At EdPlace, we’re committed to supporting you on every step of your academic journey, whether you’re starting out in Year 1, or approaching key milestones like the SATs, secondary school transition or sitting your GCSE exams.
We know that GCSE examinations can cause stress both in the build-up to them and also, throughout the exam window, which is why at EdPlace, we advocate an early and planned approach to tackling this key milestone. Exam-cramming doesn’t leave anyone feeling calm, prepared or ready to do their best, and we want to avoid this at all costs.
Top Tip: Create revision resources as you move through the exam board specification and complete topics, this way when you reach the end of the course you can spend the time revising and not on preparing to revise!
Our GCSE resources cover the full range of topics you’ll study and need to have a good grasp of. They’ve all been created by our team of GCSE teachers who really know how to help you succeed in the exams. Although we can’t go into the exams with you, we can ensure that you have access to the best resources to get you ready to show your best in the real exam.
Our resources are organised by exam boards (AQA, Pearson Edexcel, OCR, and Eduqas) so make sure you always select the relevant one for you to ensure you’re really maximising your study time. (To find out more about how to assign an activity click here.) It’s worth deciding how you wish to work through the activities before you begin. We’d recommend keeping pace with the topics you are studying in school so that you can consolidate your learning as you go, or alternatively, you can work your way through the activities topic by topic. Just be careful not to jump about and miss key concepts.
You’ll also see that our activities are organised into 3 levels of challenge. If you’re just starting out on a topic, the 1-dash level of difficulty will allow you to get to grips with the ideas, the 2-dash will allow you to build and consolidate, and the 3-dash activities will really allow you to test your understanding at the highest level. If you’re working to a target GCSE grade you may also want to think of the levels in this way:
- 1-dash activities roughly equate to grades 2-4 in difficulty;
- 2-dash activities are the equivalent to work required for grades 5-6;
- 3-dash activities work at the level of difficulty needed to access the top grades 7-9.
If you want to really practice your long-form answers in more detail, you 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 you to write an answer? If you’re confident you will score highly, then ask your parents to mark your work with you to show them how well you are doing! A full mark scheme is provided, so you can use this to really hone your revision skills and understand what teachers and examiners are looking for in the perfect answer.
Top Tip: When answering long-form/essay-type questions make sure that before you begin you ALWAYS do a quick plan first, in rough. The trick here is to be quick - don’t write in full sentences, just make a note of key things you want to include. Getting your information down in the best order and within the time limit is what will allow you to access those higher grades. We always recommend crossing through your plan at the end so that the examiner doesn’t try to mark it!
You can use our student dashboard to keep track of your overall progress throughout your GCSE revision, and remember, for any activity where you achieve less than 70% we’ll automatically give you the opportunity to revisit it. We recommend taking us up on this and perhaps leaving a day or two before trying again. Remember the old approach of ‘look-cover-write-and check’? Well… there’s a reason it’s been around for so long!
Top Tip: Use the progress dashboard as the basis of your own ‘priority revision’ list. Those areas that are flagged as red, require more focus and effort than those that are green. A common mistake to make is to spend time revising areas you’re already happy with, leaving those areas that they find most difficult to at the end, or even not at all! If you want to be successful at revising, it’s about knowing your strengths and weaknesses and not being afraid to tackle them head-on. You’ll feel more satisfied when you have that Eureka moment in a ‘tricky’ topic than when you do well in an area you’re already excelling in.
Once you’ve progressed through a course and feel like you have a good understanding of the whole subject, 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 isn’t a great idea, so please bear this in mind. Our practice papers are written by our GCSE teachers, and they mirror the length, and style of the different exam boards so you can simulate the conditions of the actual day. Unlike our 10-question activities, the practice papers include a timer, so you can practice your true examination techniques. Remember, it’s essential that you’re not only able to answer the questions to the best of your ability but that you also do this within the time limit - just like the real exam.
Top Tip: Before you begin a practice paper, make sure you 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 you read these first so you can get thinking about them early on. It’s also important before you sit an exam to know how long you should take to complete each section of the paper - be sure you then keep an eye on the clock and stick to your timings!
Adopting some of the revision habits we’ve suggested will not only help you reduce your stress levels but will also enable you to feel more confident for your exam and future studies. Revision itself is a skill, and as with all skills, we only improve when we put in the time to practise. As well as knowing the content, you need to competently demonstrate your knowledge within a restricted time period to someone who has no idea of your capabilities. It sounds like a big task, but with a bit of preparation we promise, it’s a lot less daunting. So, what are you waiting for… let’s get practising!