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What are Year 8 exams about?

(20 Posts)
cakedup Sun 11-Jun-17 21:25:51

DS had mentioned, very casually, something about exams coming up but when I questioned him, he told me they had not been told to revise for them. I just thought that maybe it was some kind of end of year thing to help them decide what sets to put them in for next year.

But I've just found a exam timetable in his blazer pocket, and it seems a bit more serious than he is making out.

So what are they? And I'm guessing DS should be revising?

Allthebestnamesareused Sun 11-Jun-17 21:29:54

Yes he should be revising. Our school usually has no homework the 2 weeks before internal exams to allow revision instead. They do use the results to set in subjects for which they stream. Also it is a guide as to what options they may end up selecting for gcse.

cakedup Sun 11-Jun-17 21:32:43

Yes, I'd noticed that he hasn't been getting as much homework, I asked him if he'd been told to revise instead and he told me no, no-one mentioned it. I think we need to have a good talk about this.

It is annoying how the school don't keep us up to date with this kind of thing.

Muskey Sun 11-Jun-17 21:37:38

It is normal that dc have end of year exams in senior school. Doesn't your school dc school does this.

booellesmum Sun 11-Jun-17 21:39:13

DD is in year 8 and their exam week was the week before half term.
They were expected to revise for them but not excessively iyswim as only year 8.
It is good practice to do regular tests and exams building up to gcse's. It helps them to figure out how they learn best - some kids just read it, some make mind maps, some need lots of past papers. My oldest is doing gcse's at the moment and has to make notes so hundreds of revision cards floating round our house at the moment.

AlexanderHamilton Sun 11-Jun-17 21:40:15

I agree he should be revising. Both dd's & ds's school had their exams the week after half term. Timetables & revision lists were issued & parents got an email (dd's school) & a letter (ds's school)

The results along with teacher/mini assessments through the year are used to set certain subjects.

iMatter Sun 11-Jun-17 21:41:12

My ds (year 7) has just had "internal assessments". These are exams by any other name and he'll have them every year from now on.

Tbh, I thought every secondary school did this.

Sittinginthesun Sun 11-Jun-17 21:45:25

DS is in the middle of his Year 8 exams. He's been doing revision techniques in class, and the Maths, English and Science are sat in the Hall, just like GCSEs. They use the results to assess levels, and help work out sets, but also to get them used to exams.

cakedup Sun 11-Jun-17 22:13:40

I just spoke to DS , he admits the teacher's mentioned revising once or twice but it was never given much importance (apparently).

I just had a chat with him - he didn't take it too well. sad DS is severely dyslexic and has always find studying of any sort difficult and stressful. I do understand his difficulties but feel that too alleviate his stress I may have been too lax in the past.

I've just told him that just because he has dyslexia it doesn't mean he shouldn't try his hardest. Having said that, he does get good feedback at school (he gets 'positives' for good attitude etc and never gets a 'negative'). He finds doing homework independently a real struggle so I always sit and do homework with him.

I've told him that up until his exams he is only allowed on his phone until 5pm (he usually plays on it from 3.30pm til about 7pm which is too long, right? ). This will allow him time to revise as well as any homework (I suggested one hour per night of revising/homework).

I tried to explain the importance of applying ourselves, taking responsibility, improving ourselves etc.

He got upset and went to bed in a big huff. I wasn't too harsh or demanding was I?

mummytime Mon 12-Jun-17 06:57:29

Umm. If he is dyslexic he probably struggles to take in information. So probably didn't really understand that he was expected to revise.
Year 8 is a great time to mess up by not doing what you are supposed to do. It matters far less than later.

And most importantly** does he have a clue how to revise? Sitting looking at books or rereading them will not doing him any good. If you really want him to revise then you need to help him, and try lots of different methods. Eg. Mind maps, doing practise questions, post it notes, making quiz cards, using apps on his phone.
And let him decide when he wants to work. If you are going to require 2 hours work, then let him choose if that is 3-5 or 5-7 or 4-6 etc.

sashh Mon 12-Jun-17 07:20:30

It is annoying how the school don't keep us up to date with this kind of thing.

I would put end of year exams/assessment as one of those things all schools do. To me it is as obvious as 'must wear correct school uniform'.

hmcAsWas Mon 12-Jun-17 07:41:10

Yes its good to revise for them - but no need to go over the top in revision as its only Y8.

Its a good preparation for GCSEs to have formal exams every year - hopefully they make their exam mistakes in Y8 rather than Y11. Ds, also in Y8, managed to cock up his Chemistry paper this year because the last two pages of the exam paper were stuck together with static electricity so he didn't realise they were there and didn't do them. He sat there pondering how short the paper was and how quickly he had finished and didn't put two and two together grin

In my experience if you have a child with dyslexia you may need to be more hands on with revision. My year 10 dd has always had input from me with revision - in total contrast to her younger brother who just gets on and does it and is within his comfort zone. I always provide her with a timetable with timed slots earmarked for revision; a slot is 30 minutes only but demands total concentration (its impossible to give 100% concentration for longer than that) and is followed by a half hour break prior to the next slot. I have also showed her how to summarise notes, how to do mind maps, often have had to re-explain topics that she had covered at school [I had to research a physics topic for a couple of hours on the internet once before I was able to explain it to her], read most of her subject material and devised quizzes for her, showed her links to relevant stuff in BBC bitesize etc. Now in y10 she needs less handholding from me but still need support (mostly emotional). Exams in her case provoke a lot of anxiety - your son may be feeling that too.

hmcAsWas Mon 12-Jun-17 07:43:56

Just seen mummytime's post and see that we are on the same wavelength!

