Thank you to students in year 8, and their parents and carers, for spending time discussing option choices and thoughts about possible future careers with myself and my leadership team this week. We were delighted with your high levels of engagement and are pleased that we have virtually all the information we need in order to be able to begin compiling GCSE classes ready for next year. If there is anyone is year 8 who has not yet had a discussion with myself or one of my colleagues about option choices, please do contact us.

This week, I have asked Mr Williams, one of Chenderit’s Deputy Headteachers, to share some tips in relation to his role:

The time for end of year exams for all year groups, GCSEs and A levels is fast approaching and I know that many students will be getting prepared so that they can do their very best in these exams. Not only can this time of year cause students to become a little anxious but teachers and parents can also be affected. Many staff become nervous for the students they teach – after all, we all want our students to do their very best and to be proud of their achievements.

However, last year, and this year have been different for me as I have one son sitting GCSEs this year and one who sat A levels last year. Last year, I realised that being the parent of a child sitting exams that help decide their future was harder than I had anticipated. I had believed that having many years’ experience as a teacher would make the lead up to the exams easier, but I was wrong! It was tough seeing my son grapple with ensuring coursework was completed, and revising for exams while contemplating his future.

However, there are things that I have learned from my experience and would recommend. Here are some key tips that I strongly believe will enable your child to do well in this year’s pre-public and public exams.

1.Start revision early
The sooner exam preparation is stared, the better – little and often. Don’t start revision too late or try to cram everything into the last minute.

2. Create a detailed revision timetable
List out all of your exam subjects or topics, and the amount of time you think you need to cover each. Prioritise, based on the areas you feel need most work. Try dividing up your time for each subject based on the units in the revision checklist or syllabus. Once you’ve planned what you will be studying and when, put it where everyone can see it. That way others can help you stay motivated too. Revise often, cover a variety of subjects, try to do a little every day and don’t forget to plan in breaks.

3. Unplug and turn off EVERYTHING
It’s tempting to distract yourself with social media or talking to friends. Find a well-lit and quiet place to study away from any distractions.

4. Have everything you need
Set up your revision space, making sure you have everything you need for the revision session, from drinks and snacks to stationery, paper and resources.

5. Try different revision methods
Research shows that doing a range of activities will benefit you. Organise your folders and simplify your class notes. Make summary notes, mind maps, audio notes and diagrams for key facts, for example.

6. Work through past question papers
Practising writing essays and answering questions under timed conditions is fantastic experience. Ask your teachers for relevant past exam questions. You can also find papers online from the exam board website or BBC bitesize.

7. Take a break
Don’t forget to look after yourself. Make sure you stay hydrated and try to get enough sleep. Although you should avoid distracting yourself by watching TV or YouTube videos whilst you’re revising, it doesn’t mean that you can’t treat yourself as a reward later

8. Organise yourself for the exam
Before the exam comes make sure you know what your exam involves (such as how many questions you need to answer and how long you have). Make sure you pack your bag the night before, being sure you have the correct equipment with you. Getting a good night’s sleep before an exam is going to do your brain a lot more good than last minute cramming, so don’t be tempted to stay up late.

Jane cartwright

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