Y10 students – as you look forward to the final year of your GCSEs

Y10 students – as you look forward to the final year of your GCSEs

For those students who are just completing Y10 – the first year of GCSE, by the end of the Summer term, they will have completed between 60 to 65% of the GCSE content. There are internal exams going on in schools in the final weeks of the Summer term and, in many cases, these exams will be used to decide if students will be entered for the higher or the foundation tier exams. The result usually determines the set they are put into in Y11 and students who are in the foundation tier are not exposed to higher tier material and the chances of moving into higher sets diminish as time goes by. It must be noted that, in good schools, testing carries on throughout both Y10 and Y11 and the results are used to good effect.

League table, preferences, prejudices and professional judgement of teachers!

There are perfectly good reasons to make a student sit the foundation tier examination, if that is the best way for that student to achieve a good pass grade. Most teaching colleagues are caring and reasonable people and they do not bear grudges or allow their prejudices to interfere with their professional judgment; particular given what is at stake for the young person in question. However, sadly, an ugly aspect exists in too many cases amongst certain teachers. Some teachers will do all they can to prevent a child they do not like for one reason or the other from sitting the higher tier exam. In many cases, it is because they perceive the child to be lazy or arrogant or lacking in focus and they use this reason, wrongly, to justify putting – and fighting rigorously to keep him or her (usually him!) – in the lower set.

I believe very strongly that the school’s league table position or personal prejudices should never be used in making judgement about which tier of entry a child should be entered for at GCSE. All decisions ought to be based on what is in the best interest of the child.

Good news!

Despite the rigour of the new and more challenging number grade GCSEs and potential horror teachers, a significant improvement can still be achieved in the final year of GCSE irrespective of the student’s attainment level at the end of Y10. It is, clearly, less of a challenge if the student is still in the higher tier, or if there is movement between sets in the particular school the student attends. Movement between sets in Y11, which exists in all good schools, is mainly dependent on test performance.

Observation and statistics show that students can still improve by two or three grade boundaries between the end of Y10 and the following year’s summer, when they sit their GCSE exams.

My recommendations to students who are going into the final year of GCSE:

  1. Take the end of Y10 exams very seriously and do your best to succeed in them
  2. Make the very best of the time of June and July You should still be getting homework assignment for school – all the way to the end of the academic year. If you do not get homework, use revision guides and workbooks for question-practice
  3. By all means, participate and enjoy all the extra-curricular in the final weeks of the summer term – like Duke of Edinburgh and so on. They are good for your development; however, maintain focus on your academic work at the same time.
  4. Put yourself in a success-oriented environment – starting from the way you organise your living and studying environment, the peers you hang around with
  5. Be very careful in how you invest your time and learn to concentrate and study for a reasonable amount of time. Find the study period /duration that works best for you – this should be between 1.5 to 2 hours, with a short break
  6. Technology – gadgets and your devices….

Keep your electronic devices away when studying. Do not use them for checking time or playing music. If you have to, put it on aircraft mode for most of the time and only listen to relaxing music

  1. Use of valuable resources – make the best of your teachers and study materials and, most importantly – your most valuable asset: your body and mind. Eat well, drink well (more water as opposed to sweet drinks), sleep well and do more exercise
  2. Over the summer break, do some work by using revision guides and workbooks for question practice

You can look forward to weeks and weeks of relaxation from the middle of June to the first week of September next year – when you’ll have plenty of time to relax and rejoice – after your GCSEs!

See below for some useful links:


EBacc becomes more challenging with the new GCSE grading system of 9 to 1

Success Tips for GCSE Y10


The Masterclass event on 26th July 2019

During this event, I will be sharing with you many tips, ideas and good practices that I have observed in the last three or so decades as being instrumental in helping successful students and their families.

At this event, we will have a well-known public speaker – Mike Southon – a best-selling author of several books, including the Beermat Entrepreneur. Mike has interviewed Richard Branson, has appeared on BBC and has also written columns for the Daily Telegraph, Financial Times and Mail on Sunday.

We will also be launching our new, mainly online-based programme – Excel iLearn.

  • a Personalised Online Tutoring programme which delivers high quality and cost-effective online teaching for GCSE and A-level students, utilising bespoke, personalised feedback from qualified tutors, ensuring each student receives relevant feedback and advice