Traalaa Mon 12-Jun-17 09:04:37

My dyslexic yr 8 has exams coming up and is in denial too. His school don't make a big deal about it as they don't want to stress them too much. Which I approve of, but whilst most kids will broadly remember the topics they've studied throughout the year, DS's brain just isn't wired that way. He needs time going over it all to help pull his knowledge/ understanding to a place where he can use it in an exam.

If your DS is a visual thinker like mine, list making/ timetables, help a lot, so I help him do that. He's agreed to do bitesize bits each night, so 20 mins on a science topic for example. I've agreed that if he concentrates and puts the effort in then I'll test him/ fire questions, etc once he's done. He quite likes the BBC Bitesize tests too, so he'll do one of those most likely as well. I'm not at all draconian about it, as it's up to him, but I think it's important to show him a way through and do some nudging. Without that, he just finds it overwhelming so doesn't do anything!

Badbadbunny Mon 12-Jun-17 09:33:18

It is annoying how the school don't keep us up to date with this kind of thing.

Even more so when they use an online system such as "show my homework" but then don't actually put ALL homework onto it.

The school made a huge thing about it when they introduced it as being helpful to parents to check their children are doing the homework and as a reminder to the children. Then they don't bother putting revision onto the system!! Really helpful!

My son is a "compliant" child. If there's a homework on the system, he'll do it. If nothing is on the system, he won't do it. He's not got a good memory for "day to day" things, so that means he constantly misses "simple" homeworks, such as finishing off a worksheet they were doing in class, or revising for a test, or reading a chapter in the book, etc.

I think that if the school use a homework system, then at least the teachers should use the damn thing properly and put ALL homeworks onto it.

Funny thing is, that when he started, they didn't use an online system and had a homework diary instead. My son would religiously complete his homework diary and never missed anything - he'd always write in to revise for a test, complete the worksheet, etc., as he had it on his desk with his other books (he automatically took it out of his rucksack every lesson). .

Now, with the so-called "improved" system, it's being compromised by teachers not putting all the homeworks onto it!! So-called progress - one step forward, two back!

But I shouldn't be surprised. They also have an online "VLE" which is completely out of date and barely used anymore. That's after they must have spent hours uploading all kinds of worksheets, exam practice papers, weblinks, power points, etc., onto it., and then now have simply given up, so pupils havn't a clue what's relevant, what's not, etc. My son spent a few evenings revising for a test based on the "year 8 revision checklist" on the online system, only to find it was for the previous year and the actual test was on different topics!

I'm sure that communications between parents and the school could be massively improved with a bit of effort by the school. The communication channels are there, but it seems the schools/teachers aren't sticking to their end of the deal.

RedSkyAtNight Mon 12-Jun-17 10:32:35

DS's school has "exams" covering this term's work (as they do every term). As it's only this term's work, DS tends to remember quite a bit of it anyway, although they are expected to do a little (but not a lot) of revision.

... so I'd say you need to check your school's approach!

Kazzyhoward Mon 12-Jun-17 12:57:00

I think this is yet another area of inconsistency between schools and even between teachers in the same school/dept.

With my son, some teachers have really rammed it home about proper revision, some having even given them practice papers, "mindmap" templates or revision checklists to work through, straight from year 7. Yet others just seem to glibly say "revise" and leave it to the pupils to do their own thing. Not helpful at all. I do think there needs to be a lot more consistency in schools and more engagement with parents as to what's going on and what is expected.

pasanda Mon 12-Jun-17 14:06:17

Good posts mummy and hmc

My dd started her Year 8 exams this week and she is dyslexic. She has been so miserable for the last few weeks. Academia and exams and all the expectations surrounding them stress her out so she ends up switching off. It is really hard to get her motivated to do any revision because it seems as if she just doesn't understand any of it and even if she does, finds it hard to retain sad

I have spent ages compiling some revision notes for her for science. I trawled through her exercise books, bitesize and the checklists the school have provided and tried to produce something easy to understand.

For example lots of questions and answers that she can just learn -

'why do our hearts beat faster when we exercise?' --> 'to supply more oxygen rich blood to our muscles'.

I then printed it off and put each page in a polly pocket in a folder so she has something easy to revise from. Presenting her with two exercise books crammed full of worksheets, irrelevant data and drawings made it impossible for her to pick out those bits of what she had written that she had to revise. (iyswim!!)

It took bloody ages and she's probably not going to have long enough to do it justice but it has made me realise I need to do similar going forwards and will endeavour to do so after she has finished a topic as she goes along.

The other thing I have said (which may be the wrong approach) is not to worry about revising for french, history or PBE as she is not going to take those at GCSE. French she is dropping at the end of year 8 so it seems pointless to revise this when she can concentrate on science, maths and geography. Allowing her that small comfort helped her mood a bit (a tiny bit!!)

Traalaa - ds's brain isn't wired that way ' This statement is so true with dd as well. It's like all the usual methods of learning/revising don't apply to her and we just have to find a way that does!

Traalaa Mon 12-Jun-17 15:11:25

pasanda, my DS sounds ever so similar to your DD with science. There's just masses to learn as he has 4 x 1hr a week and his exercise books are messy and disorganised, which of course is all part of his dyslexia. We've been compiling a few notes and putting them in a separate file, as he ends each topic this year and it's made a massive difference. Good luck to your DD. It seems so wrong that the dyslexic children can flounder so easily. It's so unfair, especially for those who don't have any help at home. sad

cakedup Tue 13-Jun-17 09:47:02

Haven't had a chance to reply properly but just wanted to say thanks for now for helpful posts flowers

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