On course for the summer exams!

Practical advice for parents

As the end of the academic year approaches, all secondary school students face some sort of assessment between now and the summer. The urgency of the situation is apparent for GCSE students in Y10 and Y11 and also for AS and A2 students in the sixth form. What is not so obvious to many parents is the fact that assessment for the KS3 students in Y8 and Y9 are absolutely crucial.

The importance of KS3

Despite the withdrawal of SAT examinations at KS3, the importance of achievement at this level is still key. At the end of KS3 students take a set of examinations which determine their grouping for Key Stage 4. This grouping dictates which tier students will follow for the next two years, either at foundation level, with a maximum of a C grade, or at higher level (with the possibility of achieving up to an A* grade). Many parents rightly consider these KS3 exams one of the most important set of exams to excel in due to the crucial role they play in the GCSE grade the student is able to achieve.

Be prepared

The best position is to be prepared all year round, thereby reducing the pressure on young people close to the actual examination time. We at Excel in Science have taken this approach and this is one of the benefits of the Saturday school. We are very pleased that a larger proportion of our current students started with us back in September when the academic year commenced. Irrespective of how well or not one has prepared up till now, it is injudicious to give up at this stage as there is still a lot that can be achieved in the remaining time left before the examinations. Students should make the best of May bank holidays, the summer half-term and any study period they may have from school.

We parents are doing all we can to encourage our young people to do their best in preparing for the examination. Aside from academic competence, there are several other factors that could affect the outcome of the examination results for a student. Some of these issues were addressed in the last newsletter and we will surely revisit some of them in future communications. Below are some questions we as parents ought to be asking our sons and daughters as they prepare for their examinations at this key stage of their life.

Questions for students

  • Do you have a revision plan in place?
  • Are you just revising for your first set of exams or do you have a programme in place to revise for all the exams you are taking, even the ones you are sitting later?
  • Do you have a target grade for each of your subjects and is it the same as what the school has predicted or are you aiming higher?
  • Have you been practising with past examination papers, timing yourself and under exam conditions?
  • Are you sure of the exact module(s) you have been entered for by the school in each subject? Is it higher or foundation tier (for GCSE only)?

We will be making a few pages available on our website to help parents and students in the near future