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Any tips from those who’s kids got great GCSE grades?(108 Posts)
What do you think helped your kids achieve good results?
My ds will be doing his in a couple of years. He’s doing ok but definitely needs to put more effort in. I’d be really grateful for any tips.
DS2 got good GCSE results: mostly 9s, the rest 8s.
I think his success was due to a combination of three factors:
1. Aptitude: he has a good memory, learns quickly and retains information.
2. Favourable circumstances: he had very good teaching and a supportive family environment.
3. Hard work: from the end of Y10 onwards he did a bit of extra study and revision every day, increasing the amount as the exams got closer.
I think Third has summed it up pretty well.
Definitely work steadily all through Y11.
Have a good system for ensuring dc knows what to work on- d's did a red, amber, green on each topic for each subject. There is a lot of temptstionvto go over stuff that's comfortable!
Variety- use BBC, Me Brief, You Tube.
Help them organise a work space and a place to keep books and files.
If he's not done his options yet - having subjects you're genuinely interested in is a big help. DD would say she did 'hardly any' work for physics - that's because she spends loads of her 'spare' time reading books/articles about it, doing citizen science projects, etc.
If you find you're not so keen on a subject later on or find it harder than expected - exam technique can get you an awful long way. In dd's case that was French - she analysed sentence constructions that picked up marks, and just memorised lots of variations / vocabulary to use that would fit in lots of different contexts.
But as TheThird says, quite a bit of it is down to luck - in particular having a retentive memory and not getting stressed out by exams. I think it does help to make sure that dc know that really, the important thing is what you learn - the exams are just a measure of that, and if it does go wrong it's really not the end of the world, there are lots of options still.
Ensuring that they revise properly for end of topic tests during yr 10 and 11 rather than thinking they know it because they have just done it. DS didn't do this in yr 10 but did in yr 11 and wishes he had done this earlier. Also doing flash cards for topics as he went along - again started in yr 11 but wished he had in yr 10.
DD1's teachers have given a very consistent message of getting into the habit of revising and consolidating knowledge throughout the GCSE course. From the beginning, make notes/flash cards or whatever it is that help you commit factual stuff to memory. Learn quotes. There's an awful lot of memory work, and it's much easier to do it on a little and often basis.
It's a marathon not a sprint. Right from the start of the GCSE course, they need to keep on top of it, do the homework properly, revise for tests, listen/concentrate in lessons. It's very easy for them to think they'll just cram their revision in the few weeks before the exams, but there's simply too many subjects and too much to learn when you're so close. My son kept up and got good marks/grades throughout years 10 and 11 and was very glad he did because he simply didn't have time to revise properly, even though he started just before Easter, plenty of topics weren't revised, but he muddled through because he could just about remember enough from when they were taught it a year or two earlier.
What a great thread. Thanks for the helpful tips. My DS needs to put more effort in but still has three years so the advise of can't learn it all in the last few weeks will come in handy to remind him.
1. Most important: Don't have any sen, including any processing, communication, or memory difficulties.
2. Have a supportive family where there is a private space to work and parents who value education
3. Go to a school where other kids confirm to 1 and 2.
I should add that point 1 is most crucial. Sadly meeting criterion 2 will not guard against failing point 1.
Mine got great GCSEs last year and has just got all A’s at AS. (No A* at AS).
His modus operandi seemed to be:
Staying on top of homework
Catching up after any absence: cover what was missed.
If something is not fully understood, do your own research. The internet has the curriculum.
In GCSE years, read over the week ‘s notes over the weekend.
I was quite hands off. I did book tickets for stage productions of the Eng Lit texts and we did a couple of days out that happened to suppprt history but aside from that I just made sure he packed his bag properly and shouted ‘have you done all your homework ‘ on a regular basis. I don’t know much about what he was actually studying.
Mine did pre-reformed GCSEs. DD1 achieved 12 A*s at GCSE and all A*/A at A level. DD2 managed A*/A in all but Drama, taking A levels next year.
Both are well-organised. Both have quiet places to work. Both know that revision starts when the course starts so have made notes, flashcards, revision sheets etc. Both revise for tests and use comments to help them to do better next time. They like to use colour so I bought stacks of coloured pens and post-it notes. They found revision guides really useful.
For English, they would listen to set texts whilst doing something else. DD2 is a really strong auditory learner so found this the best way for her. DD1 likes mind-maps/spider diagrams and postcards with bullet points on them.
During the courses they both found somethings tricky. They did some collaborative work (yes, via social media) with friends, especially character studies which they each uploaded to group chats, but more importantly, got into the habit of asking their teachers if they didn't understand. This has continued to uni where DD1 emails her supervisor for clarification if necessary.
As a parent, I laid off nagging about the state of their bedrooms, ensured they had regular nutritious meals and encouraged them to go to bed at a reasonable time. I also exempted them from chores if they went to revise/work but if they were found to have abused that privilege, they got double work the next time (only happened once!) We also talked about how they were doing, both things that were going well and those less so, and if they had an issue, they knew they could talk to us.
Go to a school with no children with memory/ processing issues? Seriously??
1. Always do the homework and any extra parts.
2. Have a private space with desk/computer to do work at.
3. Private tuition if necessary.
Place to study
Desire to succeed
A bit of luck with exam questions
Hard work/ well organised
If one of these is missing, they are less likely to succeed
Sorry, my sarcasm wasn't obvious enough.
My DS has just failed 4 GCSES because of his communication difficulties caused by autism. He passed with high grades (all 6 or above) the ones which didn't require extended answers.
His IQ has been measured at 96th percentile.
Oldbirdy, phew! I did think it was rather an extreme view, but then again, I've heard lots of those, regarding SEN pupils...
My daughter is about to start year 10 and has ADD, processing and working memory issues. I totally relate to your son's experience; we are bracing ourselves for the same. If I hear, " H's exam results do not reflect her ability in class" one more time, I may scream.
The current exam system doesn't cater for children like ours, and it sucks.
DS got 12 A * at GCSE and 4 at A level and all A at AS Level.
As well as above advice he read through the curriculum and checked for any gaps in his knowledge. He studied to fill the gaps (especially in computing) using text books from the central library and online. He did loads of past papers and checked the mark schemes so that he could understand what they were looking for.
He and a friend self taught an extra further maths A level mechanics module because they knew it would be important in their university courses.
The key is independent study and not expecting school to spoon feed you.
Back when I did GCSEs I honestly just messed around, did nothing, swapped options 6 months before exams, and even forgot about one of my exams until I got in that morning and everyone asked me how much prep I did last night (obviously 0). I got 10 GCSEs at A/A* grade. I'm also dyslexic and have ADHD. I think the fact the school just let me do my thing with no pressure meant I was able to pick up what I need. You probably know how your kid learns best so just advocate for that. I didn't even read the books for English, I just watched the films, on 2x speed
hailsatan with all due respect, it ain't like that now.
I didn't even read the books for English, I just watched the films, on 2x speed
Great advice .
It really is. Best discovery of my entire schooling!
Here's a very simple tip - buy all the revision guides right at the start of yr 10. Then if the student doesnt get it in the classroom, the guides usually explain it in detail. Useful back-up and most people buy the books too late at Christmas of year 11. They are useful throughout the course
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