As your child prepares for Year 11 GCSE examinations, they may feel under pressure with the amount of school work and revision expected. In school, staff will be working with students to provide guidance, advice and support about revision, as well as delivering the rest of the GCSE courses.

Parental support is eight times more important in determining a child’s academic success than social class (TES, 2003). The good news is that you don’t need to be an expert in any of the subjects your child studies to make a real difference. Any encouragement and support you can offer at home will be hugely beneficial to your child’s success in their exams and this will also help combat any potential negative stress.

Ensure your child attends school regularly and on time

90% attendance means one in ten days is missed; over the course of a school year this is the equivalent of four weeks and can be worth more than a grade!

Talk to your child about what they’re learning

Ask them about what they covered in class, any homework / coursework they have to do and deadlines they need to meet.

Contact your child’s teacher if you have any questions or concerns about your child.

Be flexible and use the 80/20 rule

If your child is sticking to what they are supposed to be doing 80% of the time, they will be doing it right.

Practical ways to support your child

  • Help them plan their work and revision around other commitments and meet deadlines
  • Stick key dates in a prominent place such as the fridge
  • Provide your child with a quiet place to study where they won’t be disturbed
  • Encourage your child to have a clear goal by the end of the revision period – e.g. At the end of these 2 hours I will be able to label a diagram of the heart and answer a question on how the heart works
  • Make sure they take regular breaks – for every twenty to forty minutes or revision, students should have a ten-minute break.
  • Test your child on the work they have been revising – this will help them (and you) understand what they know and where they need to focus more attention.
  • Ensure that they eat healthy food and drink plenty of water – a balanced diet is just as important now as ever.
  • Ensure your child gets enough sleep – teenagers need between eight and ten hours sleep (Sleep Foundation)

Ways that ACE can help

  • Ensure that your child has a range of stationery available to them – this can range from highlighters and colour pens, smaller “flash card” style pieces of paper or card, A4 paper etc. Please ask your teacher or the Exams Manager if you need any of these support items.
  • Students can, with advanced notice, access additional studies / revision sessions / homework slots through enrichment – these are offered by almost all subjects in the build up to exam time but are not a substitute to timetabled lessons.
  • After school support – with advanced notice, students could stay at ACE from 3-3.30pm if they need somewhere quiet to study.
  • ACE teachers can provide additional exam level practice materials – students can ask teachers for exam questions and practical work to support your revision.
  • ACE teachers can provide additional work to help close learning gaps – ask teachers for worksheets that can be practiced and completed at home.

Revision ideas for your child to try

  • Read notes and write summaries, before returning and using a highlighter for key points to use in testing.
  • Work through old exam papers and practice questions – some are available in revision guides and textbooks or from department staff. Students will know which subject uses which exam board.
  • Record notes on an audio device and listen back to them.
  • Put key points onto post-it notes and stick them around a room.
  • Make mind maps to help recall key points in a topic.
  • Create flash cards with questions on one side and the answers on the other – these are good for testing knowledge recall and it’s easy for someone else to help.
  • Use mnemonics to help remember items in a list.
  • Borrow individual subject revision guides (check with teachers to see which are most suitable).
  • Teach someone else a topic once having revised it themselves.
  • Prepare planned answers to potential exam questions and get these checked by teachers.
  • Write answers to exam questions in full and get these checked by teachers.