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Year 11 in September 2016. Feeling nervous for DS

(39 Posts)
minesawine Sun 03-Jul-16 16:21:35

I have been on mumsnet since DS started at a nervous wreck in Year 7, and shared many stories. He is now about to enter Year 11 and I am terrified. I am waiting on his results for early GCSE's and his Year 10 mocks, he thinks he has done OK but I think he could have studied more. Maybe I will be pleasantly surprised, fingers crossed!

Now he is about to enter Year 11 and it feels really scary, lots of big decisions - focussing on his studies not girls, what A'Levels to take, what school or college for 6th form, university subjects or apprenticeship etc etc. He really needs to grow up and I need to get a grip.

Are there any other anxious, soon to be Year 11, mums and dads out there?

RedHelenB Sun 03-Jul-16 19:03:47

Not exact;y anxious but dd2 does tend to take the weight of the world upon her sometimes. Done one early GCSE and I am so hoping she gets the grade she worked for so that it will make her feel Y11 is more manageable

tapdancingmum Mon 04-Jul-16 00:36:45

I am a tad anxious. Have one DD (19) who sailed through Y11 and has quite comfortably immersed herself into uni but we now come to DD2 (15). She is bright in her own way but lacks confidence in so many subjects. It doesn't help that she hasn't had a permanent science teacher for a while and doesn't get on with her mega teacher (or class). He is leaving though so hopefully they will get a good replacement.

She has surprised me with the amount of study she has done for her end of year exams but tells me that she isn't hopeful of good marks. I'm hoping she is playing it down but we shall see.

She can't see herself going to uni and has said as much to the school but wants to stay on for A levels. She now realises that saying this was a mistake as they do lose interest in the ones who aren't going to uni so I've told her to tell them that she hasn't actually made up her mind.

Here's hoping that my fears will be unfounded and she also sails through but it is nice to have somewhere to vent or celebrate.

swingofthings Mon 04-Jul-16 10:33:39

DD finished year 11 and despite having been educated abroad myself so no experience of GCSEs, I haven't found the process or future stressful. I do think that being anxious is probably the thing that will inhibit a child the most, so better to try to be relaxed so he can be too.

DD was always well prepared for the year, but a number of my friends' boys were not and they worried they wouldn't grow up in time to take it seriously. What really helped in our school is that they do two mock period exams, one in November and again in February. Many of these boys didn't do well at the November one and that was the eye opener for them to realise they needed to start studying. All did better in the February one and that was the incentive to do even better at the actual exam. Obviously needing to wait for the results, but feedback would seem to be that they have done very well.

I wouldn't put too much pressure on your boy now or right at the start of the year as until the penny has dropped that he will need to get on with it, he is likely to rebel against it and that will only make you more anxious. Give it time, boys usually start to take it all seriously later than girls closer to Easter time.

minesawine Mon 04-Jul-16 13:49:34

That is helpful Swing, I am trying to be calm and not panic. I would love him to do some prep in the holidays but that is never going to happen. I will see if I can find out if his school do two sets of mock exams.

I have no idea how Year 11 works, do they just revise and study all year, ready for GCSE's, or do they also learn new topics and subjects?

swingofthings Mon 04-Jul-16 18:14:42

All they do is prepare for the GCSEs, but they still have quite a number of topics to go through, so revision normally starts gradually from Feb/March onwards (but of course pupils can start revising what they've already learnt sooner). Some topics will still be learnt late in May. The triple science curriculum is huge and DD was still learning new topics a week before the exam (and found out here that this was common).

I learnt all this as I went through Y11 with her. My advice if you are anxious about not being in touch with what is going is to make time to go and speak with his teachers. They much rather than a mum asking them how she can help her son prepare than a mum who doesn't get involved or worse who thinks she knows better than them.

minesawine Tue 05-Jul-16 19:31:24

Over the summer I will have gentle chats with him about having to step up and focus. Deep and meaningfuls just don't work with him. I did say that he needs to use this year to decided what subjects he wants to do for A'Level and he just grunted that he doesn't know what subjects, but will probably do 4. OK then, 4 it is!

When do they have to decide what subjects they are doing in 6th form, do they wait until they have their GCSE results or do they have to decide before then.

BertrandRussell Tue 05-Jul-16 20:06:13

Oh help- ds is going into year 11 too- it hadn't crossed my mind to be particularly worried about it- now I'm worried that I'm not worried!

