GCSEs represent a major coming of age milestone for thousands of 16-year-olds across the UK every year. For many, GCSEs are the final traditional exam on their path to their first career. For others, the exams are a stepping stone to an exploration of a brand new sphere of learning.

As a parent, you want to help your child in everything that he or she partakes in. The current educational climate is now more competitive than ever, with university entry requirements rising every year. Your child will certainly be feeling the pressure and you’re going to want to support them as efficiently as possible.

It can be a difficult time for both you and your child. You don’t want to risk starting preparation too early and having your child burn out but you also don’t want them to leave it too late and start cramming. We will guide you on when is best to start preparing your children for GCSEs and some of the best ways you can support them along the way.

How Can Parents Make a Difference?

Sometimes a parent may feel powerless. That their children and their education will be determined by factors out of their control. This could not be further from the truth. Parental support is 8 times more important in determining a child’s academic success than
social class.

The good news is that you don’t need to be an expert in any of the subjects your child chooses in order to make a real difference. You also don’t need to give up your life and other responsibilities, you just need to know how best to spend the time you do have.

One of the hardest demands on students is that of understanding the long-term importance of doing the best they can and learning to shelve short-term fun at times in the interest of long-term benefits. Children will also differ in their levels of maturity, their ability to take responsibility for their learning, organisational skills and levels of motivation.

This is where parents come in. Your support, encouragement and interest can make a spectacular difference to your child’s motivation and ability to cope with the academic and organisational demands during the exam period.

How Have GCSEs Changed?

GCSEs were introduced in 1988, as the more student-friendly O levels. The new qualification established a national qualification for school leavers at 16 and offered a wider subject range – a welcome change to students with more specific learning interests.

GCSE grading worked on a letter scale, from A to G, with a GCSE C a rough equivalent to a C at O Level. This was changed by the government in 2016 after an overhaul of the GCSE exams.

So now instead of being graded with A, A, B, C, D, E, F or G, papers are now given a 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 or 1 grading. The highest three grades (9, 8 and 7) are replacements for A and A, with the top 20% of those being graded 9.

This might sound confusing, but essentially a new standard has been set. There are 3 top grades instead of 2 now, so in essence, the new level 9s are equivalent to an A**. This gives students more room to excel and achieve higher results.

However, there is a bigger emphasis placed on exams. The new courses include much less coursework than before, with only some of the more practical subjects like Dance, Art and Drama containing this element of assessment. Most exams will now also be taken at the end of a two-year course, removing the module system that was previously in place for some subjects.

Due to this, supporting your children with exams and revision is more important than ever.

How to Be There for Your Child

It is very important that your child can grow and learn things at his or her own pace, but if you are worried about situations, it is equally important to step in and take care of it. Unfortunately, it is a delicate subject, and it is crucial, as a mother or father, that you do not become too overpowering. In fact, this could have the opposite effect and adversely discourage your child from learning.

Therefore, you need to think about this on an individual basis. There are no real hard and fast rules in terms of timelines, as in our experience, some students will benefit from early starts and others won’t.

The following things are well worth considering in order to safely hit the happy medium with your child:

Start early

Prepare months ahead with new exercises and research questions help to stop dominating negative elements. Fear, anxiety, stress and pressure can be prevented, or at least dramatically reduced if your child is allowed to prepare long before the final exams take place.

Early can be a subjective term so you will have to think about how your children normally react to things. If they normally need prior warning and planning to feel comfortable, then plan earlier. If they get stressed easily and overthink when it comes to planning, don’t start too early.

Study Timetable

It is also very important to help your child prepare a detailed study timetable. Doing this will allow your child’s way of thinking to have a plan on what to learn, when and how to do so. It also allows your child time to explore places that are causing some confusion and get them into a more manageable of learning and tuition.

Get all The Necessary “Tools” Ready

Although it may sound quite simple, it is quite important to bring together all the necessary tools before your child actually sits down for a study session. Disruptions that can lead to leaving the study environment and look for things do not allow your child to sit in a highly focused state and thus takes your child longer to regain focus and make on track.

Tools don’t just equate to objects or apps. They can extend towards tutoring, with online tuition, high-quality private tutors in Birmingham, or online help guides are a good way to keep your child-focused.

Suggest Useful Revision and Anti-Procrastination Tools

Mobile phones can seem like your worst enemy when you think your child should be revising. Instead of banning technology in the house – be proactive and encourage ways they can incorporate their mobile phone into their studies.

For example, a student can use a phone as a timer to test how quickly they can get through a set of flashcards. There are even apps you can download that give you rewards if you don’t pick up your phone for a set amount of time.

Encourage contextual learning

Try sitting down with your teenager to think about ways they could apply what they are revising to real-life situations. For this to be even more beneficial, try being subtle about how you approach it.

Take a teenager who is studying Shakespeare in GCSE English. Over dinner, you could discuss cool ways you could adapt a Shakespeare play for a movie in the 21st century that you’d both actually watch.

If it’s science they’re struggling with, find some awesome science websites that you could browse together, that’ll peak their motivation for learning the subject. This relies on you being super proactive – but we promise it will be worth it.

Consider Private Tuition

If your child is struggling with a particular subject, and this is affecting their motivation to revise, they could benefit from a private tutor. In fact, research shows that a private tutor can help students improve by up to 3 grades. This is where GCSE Tuition in Birmingham comes in. 

Regardless of whether you are looking for 11 Plus Tutoring, GCSE Tutoring, SATS or Grammar School Tutoring in Birmingham – Achieving Success is the premier tutoring agency in Birmingham. We provide tutoring for all the main exams and core subjects, including English, Maths and Science.

All of our programs are completely bespoke and taught in actual schools by fully qualified teachers who teach Monday to Friday outside of our sessions. This means they are not only experienced tutors but are fully engaged with the current academic syllabus and can help with all the upcoming exams. Call one of our Birmingham tuition centres today.