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GCSEs 2018

(999 Posts)
DoNotBringLulu Sat 12-Aug-17 16:19:56

Hi all, I am sure many of us with dc going into year 11 this year are trepidatious about teachers and pupils thrown in at the deep end due to the new GCSEs.

There is one thing I can do which I hope will help my ds (even though he thinks I'm mad!), which is to get hold of this year's GCSE English Language and English Literature papers, read the books and work through the paper myself - I studied English Lit at university over 20 years ago. I will know for myself after I've done this how difficult the exam papers are at least - I'm not sure who I can ask to mark it for me though!

Can anybody tell me how challenging the Maths and English papers were for their dc? I understand these were the two subjects introduced with the new format.

AlexanderHamilton Sat 12-Aug-17 16:21:15

Checking in.

mumsneedwine Sat 12-Aug-17 17:32:15

You won't get hold of this years GCSE papers until next May - they are locked for a year so schools can use them as mocks.

TheDonald Sat 12-Aug-17 17:56:38

I've also got a y10 going into y11. And I also did eng lit at uni 20 years ago. Are you me?!

I wasn't planning on going as far as you but I did read Animal Farm and A Christmas Carol on holiday. Mainly because my kindle wouldn't connect to the WiFi and they were the only books dd brought (optimistically planning to do some work!)

I had been thinking of starting a thread but I'll ask here: are any of your dc doing any work this summer? Dd had intended to watch all the Mr Bruff videos on the poems and make notes. She was going to do 2 a week. So far no videos have been watched. I haven't really nagged but I feel like she will really regret it next year if she wastes a whole 7 weeks doing nothing. Term time is so busy and there's so much else she needs to do.

Interested to hear what other dc are doing.

lljkk Sat 12-Aug-17 18:17:34

Plan to work thru the papers yourself? Don't you think that's over-invested, or are you home-edding?

NobleGiraffe & others are saying the math paper was hideous this year, expect it be very challenging but grade boundaries set appropriately (ie, low % correct answers can still mean high mark).

DD (overworker) is doing a lot of work this summer.
Don't compare to DD, she's not a healthy model.
Has done 2/3 assigned English essays. Also mostly done with chemistry, RE & physics homework. Part way thru project plan (EP).
Also has a non-academic task related to her subject captaincy (Chem) & is doing some kind of mammoth scrapbook thing for each of her friends.

TheDrsDocMartens Sat 12-Aug-17 18:26:58

I saw them during invigilating. They were tough. English gives quite a lot of marks for spelling & grammar so definitely focus on that and also identifying structure in pieces for the reading parts of Eng Lang.

Maths wasn't as different but was harder and stretches them further than before. Dd2 doing GCSE is covering some similar topics to dd1 at A level

DoNotBringLulu Sat 12-Aug-17 20:18:59

I am not over invested, my ds is self motivated, but feels overwhelmed sometimes and worked hard. Out of interest also as it's 'my' subject I would like to know first hand exactly what is involved.

He will be doing school work over the summer, teachers have set some work, and I am taking him to see Romeo and Juliet.

It is bad luck to be taking these new GCSEs before we all know how they will work out. He's been predicted as 7 for English Language and a 5 for English Literature.

DoNotBringLulu Sat 12-Aug-17 20:21:04

Posted too soon.....without being able to compare previous years, it must be hard to predict grades?

BackforGood Sat 12-Aug-17 20:35:40

My youngest is between Yrs 10 and 11.
No, I won't be getting that involved. I will support where I can, but a lot of that will be letting her know there is no point in stressing about the papers changing, etc. - there is no point in worrying about things you can't change is my philosophy. Nobody knows how things will pan out in most of the subjects. Even in Eng and maths there's only been one experimental year. All our dc can do is their best. The teachers will be doing their best to teach to the untried curriculum. Our dc will do well to be revising throughout the year (well, since the start of yr 10 but a bit late to be thinking of that now if they haven't been wink), as they will go back to the fact everything is dependent on a few weeks of exams.
I also think practising writing for a couple of hours is worth while if their schools aren't making them do this, as normally they've not had to do this.
As you say - we won't be able to predict the grades so again, no need to fret about that, just focus on doing the best they can, given their own skills and abilities.