Socialaddict Wed 06-Jul-16 21:26:33

My DD is also going into Yr 11 in Sept. I am already nervous but she is not at all! I shall try and control myself so I don't stress her additionally but am unsure if I'll be able to. Shall follow this thread with interest. My DD is planning to do some prep in the holidays but am sure this will not happen. In our school they choose the A levels in February after the mocks.

errorofjudgement Wed 06-Jul-16 23:27:32

Often schools and colleges have open evenings for 6th form aimed at Y11s in October, then applications follow. I think I am correct in saying you apply directly to the school/ccollege so can end up holding several offers.
I think this is what we will do. DD wants to take drama as one of her A level choices and the 6th form drama class looks v small (from the results tables) so I think it is wise to have a back up in case there are insufficient numbers to run the course.

nessus Sat 09-Jul-16 09:52:20

DD will be starting YR.11 too in September. Will be reading her school report later today... I like to read reports first on my own before we go through it together! She is confident that her mock results are good so we will see if she managed a clean sweep of A's and will be clearing out my purse lol

This report is particularly important as will have to be submitted with sixth form applications going out over the summer (A-Level & IB subjects already decided thankfully), for which she has personal statements to write. With entrance exams to prep for and of course revision planning for GCSE'S plus county sports means an intense few months ahead but exciting nonetheless!

minesawine Sat 09-Jul-16 20:08:30

I would like DS to go to a 6th form college because they have a bigger range of subjects then his current school and the change will be good practice for Uni. He wants to stay, so there will be lots of interesting debate, but it is his choice at the end of the day.

The school don't give parents the grades for his mocks until 2 days before the end of term which isn't ideal but it may help him decide on his A'Level subjects over the summer. It may also help me work out if a tutor is needed in any subjects for his GCSE's.

There is so much to think about but all he wants to know is if he can have a stretch hummer for his prom. wine wine wine

minesawine Thu 04-Aug-16 12:35:52

Did any of your Year 10's get any homework or prep for Year 11. My DS was told to read the whole of Macbeth. So far he has read 6 whole pages, whilst moaning how boring it is. I am going to get him the film to watch, maybe it will make him exited about the book (I live in hope!!)

errorofjudgement Thu 04-Aug-16 21:20:17

Yes, but only to re-read an inspector calls, and it would be "helpful" to read Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde before they start the novel in September.

antiqueroadhoe Sat 06-Aug-16 17:53:35

You need to refuse to allow yourself to feel anxious because your anxiety will either make him feel anxious and not perform well, or will make him go the other way and feel that you're being over the top which will make him too relaxed.

You need to get advice from the school about how much he needs to study - (probably 2 or 3 hours a night in total including homework) and decide how you can create the right environment for this to be done. It's advisable to get him to leave his phone downstairs or to switch off the wireless for that time. There should be clarity but no big rows - it's his life in the end - you can lead a boy to revision but you can't make him think etc etc.

Most schools suggest 4 A levels, then drop one at the end of year 12, but with reformed A levels it's a little more complex.

Some boys, who are able but can't decide on what to specialise, choose IB. But this is only done by 3% of schools for a reason.

LockedOutOfMN Sun 07-Aug-16 19:52:44

I'm a head of Year Eleven. I would say it is important to start this year well. Not panicking or working all night, but seriously, and focused. There is no time to waste.

Get in the habit, from the start of the year, of going home and studying what you did in class that day, as well as doing homework. Chances are, homework will gradually be replaced by studying, and answering questions from past papers, as the year goes on. There is a great deal of material to revise for the final exams. in all of the different subjects so it's a really good habit to get into going back over what you've done in class that day or week, especially in "spare" time e.g. a night with little or no homework, or a dull weekend when there are few or no social plans (or grounded!)

Parents can help - it can be motivating for the student to read aloud their class notes to somebody, or for you to read them back to them, or if it's a subject you know about then you could give them a 5 minute quiz, or - this one's particularly good for science - ask them to explain a sub-topic or "process" of their choice to you, and basically it's a bit like that "Just A Minute" game on the radio, they explain until they run out of knowledge; then they realise how much they know (and feel proud of their accomplishment) and at which point they need to start revising again (where they went blank). Teachers can also give you advice of ways to help / support your child with these little and often methods of study.

If your child is studying a foreign language, encourage them to use a website for practising grammar (especially verb conjugation) and vocabulary for 5 minutes per day, again, you could sign up too and have a "battle". Their language teacher is sure to recommend certain sites or apps; Conjuguemos is a popular one at our school.

Hope this helps? The earlier they can develop these habits, the less stress there will be at the end and the more in control they will feel as they realise what they do already know.

Good luck to all! grin And for the parents, wine wine cake !

LockedOutOfMN Sun 07-Aug-16 20:03:06

Some ideas for "revising" English over the year.

Make a list of key quotations from each set text (may already have this from Year 10 exam. revision) and copy out onto flashcards or a colourful A4 / A3 poster for the bedroom wall. Make sure they're SHORT; single word quotations are brilliant!
If studying An Inspector Calls (a previous poster mentioned it), watch the 1982 BBC version (on YouTube) with the script in front of you - the adaptation is 99% faithful to the original so very useful for revision and quotations tend to be more memorable when watched and heard, as does the sequence of the plot.
For other set texts, re-read just the key scenes, e.g. main characters' entrances and exits, climaxes in the plot (murders, marriages, deaths, revelations, etc.)

