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Request for advice from parents whose children have done their GCSEs

(101 Posts)
Michaelahpurple Fri 27-Jul-18 21:47:16

Can experienced (traumatised?) parents please advise on buying revision guides or text books?

My year 10 son needs to go over his whole year of physics as his file is pretty much empty, and I would like him to work through some maths topics. He has two old physics textbooks from school so I thought it would make sense to get him a book utterly aligned to the edexcel IGCSE 1-9 exam he will sit next summer - I think that he is the first or possibly second year to do so. Question - should I get a text book or a revision book? I find the CGP products rather thin and silly - are there other, better ones? Ideally I’d like something with questions and answers to work through which reflect the ones in the exam - are there such things?
Similarly for maths - is it important to get a book branded with the same board as he is doing (again edexcel igcse 1-9) or would any new style one be ok?
And finally, when we get to the point of practicing past papers, how have students managed with the reformed syllabuses - does one try to sweep up practice papers from lots of different reformed boards or is there still value in working through historical ones?
Sorry about the list, but I am sure that these are issues others must have tackled so hoping there may be Mumsnet words of wisdom available!

OP’s posts: |
BackforGood Fri 27-Jul-18 22:05:29

We've used the CGP guides, as they were recommended by the school. tbf the school ordered them in, in bulk and then sold them directly to us.
DO you know anyone in Yr11? They might be happy to sell you a job lot of their books (is on my list to get round to selling dd's - but not iGCSE, so not to you [grin).

Walkingdeadfangirl Fri 27-Jul-18 22:15:47

Another vote for CGP, they were the best aligned to the new exams and worked really well.
Couldn't find anything better in paper, but there is lots of very good stuff online/youtube etc.

Rosieposy4 Fri 27-Jul-18 22:23:05

I like the cgp ones but then i have a purile sense of humour. If that grates then any revision guide advertised for your examining body, providing it has 9-1 on it will be fine.

TheThirdOfHerName Fri 27-Jul-18 22:36:28

DS1 (took GCSEs in 2016) and DS2 (took GCSEs in 2018) liked CGP revision guides for KS3 level work but neither found them helpful for GCSE revision.

DS1 did CIE iGCSE sciences and used revision guides published for that specification. The layout was easy to read and the content was in enough detail.

DS2 did AQA GCSE (9-1) for Sciences, the first year group to do so. He used the AQA-approved textbooks published by OUP. The layout was easy on the eye and there were loads of exam-style questions for practice.

For Maths, they both did Edexcel GCSE. They both used the textbook from school (I think it was the Rayner one?) until the February of Y11 then revised by doing a LOT of practice papers.

TheThirdOfHerName Fri 27-Jul-18 22:39:16

I thought DS2 would run out of practice papers for the 9-1 Maths GCSE, but there were enough available. The exam board published some on their website, and the school bulk-bought some more online.

AlexanderHamilton Fri 27-Jul-18 22:40:22

We are awaiting results but Dd is convinced that her Tassomai subscription has saved her GCSE science.

She didn’t get on with the CGP books & found them not in depth enough but she had Collins AQA textbooks/revision books.

TheThirdOfHerName Fri 27-Jul-18 22:48:15

If my child were doing that course, I'd probably buy them this book.

Tassomai was helpful for DS1 but I wouldn't start it now. Probably January of Y11 at the earliest.
- It's more helpful once they've covered most of the course.
- It would take an lot of discipline and motivatation to keep going with Tassomai for 11 months.
- You have to pay a monthly subscription, and 11 months is expensive.

TheThirdOfHerName Fri 27-Jul-18 22:53:18

If he likes learning by watching videos, a lot of Y11s this year found this chap helpful:

YouTube playlist for first Physics topic

It seems to be geared towards AQA, but the principles would be useful for other exam boards too.

Bekabeech Fri 27-Jul-18 23:44:57

I find the CGP ones have relatively few jokes by GCSE stage. I'd suggest looking at them as they might not be what you think.
Ideally you would have asked school which they recommend.
Do get the right book for your syllabus and definitely a 9-1 one.

Bekabeech Fri 27-Jul-18 23:47:08

Oh and my DD loves the videos by freesciencelessons - the teacher who does them has a bit of a cult following. (And they are not showy just very clear.)

flissfloss65 Fri 27-Jul-18 23:50:00

My dc school gave them the CGP books. My dc found them really useful as they break it down.

catslife Sat 28-Jul-18 09:27:24

If he has an empty folder then he needs more depth than the CGP books can provide. It is the first year for the new 9-1 iGCSEs but you need the relevant text books. I would suggest a book such as this one which is published by Pearson who are linked with Edexcel
There are also CGP workbooks for GCSE/iGCSE that contain practice questions (make sure that you buy the version that has the answers as well).
dds school had suitable past papers for exam practice that could be accessed using their login details via the school website as directed by the teachers.