TheSecondOfHerName Sun 13-Aug-17 15:43:57

DS2 is much more disciplined and self-motivated than DS1 was. He has done 30 minutes to an hour of self-directed study every day since the beginning of Y10, including in the school holidays.

Maths comes fairly naturally to him; he got A* in the mock Level 2 Further Maths certificate he took at the end of Y10.

English Literature does not come naturally to him. His ASD means that inference is not straightforward, and he doesn't always understand the motivation of the characters. Because of this, he works extra hard on it. For each text, he has created quote banks for each character and theme, and practises writing paragraphs in answer to imaginary questions. All of this is without any prompting or input from me.

DS1 was completely the opposite and needed a lot of input and support to help him with memory difficulties and organisational issues. I'm very glad that it's DS2 who will be doing the new style of GCSEs.

ifonly4 Sun 13-Aug-17 19:26:32

My DD sat the English and Maths exams this year and personally from what she said, teachers have said locally and online, it's the maths exam that I'd be worried about. DD said 11 exams, maths seemed horrendous at the time and that's the one she's concerned about.

Hulababy Sun 13-Aug-17 19:34:34

DD will be sitting the new GCSEs next summer too.

This summer she has just done a bit of maths and Chemistry - two areas her school suggested her to focus on. Not much yet as we've been away for first half of the holidays, but starting properly for next 3 weeks and some done this week. Back into it properly when school resumes.

Already ensured only holidays booked in are October and February - no holidays at Easter and May in 2018 sadly. And she will have mocks straight after Christmas which is a bit rubbish!

I've already bought all the new updated study guides for her subjects so she will continue to use those.

Im trying to to think too much about the actual exams she will have to sit - hopefully school will have some measure of it and will guide them on that score.

Stickerrocks Sun 13-Aug-17 19:48:55

DR has done some maths sheets, but is struggling to get motivated to do the geography & science work recommended. She's at work for 3 days this week & possibly for the two weeks after as well. I can see all her good intentions slipping away. She did do the prefect rotas for next term while she was on holiday, so she is perfecting the act of ignoring the important stuff in preparation for next year!

Sadik Sun 13-Aug-17 20:49:09

DD has GCSEs next summer too. We're in Wales - still have new spec qualifications, but remaining on letter grades rather than 9-1 grading. She's not done any school work AFAIK other than looking at her group's script for drama GCSE.

She sat both her language GCSEs (Welsh & English) last term as her school has them do the language exams in yr 10 then lit exams in yr 11 so she's waiting to see how they went - also 1 module each from the three sciences. I was really dubious about the early entry (though all the local schools seem to do it this way), but I have to say I think it was actually very good in terms of giving an easy-in to revision, exam stress etc.

LooseAtTheSeams Sun 13-Aug-17 21:26:59

DS1 going into y11 too. He's done a bit of computer prep but has loads of geography questions to do. There's also an English language practice paper and some music revision. Apart from reminding him to do it I'm not getting too involved. I think the crunch is once term starts - if he claims not to have homework he'll be told to revise science!
What worries me is the amount of art coursework he'll need to get done as well as having more exams in some of the other subjects than previously.

Mmzz Mon 14-Aug-17 05:07:52

I've been trying to encourage DS to do some work on the middle weeks of the holiday, not the first or the last. Not much, just start committing to memory some of the huge volume of stuff he'll need next Spring.
He doesn't say no, but he's not moving to pick up his books either

LadyinCement Mon 14-Aug-17 08:47:06

I would urge subtlety. Read the books but in private. Don't do the papers yourself - especially if you are going to get 90% - because it will demoralise a struggling (or even non-struggling!) dc. You want to be able to support - not interfere and take over.

