GCSE Revision Guide 08

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GCSE Revision Guide 08 Powered By Docstoc
					SUPPORT FOR SUCCESS
Helping your child succeed in GCSE exams

Range High School
‘Achievement… And Beyond!’

Making a Difference
Helping your daughter or son to prepare for GCSEs

Advice for parents and guardians

Important dates
• • • • • • • • • • • • • Wednesday 5th November and Monday 10th November – English GCSE Thursday 20th November – Science module Monday 24th – Wednesday 26th November - Mock examinations Monday 1st December – Friday 12th December – Work Experience Monday 15th December – Friday 19th December – Coursework Catchup Week Monday 5th January – Mock results day Friday 9th January – Tuesday 20th January – Maths/Science modules Friday 23rd January – Y11 reports Thursday 29th January – Y11 Parents’ Evening Wednesday 4th March – Monday 9th March – Maths/Science modules Tuesday 12th May – Tuesday 23rd June – all other GCSEs (although Modern Language orals can take place from the beginning of May) There are no exams during the week of the bank holiday, when schools are normally on half-term break. In 2009 this will be the week beginning Monday 25th May. Thursday 25th June – YEAR 11 PROM!

Holidays
Be aware that the English GCSE exams are immediately after the October half-term. Likewise, the main bulk of GCSEs occur straight after the Whit holiday. It is best to avoid going on holiday over these two weeks if at all possible.

Students who do their best in the GCSE exams work hard all through Years 10 and 11 rather than relying on last-minute revision.

Preparing in advance:
Encourage your son/daughter to: • Check that they have all the notes and books they need for revision. Ask them to talk to their teachers if they are missing any. Check that they have completed the blank revision timetable in their planners and included the dates and times of all examinations and modules. They can also include any other important dates (such as birthdays) when you would want them to take some time off from revision. Copy and display the timetable on the bedroom wall. If they want to download a blank revision timetable there will be one available on the school’s website. Ensure that coursework deadlines are also included on the revision timetable and encourage them to complete coursework promptly so that they can concentrate on the exams. Ask for help at school on any parts of their work they do not understand.

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Useful revision tips
You can help your son/daughter by suggesting the following tips: • Plan for half-hour sessions or an hour at most. Any longer and it is likely that nothing more will sink in. They should take a short break in between sessions and have a glass of water or something similar to drink. Plan revision sessions sensibly spreading out the sessions evenly so that students are not planning to do too much at one time. In the evenings after school, plan to revise one or two subjects only. Leave some time for relaxation. Plan to revise specific topics in each subject, not everything at once. Ensure that each session starts with tackling the most difficult bits.

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Plan to cover each subject several times and revisit each one near to the exams. Check how they are doing by letting them explain something they have just learned. It’s a good rule of thumb that if you can follow their explanation then they will be able to produce a good answer to an exam question on that topic. Revising with the TV or radio or with loud music is not a good idea. Having their favourite music in the background may help. Reading is not generally enough. Making brief notes in either words or pictures helps them to remember. Use colours, post-it notes and memory cards - anything that will make the session more active. Have all the books they need to hand so they don’t have to go off looking for information. Working with a friend can be useful because it allows them to test each other and to talk about the work.

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Be aware of varied learning styles
We all learn in diverse ways and we may be very different from our children. An understanding of these differences can help us to support them more effectively, for example: • Kinaesthetic learners like: bullet points, lists, diagrams, posters, post its, card activities, physical movement, group work, role play, simulation, ‘doing’ activities. Visual learners like: posters, mind maps, highlighters, symbols, visual shortcuts, notice the shapes of words, test by remembering the look of a word/diagram. Auditory learners like: telling someone else about a topic, discussion, group work, revising with a friend – testing each other, using linguistic mnemonics – raps, songs, poems, reading aloud, recording information and playing it back.

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Encourage your son/daughter to experiment with different methods of revision and to keep an open mind even if their methods seem to you unorthodox!

During the exam period
Try to ensure that: • Your son/daughter gets a good night’s sleep before exams.

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They have all the equipment they need: - a couple of pens and sharp pencils; - a rubber and ruler; - a watch. Sometimes they may also need: - a calculator; - a protractor.

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They know the start times of every exam that day. You wish them well, tell them they have worked hard enough and that they can only do their best. You look forward to seeing them at the end of the day.

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And when it’s all over
Tell your son/daughter to relax and forget about studying for a while. Perhaps you can celebrate by cooking them their favourite meal.

How parents can help
“Don’t compare your own experiences of exams with your children’s.”

Some suggestions
It goes without saying that all children are different. There is no single approach for how a parent can help out but here are some suggestions:

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Recognise how important these exams are and how much time your son/daughter will need if they are to do as well as they can.

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Secure a quiet, well-lit place for study, where their work can be safely kept and provide the tools necessary for success. Keep interruptions to a minimum when they are working. Encourage them to take regular breaks during revision and to plan relaxation time (too much study is not helpful). Emphasise the need for plenty of sleep. Encourage morning revision when the brain is more receptive and discourage studying right up to bedtime. Discuss with your son or daughter what will be involved in the revision period and what your role could be. Be available and supportive when your son or daughter asks for help. Respond positively to questions like, ‘Can you give me some help with …..?’. Ask exactly how you can help. If you can’t help immediately say when it is convenient. Say helpful things such as ‘How are things going?’ and ‘Let me know when I can help with testing you’. Give plenty of praise and encouragement. Stay calm and don’t expect too much. Keep them well supplied with food and drinks. Keep a low profile. Be prepared to listen when they want to talk about problems. Everything becomes more emotional and heightened during the exam period. Help them to forget about each exam as it is finished. Remind them that it will soon be over and there will be a good break from school when they can catch up on what they have been missing!

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Don’t
• • • Make comparisons with brothers, sisters, their friends and so on. Ask them to do too many chores or look after younger brothers and sisters. Unintentionally add to their anxieties by constantly referring to the exams.

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Relate too much to when you were sitting exams at school or how you did your revision. Worry if their revision techniques seem strange or unusual. Make a battleground out of whether or not they listen to music when doing their revision. Distract them unnecessarily. Expect them to study all the time. Taking some time out to relax has a positive effect on their work.

Help available at school
We will do everything we can to make sure your son/daughter is well prepared for the examinations.

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All pupils will discuss their progress with tutors/mentors and receive a dedicated interview. English support sessions will be provided in the autumn term. Coursework support/catch up sessions will be organised. The pupil planner contains study skills tips and a blank revision timetable for them to fill in. All pupils will receive tutorials on revision techniques after a presentation by a respected external provider. All pupils will receive support materials to guide their revision. Mock results day in January will help to focus pupils and to indicate areas for improvement. Elements of the mock examination will be refreshed if analysis indicates an area of weakness. Individual pupils who are below target will be mentored. Revision guides are on sale in most subjects and will be available through subject teachers and at the Y11 Support and Parents’ evenings.

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Revision classes will be held, after school and during exam leave. Guidance on stress management will be available where appropriate. During the last weeks in school your son/daughter’s timetable may change to allow for special revision sessions in school.

…….and of course PROM night will be organised to help them relax!

Acknowledgements
DfES Tim Foote ‘Making a Difference’ ‘How Parents can Help’