Work on spelling - keep a log of all spelling corrections to their work, then focus on the words which are most likely to be needed (e.g. sincerely, faithfully, believe, definitely, disappointed) and try to learn 3 a week. Again, these could go onto flashcards or a bedroom wall poster, or parent could help with regular mini-tests.
Download a list of "high level" vocabulary - Geoff Barton has a good one available online - and pick out anything from 10 to 50 words to try and learn and start using in written work.
Change the homepage of laptop or phone to the Guardian or Independent newspaper and read an article every time you go open the browser before doing whatever it was you went online for (or once a day). Extra keen - make a note of any new vocab. or impressive sounding phrases in the articles you read. (I say these two newspapers as their content is available online free. Telegraph offers 10 articles per month per device, as does The Economist magazine and a newspaper for schools called The Day - your child's school might have membership in which case they can log in for unlimited access).

LockedOutOfMN Sun 07-Aug-16 20:11:46

errorofjudgement Ian Rankin made an excellent documentary on Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde, explaining how Stevenson was inspired in creating the characters, setting and background to the novella. I strongly recommend it; I think it's really helpful. It's about 40 minutes long but pretty dense with materials so best watched in 5-10 minute chunks, then have a think and write a few notes, (even better if you try to find a part of the text that relates to Rankin's point).

minesawine Sun 07-Aug-16 23:22:48

Some excellent tips. Thank you all. My DS has Macbeth for English and he is struggling with it over the hols. He has done 13 pages so far. He finds it boring and has no enthusiasm at all for the story. We watched the 2015 film adaptation and it was so difficult to follow, I was completely lost after 5 minutes and couldn't work out who was who. Any tips on how to make this more manageable. I have also bought the study guide. Are there any films that is true to the book.

HerdsOfWilderbeest Sun 07-Aug-16 23:34:14

Yes I have a tip for this. Shmoop. It's fabulous. 13 pages is masses. Try and get him to summarise themes in a half page each.

HerdsOfWilderbeest Sun 07-Aug-16 23:36:29

Suggest to him to think of people who are like lady Macbeth in modern times. Or to compare a couple of characters - what have they got in common / what is different about them.

2016namechangeagain Mon 08-Aug-16 08:37:01

I like the schmoop page! I bought DS Brodie's Notes on Macbeth as it got me through my English lit GCSE in 1989! Mainly for the scene summaries that are in normal English.

DS is going into year 11, his targets are all As but his report showed that on a good day he is forecast to get only one A. On a bad day, none.

I think the report gave him a bit of a shock, he says it did but he is very good at saying things and then not following through.

I should say here that I've told him that I don't expect straight As but a mix of As and Bs with a couple of Cs will give him very different choices than 7 Cs and a couple of Ds.

The only work he is doing over the summer is English that we were insividually sent by letter from his English teacher as he is not progressing to plan. No other teacher seems to have realised he is underachieving, sadly I feel as he is likely to get Cs he doesn't come on anyone's radar to realise why he's not doing well.

We have arranged maths tuition but unfortunately the centre closes over the holidays.

I am a bit at a loss to know how to motivate him. He is clever but lacks confidence in his ability which isn't helped as he has an extremely bright brother so tends to compare. We really try to deal with him as an individual and discourage comparisons but he still does it.

I also struggle as by this stage I was doing 3hrs per night and he is given hardly anything by school. Any attempts to make him do extra work end in battles.

It also doesn't help that he would like to join the police but may not be able to because of health reasons. We have sought expert advice on this but it is not clear and will depend on what doctor assesses his application. So he really has no idea what he's aiming for from 16-18.

I am hoping and praying that he will suddenly 'get it' and step up. Any tips are very welcome.

minesawine Mon 08-Aug-16 18:46:18

Herds I just checked out schmoop it is excellent, I have just read the whole thing. Even my lovely could cope with this.

2016 do we have the same son? My DS is also so bright but completely lacking in motivation and I am sick of the sound of my own nagging voice. The school have said 2 hours of study or homework every night is essential to get good grades. It exhausts me to even think about it.

Maybe getting his 3 GCSE results on 25 August will either motivate or shock him.

2016namechangeagain Mon 08-Aug-16 20:30:48

Maybe we do have the same DS!
That said, mine voluntarily got on with his English today so I was wildly impressed with that. I suspect he now thinks he is done though and I doubt we'll see much more voluntary work...

I think you have an advantage as the early exams may well work as a good motivator, however they turn out. All our eggs are in one basket next summer which is scary.

corythatwas Tue 09-Aug-16 10:43:59

Not the standard Mumsnet experience here. We are waiting to find out:

a) if ds has secured the 5 GCSE's he needs to scrape into college

b) if he will need to redo the maths (college will take him anyway, as not maths/science related subjects), but he will have to retake

If a) happens (even if b doesn't), then I think he will do all right: college will be very different from secondary and I see him as someone who could take off and do very well in the right environment/with the right subjects. The career he has in mind will not require MN standard results- but he needs to learn how to apply himself and he needs to pass.

Funnily enough, I am probably less worried than most mums on here: we have been through some rough times, dd had similar worries at this stage (chronic illness and school refusal during secondary leading to a small number of GCSE's), we have had to learn that the smoothest path is not always the only one and that the world doesn't come to an end if something unexpected happens.

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