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Spotlight on: GCSEs

Easter is around the corner and before we know it, the summer term will be upon us. With teachers set to decide GCSE grades by 18 June, we wanted to focus on how to make the most of the final few months – including the Easter holidays ahead.


GCSE grading explained


After last year’s confusion, the government has confirmed that there will be no GCSE exams this summer, and that teachers will allocate grades based on work completed throughout the year. This could include coursework, mocks, essays, or even short assessments set by the exam board – although these won’t be sat under exam conditions.


While some have warned of inconsistencies, overall the move to teacher-assessed grades has been welcomed given the circumstances. For students, it removes an element of the unknown in a year that’s been marked by uncertainty. And while there won’t be a moderation algorithm, schools and exam boards will be conducting quality assurance.


So what should GCSE students be doing now? Shifting away from an exam-focused mindset is undoubtedly a challenge, particularly for those who feel exams are a strength. That’s why it’s important to start now, to stay focused and to take every assignment seriously – while also remembering to take a break.


Slow and steady wins the grades


This year’s students may not face the intense pressure of exam time, but for many this means months of latent anxiety instead. The Easter holidays are the perfect time to press pause and take a break, while addressing any issues and keeping up a slow, steady pace to help ease the load when school resumes. Here are Figtree’s five ways to stay sharp and make the most of the upcoming holiday:


Study little and often – studies suggest concentration wanes after 45 minutes. It’s better to study for a shorter time every day, than cram everything in at once.


Read anything – you don’t need to stick to school books to broaden the mind. Novel, non-fiction, newspaper… reading something every day can help keep your eye in.


Head outdoors – with the weather improving, it can be a real breath of fresh air to take your studies outside.


Stay active – plan in screen-free time when you can get out and do something physical. Even if it’s just a walk around the neighbourhood.


Try something new – take a crash course in a new language. Trial a complicated new recipe. Pick up an arty hobby. It doesn’t matter what you do, but trying something a bit different breaks up the routine, and teaches you new skills at the same time.


Get off to a flying start


We know that getting started is sometimes the hardest step. Scheduling and structuring revision can be tricky too. That’s why we’re offering GCSE group sessions that focus on the ‘bigger picture’ of good revision – from using your time more effectively to staying motivated. Combining the best of tailored, targeted tuition with peer-based learning, our students have found these sessions invaluable – and more importantly – really enjoyable.


Meanwhile, our ‘kickstart’ sessions are designed to get students out of the blocks, with regular check-ins to keep everyone on track. Our tutors can create digestible, productive and achievable revision plans to help ensure studies stay sustainable –  and we have plenty of tips and tricks for parents wondering how best to support their children too. 


For more details on how we can help, or to register for one of our group sessions, just get in touch with the Figtree team.

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