Malbecfan Sat 28-Jul-18 15:23:53

I have found CGP distils the information down as far as possible, so it is really hard to condense anything further. They cover the main points, so as revision guides, they are great.

It sounds like your DS needs a bit more than that if his folder is empty. Ask current year 11 if any of them is willing to sell on text or revision books. Look at online resources; not all of them cost money. Download the syllabus and go over it with him to see what he can remember.

mmzz Sat 28-Jul-18 23:00:26

CGP, YouTube freescience lessons and aTassomai subscription would be the combination I'd recommend. Between these three, any DC should do well.

PandaG Sat 28-Jul-18 23:07:10

School recommended CGP, they were fine for DD. You definitely need to buy books or revision guides that are board specific, as each board is slightly different.

Agree that a local facebook page could be useful to buy from last year students second hand. We will be selling all of DD's once she has her results and knows if she needs any resist.

Youtube videos can be really useful, as can BBC bite-size. Ask school for recommended course books too.

mmzz Sat 28-Jul-18 23:15:11

Past papers were a problem. The exam board publishes some sample past papers and the 2017 maths exam will be on the website now. Otherwise a couple of private companies have written their own, which you can buy.
They are a sparse resource,though, and therefore best left to when they can be most effectively deployed (i.e. In the mocks and in April-June).

Everyone has the same issue though, so it's comparing like with like.

mmzz Sat 28-Jul-18 23:18:40

I bought the maths edexcel text book. It was about £25. DS never used it.

The History and geography text books were worth every penny.

Physics- CGP was enough for content. Free science lessons for understanding and Tassomai for memory.

Michaelahpurple Sun 29-Jul-18 12:08:24

Thank you all - really helpful. Sounds as though I should get over myself on cgp and pick a selection of textbooks and cgp as appropriate.

Thank youb

OP’s posts: |
AtiaoftheJulii Sun 29-Jul-18 17:18:45

I went for various exam board-branded textbooks and workbooks, just looked through Amazon to see what appealed. I'm not a great CGP lover.

My dd has Tassomai, and I think they recommend starting earlier than later (well, obviously they would from a financial standpoint!), but I don't know if you'd manage to finish the course if you didn't start till January? They offer the guarantee that if you complete the course you'll get at least a 7 or your money back.

TheThirdOfHerName Sun 29-Jul-18 17:38:02

Tassomai recommend 6 months to complete the science courses, which would mean starting in November.

They offer the guarantee that if you complete the course you'll get at least a 7 or your money back.

I know several people who have used Tassomai and found it helpful, but is it actually possible to complete the course? The tracker drains overnight, so even if they reach 100% the day before the exam, it drops below that by the morning.

If there are posters whose DCs were at 100% on the day of their exam, then I'm happy to be corrected on this.

lljkk Sun 29-Jul-18 17:39:55

I hope your son wants all this extra revision.

Needmoresleep Sun 29-Jul-18 17:44:25

For various exams (including the nightmare that was CE RE) we went to the huge department at the Waterstones in Bloomsbury and allowed ourselves to be guided by the knowledgeable staff. Useful if you are doing more than one board.

mmzz Sun 29-Jul-18 17:47:16

Thethird I think what Tassomai does is get to100% without you having done 100%of each part. It seems to recalibrate every so often, but with hours to go, it almost does it without a break. I think the only way to get to 100% and stay there is to get to 100% completed, rather than progress on every sub level.
It's a bit opaque though.

TBH if your DC needs a 7+, and gets a 6-, a refund is going to be very small compensation.

DS did about 80% of Tassomai in two months, and that was in and amongst revising for and taking other exams. So, I think you can do it in less time than suggested on the Tassomai site.

MaisyPops Sun 29-Jul-18 17:50:50

Ask the school if they have preferred ones. I only say this because loads of people seem to buy the CGP ones for our set texts in English and I don't think they have enough depth in (personally) to stretch the highly able students.

In terms of mock papers, please avoid the ones on the exam board webpages because they are often the y11 mocl papers (it's also why it's bloody irritating when tutors, who know this, decide to do it with their tutees just before mock time probably so they can claim their student went up so quickly with them )

Schools also tend to provide revision material. I put mine on electronically for students.

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