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Kids have just gone back to school, but it’s never too early to prepare for exams!

Throughout September children across the country have been trading in their toys and games for books and calculators as they return back to school after a long summer away from education. These first few weeks of term time can be fairly relaxed, with children getting used to their new classmates and teachers, coming to terms with their different subjects and catching up with old friends. Although the looming SATs or GCSE exams may seem like a long way away, it is never too early to prepare for these very important tests that could dictate your children’s educational future.

That being said, we are not suggesting that your child should stick to a strict study schedule just yet! However, as they are settling in to a new routine at school, now is a great time to also start great studying habits that can set them up for every success in the future, preparing them well for their upcoming assessments.

The stressful exam period can be a lot easier for your child if they feel calm, relaxed and in control. They will feel this way if they totally understand the format of the papers, and if they have a solid understanding of the subject that they are being tested on.

Using past papers from previous exams is a great way to prepare your children. With this knowledge, you could start to test the particular subjects and questions that will be asked in these papers as part of your child’s normal homework routine. This way, they will gradually develop a strong understanding of these topics and will feel confident when it comes to the big day!

As the exam date draws closer, carrying our practice tests using the past papers can help your child to become familiar with the format of the exam, learning how to apply the knowledge that they have built up over the year in order to form the highest marking answers.

At School Reviewer, we care about supporting the education of your child. We have created a dedicated area of our website that offers video tutorials and walkthroughs for Maths GCSE, SATs and the soon to be launched 11+ examination papers. Every video is led by a teacher with experience in both marking and setting these exams, offering simple and easy to understand solutions to help your child pass successfully. While school may have just begun again, give your child a flying start to help them through their educational journey with School Reviewer!

Choosing GCSE Subjects

As the end of term gets ever closer there are some important decisions to be made for pupils of all ages. Sixth formers will have to decide about university, year elevens will have to decide between sixth form or college and year nines will have to pick the GCSE subjects they study. Selecting GCSEs may seem like an easy choice with minimal consequences but it is actually a massive decision that could affect their entire future. Often GCSE subjects are continued to A-level and in many cases even on to University and there are a lot of GCSEs to choose from which makes it even harder.

Mandatory

Some subjects have to be taken at GCSE level, these are English, maths and science. However, these are only the ones mandated by the government some schools also have their own compulsory subjects. A religious school may make pupils take RE as a GCSE, some schools demand a foreign language is taken at GCSE and some specialist arts or technology schools will make pupils pick something in their specialism. The best way to check which subjects are compulsory is to check with the school, many have options evenings where parents can ask questions about GCSE selection.

Optional Subjects

GCSE’s are the first chance that pupils will ever get to pick subjects that they are interested in to study. Different schools offer a diverse range of subjects, this usually depends upon the staff available and the exam boards they use. Generally, the subjects available can be broken down into four categories arts, design and technology, humanities and modern foreign languages. After GCSE reforms pupils will only need to pick eight subjects to study.
While you cannot tell them what to do you should be advising them on the best ones to take. It is essential to study a broad range of GCSEs, so pick one from each category and fill in with anything else they enjoy. Having a broad education ensures they are not forced to focus on an area of school that they dislike and will help them later in life. However, if your child has clear plans for what they wish to do and study then you should help advise them on the best subjects for that career path. There are plenty of online guides that will explain which subjects help with certain careers.
Are you helping your child choose GCSEs? Did this guide help you? Share your thoughts on our social media pages.

What Happens When an Exam is Disrupted?

Up and down the country teenagers are spending hours revising as exams bear down. But, what happens if the test is interrupted by something beyond the school’s control? This is exactly the situation many pupils have found themselves in after a high number of bomb threats were called into schools throughout the UK. Obviously a bomb threat is very serious but what about a fire alarm, illness or even construction noise? All of these can disrupt an exam so what happens in these circumstances?

Guidance

There is a clear set of procedures explaining how examinations should be conducted. This has been created by the Joint Council for Qualifications which represents the seven largest exam boards in the UK. As well as explaining the conditions needed for an examination, it also provides guidance on what to do if an exam is interrupted.

In The Exam Room

Invigilators are responsible for conducting an exam and have to react to any interruptions to the exam. If there is a fire alarm or bomb scare they have to tell candidates to stop writing and take a register of attendance before evacuating the room. All tests must be left in the examination room and pupils must exit in silence. When at a fire assembly point invigilators must continue to monitor the candidates and ensure they do not talk about the test. The amount of time taken for the disruption is noted and pupils are given that time back when the exam resumes to ensure they receive the full amount intended.
If a child is ill and disturbing the exam through vomiting or other symptoms, then the invigilators have a few options. They could isolate the candidate and allow them to continue away from others. Alternatively, they may simply allow the candidate to continue and notify the exam board.

Results

Any disruption to an examination has to be reported back to the board responsible. Schools and invigilators document the interruptions but exam boards have the final decision as to whether grade boundaries will be amended for the candidates.
Special consideration can be granted as a post-exam adjustment to candidate grades. This is generally used for pupils who are ill, injured or have another distraction (such as the passing of a relative) at the time of the exam. Pupils who are evacuated from the room or are distracted by outside noises can apply for special consideration but will have to prove how the distraction affected their ability to perform in the exam.

What to Do?

As a parent you will be concerned for your children’s grades but you have to get them to re-focus and carry on with the rest of their examinations. If there are any serious concerns like continual noise complaints, you need to raise this with senior staff at their school.

 
Was your child affected by a disruption in their exam? How was the issue resolved? Share your experiences on our social media pages.