Can you imagine what you would have said if your parent had been doing GCSE (O Level!) practice papers and pointing out where you were going wrong? It takes a very receptive type of child to go along with this without exploding/disengaging.

BeyondThePage Mon 14-Aug-17 09:26:16

DD16 did hers this year,

loved English, said there were no surprises, everything in the exam had been covered.

Maths - as with all the kids (on Edexcel) - the last question on the first paper stumped them (she did what they were told - write down everything you do know, don't focus on what you don't.), but the rest was mainly ok.

Her school has not played on the "OMG it's different, OMG the kids are going to be in trouble, OMG change, change, change" thing that lots of people seem to be so worried about though, so they just prepped the kids as normal - covered what was required by the curriculum and helped them with their reasoning skills.

So it depends on the school really - if they teach the stuff as normal, and don't phase the kids with all the doom and gloom talk, then the papers will be as challenging as any other year.

KingscoteStaff Mon 14-Aug-17 16:26:40

Checking in.
DS has done one History essay, some Biology and some Maths revision. He has re-read the novel and is reading a book about the Cold War as that is where they're starting in September.

LooseAtTheSeams Mon 14-Aug-17 18:29:03

Some geography done today. Evidence is on the floor next to the computer!

Sadik Mon 14-Aug-17 18:53:32

Asked dd today, & she says she's planning some work on drama with the motive of getting her way regarding disagreements over the script by doing the work in the likelihood that others in her group won't be bothered to redo it.
She's also intending to do some extra background for Welsh Bacc coursework - mostly because she disagrees with her teacher as to the way extremism has been defined in class sessions.
I'm not sure improving her grades or getting ahead for year 11 features in either of these plans grin

Regarding English, I am planning on reading the novel (TKAM) but only because I've never read it and have always meant to (And not because I can forsee a year of hearing all the ways in which she disagrees with her teacher and classmates on subtleties of interpretation, honest . . .).

Actually that reminds me that dd has asked me to order Go Set A Watchman from the library for her but again I'm not sure it's going to add much to her GCSE work!

TheSecondOfHerName Tue 15-Aug-17 09:43:29

From DS1, I remember Y11 feeling a bit relentless. Controlled assessments, then looking at sixth forms, then revision for mocks, then mocks, then choosing A-level options for the internal sixth form application, then organising work experience, then revision for exams then 6 weeks of exams themselves. There was no let-up. Hopefully we'll have a support thread.

traviata Tue 15-Aug-17 21:19:00

DD is having a break over summer, apart from her Music coursework and some English homework. She is also watching some favourite TV shows on Netflix with Spanish audio by way of Spanish practice.

I think the pressure is so great on them now, she needs a summer relaxing and larking about.

LooseAtTheSeams Wed 16-Aug-17 08:11:43

That sounds a great idea for language - DS1 watches films in Japanese with English subtitles and it seems to help.
Bit of geography, an English paper and a bit more computing. I'm taking music revision on holiday but suspect it may get ignored!
Not doing any practice exam papers despite school requests. He can hit the ground running in September.
I'm not really looking forward to the chivvying but I have a suspicion it's going to speed by all too quickly!

DoNotBringLulu Wed 16-Aug-17 21:38:53

My is ds saying he can't remember what work he needs to do, and is refusing to even look at what is planned for him to do for school over the summer holidays at the moment....I don't worry about him not doing the work, he stoically gets on with it when it suits him, but often at the last minute. His choice, if he feels

He said he will give it his attention next week and says next year will 'not be fun' really not looking forward to it at all.

I am taking him to see a Tudor house locally, they are studying Tudors in Sept, also the Mary Rose....to keep him interested.

He's asked me for help with structuring study for year 11 - does anybody know of any good books for this? It won't work unless the ideas come from him, he likes me to make suggestions. He finds writing down main bullet points on card and reading them over useful.

Also we have to look at colleges in September - this is a new one on me, when do they have to apply?

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