January and February tends to be the time when most schools run GCSE mock exams. A very stressful time for students, teachers and parents. So have they gone well, been okay or been a disaster in your household?
Funnily enough I get super busy at this time of year as students and parents look for that extra support to get them to the finish line. So, what do I advise my students?
Firstly, do not panic as these results are not the real thing, they are just a measure of where you are now and not where you will be in May and June. Students do need to be really honest with themselves and be aware of how much revision they did for these exams. I had one very honest young man this week who got 3’s across the board but actually did no revision at all. So he realised with a bit of effort he could pass them all and with even more effort he could get those grades even higher. For him he needed to do badly first to completely understand that he needed to do some work. Great learning for him.
What about those students that did hours of revision and didn’t get the marks they were aiming for? Well let me tell you its not about how many hours you revise for, it’s about revising in the right way for you and using the right tools. Too often teenagers are told to revise for 3-4hrs a day and they actually don’t have a clue how to get the information into their long term memory.
At the time of writing this blog there is about 84 days to go before the exams start. This is 2016 hours even allowing for lots of sleep there is plenty of time to fill in those gaps in knowledge.
I also think one of the most important things to help our teenagers with is the positive mindset or learning mind set. So “I can; I will; It’s possible are all examples of helping the brain help your teenager look for success. How many times have you told yourself I can’t do something or it’s too hard and guess what you find that something too hard and can’t do it.
Last year I set myself the goal of mastering technology. I used to tell myself I can’t do tech or I’m rubbish at it. In a year I have learnt how to do so many new things and more importantly I just have a go at anything new. Guess what, everything I used to find difficult is now easy and I am happy to explore new things.
If we can get our teenager’s into the right mind set then we are half way there. There is no escaping it, GCSE’s are probably the biggest thing they’ve done to date and all they can do is their best. To be able to do their best they really need to know how to revise and use the right tools. If things aren’t working for them then 2 or 3 121 sessions with me can put them back on track.
Get in contact if you need any help or join my facebook group The Learning Coach Collective where I post lots of useful information to help you get through this difficult time, plus the group is full of parents just like you. I’ve been through the GCSE journey with my own teenager and will go through it again with my youngest. It’s tough going and can be stressful but with the right support and revision techniques we can make it much easier.