At EdPlace, we’re committed to supporting your child on every step of their academic journey, whether that’s as they start out in Year 1, or at key milestones along the way such as SATs, secondary school transition, or sitting their GCSE examinations.
We know that GCSE examinations can be a stressful time for students and parents, in both the build-up and also throughout the duration of the examination window, which is why at EdPlace, we advocate an early and planned approach to revision and exam preparation. Exam-cramming doesn’t leave anyone feeling calm, confident, or ready to do their best, and we want to avoid this at all costs.
Top Tip: Encourage your child to create revision resources as they move through their exam board specification and complete topics, this way when they reach the end of the course they can spend the time revising and not on revision preparation!
Our GCSE resources cover the full range of topics your child will study and will, therefore, need to show a good understanding of in their final exams. All of our activities have been created by our team of GCSE teachers who really know how to support students to succeed in the exams. We can’t sit the exams for them, but we can ensure they have access to the best resources along the way.
Our resources are organised by exam boards (AQA, Pearson Edexcel, OCR, and Eduqas) so it’s important to ensure your child always selects the relevant one for them so that they’re really maximising their study time. You can see this in the 'Browse' screen when GCSE is selected as the age group:
Before your child begins, it’s worth identifying their preferred approach to working through the activities. We’d recommend your child works in parallel with the topics they’re studying in school so that they can consolidate their learning as they go. Alternatively, they can work their way through the activities topic by topic, being careful not to miss any key concepts.
All of our activities are organised into 3 levels of challenge (to read more about EdPlace levels please click here). If your child is just starting out on a topic, the 1-dash level of difficulty will allow them to get to grips with the ideas, the 2-dash will allow them to build and consolidate, and the 3-dash activities will really allow them to test their understanding at the highest level. If they’re working to a target grade it may be helpful to think of the levels in this way:
- 1 - activities roughly equate to grades 2-4 in terms of difficulty;
- 2 - activities are the equivalent to work required for grades 5-6;
- 3 - work translates to the level of difficulty needed to access the highest grades of 7-9.
If your child wants to really practice the long-form answers in more detail, they can always refer to the 3-dash activities. These activities will often include questions offering multiple marks and will require ‘manual’ marking towards the end of them. Why not set up a timer and see how long it takes for them to write an answer to a question they’re confident with, and then mark their work together? A full mark scheme is provided, so your child can use this to really hone their revision skills and understand what teachers and examiners are looking for. (To find out more about manual marking click here.)
Top Tip: For long-form/essay-type questions, encourage your child to always make a rough plan before they begin answering. The trick here is to be quick - they shouldn’t write in full sentences, but just make a note of key things to include. Being logical, getting information down in the best order and within the time limit is what will allow them to access those higher grades. We always recommend crossing through plans after finishing their answer so the examiner does not try to mark it!
You can use your parent dashboard to keep track of their overall progress throughout the course, and remember, for any activity where your child achieves less than 70% we’ll automatically give them the opportunity to revisit it. We recommend students take us up on this, but perhaps leave a day or two before doing so. Remember the old approach of ‘look-cover-write-and check’? Well… there’s a reason it’s been around for so long! (For more information on the parent dashboard click here.)
Top Tip: Use your progress dashboard as a foundation to help create your child’s own ‘priority revision’ list. Those areas that are flagged as red, require more focus and effort than those that are green. A common mistake is that students spend the most time revising areas they’re already happy with, leaving those areas that they find difficult to the end, or even not at all! Successful revision requires a good understanding of strengths and weaknesses and not being afraid to tackle them head-on. Students feel more satisfied when they have that ‘Eureka’ moment in a ‘tricky’ topic than when they continue to do well in an area they’re already excelling in. They just may require a little more support to do so.
Once they’ve progressed through the course and feel like they have a good understanding of a whole subject area, it may be time to try a practice paper. We’d recommend doing this around the end of term 1 of Year 11 - doing it too soon in a course isn’t always a positive experience, so do bear this in mind. Our practise papers are written by our GCSE teachers, and they mirror the length and style of the different exam boards to simulate the conditions on the actual day of their exam. Unlike our 10-question activities, the practice papers include a timer, so your child can really target their examination technique. Remember, it’s essential that students are not only able to answer the questions to the best of their ability, but that they can do this within the allotted time, just like the real exam.
Top Tip: Before your child begins an exam paper, make sure they are familiar with the structure. If there are long answer questions at the back of the paper, these often carry the most marks and we’d always suggest reading these first so they can get thinking about them early on. It’s also important for students to know how long they’ve got to complete each section of the paper before they begin, and they should be sure to then keep an eye on the clock and stick to their timings!
Adopting good revision habits will not only help your child in their GCSEs, but will also reduce stress levels and help them to feel more confident going forward in their studies. Revision itself is a skill, and as with all skills, we only become successful when we practise it. So, encourage your child to start practising their revision skills today on EdPlace!
If you need any further help or have any questions or suggestions, please contact our friendly Customer Support Team via email at firstname.lastname@example.org - we are here to help you get the most out of using EdPlace!