywhere - do you know of any??!

YippeeTeenager Mon 09-May-16 22:45:10

Year 11 DD here too and feeling your pain! If she's at a very good selective school, have they been doing loads of revision and past papers in lesson time? I'm worried about the lack of revision going on here too but keep trying to calm myself down by remembering that's all they are doing (and have been for some time) in school from 8.30 to 4.00 every day. You can't do it for her, unfortunately and if her grades aren't quite as brilliant as she's expecting it might be just what she needs to galvanise her into action in future. Not easy to watch now, but I really think calm and collected is better for the next few weeks, not angry and harassed! flowers

fidelix Mon 09-May-16 22:45:39

I'm sure the school has done plenty of revision, noble, but dd is a master mistress of not paying attention in class. Hence the total lack of knowledge of French. She'll be in the class, but doubt much of it will have gone in.

fidelix Mon 09-May-16 22:47:16

Thank you, yippee! flowers

Good luck to your dd too!

LogicalThinking Mon 09-May-16 22:49:04

I think that kids have to own their own approach. You have to leave them to it. Yes offer support and guidance if they want it, but if they don't, back off. There is no point in trying to drag them through it because they will end up hating it and they need to enjoy learning.
It this stage, there's not a lot that can be done now anyway!

fidelix Mon 09-May-16 22:50:07

noble - don't think most of dd's mocks were the full thing because they hadn't finished the syllabuses. So mostly only on her year 11 work I think.

I certainly have no faith in her French mock - don't trust the judgement of any teacher who fails to notice a mid-set pupil doesn't even know how to use the present tense, a month before their GCSE.

noblegiraffe Mon 09-May-16 22:51:06

Are you sure she isn't just winding you up a bit? It would be unusual for a kid to get a C+ in a French mock not actually knowing any French, and similarly they don't let kids hang around in top sets if they are bombing all their tests. You seem not to trust her teachers with their exam results and predicted grades and so on, but they have seen thousands of kids go through the system and presumably have some idea of what's going on.

fidelix Mon 09-May-16 22:51:08

Thanks logical - yes, I know what you say is true, just need to feel it.

Or go away till after GCSE's.

fidelix Mon 09-May-16 22:53:03

noble - no, I trust most of her teachers but not the French one. I know she doesn't know any French tenses as I've seen her attempt at a writing piece and she's confirmed she has no idea how to form a single tense correctly. Amazing but true. She's very good at blagging. If you could get an A* in blagging, she'd have it.

noblegiraffe Mon 09-May-16 22:53:53

Mocks are usually the full thing regardless of whether the syllabus has been finished - it's usually the previous year's past paper. Otherwise how would the teachers get an accurate view of where the pupil is actually at in terms of grades?

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