After 2 years of no one sitting GCSEs, our Year 11 students are about to face the reality of external exams.  When we head back to school next week, after a well-deserved half term break, the Year 11s will be sitting their mock exams, which will serve them well as practice for the real things in a few of months time as well as showing them where they need to focus their revision.

These practice exams are important – the last time any year group sat in the hall and took exams was during the summer term of 2019 – three years ago, when the current year 11 were in Year 8! Since then, Covid restrictions, bubbles and remote learning have prevented students being able to sit exams in this way, so they are out of practice.

So, what can our Year 11 students do in preparation, not only for the mocks, but also for the real exams?

The first, is to know when the exams will be, how many papers they will sit, what will be on each paper and how long each paper will last.

This is an easy question to answer for the mocks:

Biology: Tuesday 1st March, afternoon

Chemistry: Wednesday 2nd March, morning

Physics: Monday 7th March, afternoon

As for what to revise for your mocks, the inside front cover of the revision guide will tell you what to revise.  Combined Science students will sit papers 1, 3 and 5 with each paper being 1 hour and 10 minutes long and Separate Science students will do Paper 1 from each subject, each paper lasting 1 hour and 45 minutes.

As for the summer GCSE exams, the information has been up on the exams notice board, in the Science corridor for weeks, but here they are again:

The dates for the Combined and Separate Science exams are the same, it is only the length of the papers that are different – Combined papers are 1 hour 10 mins long and Separate Science papers are 1 hour 45 mins.

So, now you know when the exams are and how long they will be, you also need to know what information will been the exams.  Your teachers will speak to you after half term about the information that has been released by the exam board.

One of the biggest questions we get asked as teachers is “how do I revise?”

As far as revision goes, remember that you have had 3 SMSC days looking at how to revise, remember information and look after yourself in the run up to the exams.  You should be trying to implement these strategies to give yourself the best chance in the exams.

Most of you, hopefully,  have started looking at creating a revision timetable for yourselves.  This will help you plan out your time, what to revise when and prevent you trying to cram information at the last minute.

You should all have a red revision guide, or 3 (green, orange and purple), if you are a Separate Science student that you were given at the start of Year 10.  These contain everything that you will need to know for your exams, but also remember that there are loads of other resources out there that you can use. The links are given in the Read More section at there bottom of the post.

Cognito has past papers and videos covering the whole specification. Just remember that our exam board is Edexcel.

Fuseschool contains short videos to teach the main points in the 3 sciences.  You need to create an account, but this is free.

Free Science Lessons are videos hosted by “that boring guy in grey.”  He might not be the most interesting man in the World, but he does cover a lot of Science and he explains it very well. You can find his clips on Youtube as well as the Free Science Lessons site.  The only thing you need to be careful about is that the papers are set up for a different exam board, and although the Science is exactly the same, you might not find it in the same place as you would for Edexcel!

Malmesbury Education is a YouTube channel with videos about different areas of all 3 Sciences.

Primrose Kitten is another YouTube channel with tutorials covering all of the key concepts for the 3 Sciences, interspersed with some cats!

BBC Bitesize is the original, go-to site for revision notes. Take care to pick the right course and exam board though!

There are also many podcasts out there – these are just a few:

So, you’ve got all of this information available to you, as well as hep from your teachers, the contents of your Biology, Chemistry and Physics exercise books, but you’ve got to do something with it.  In school, in your different lessons and in registration periods, you have used the different retrieval techniques shown below.

These are all designed to help you remember the information that you need to recall when you get to the exams.  Remember though, that these are not the only techniques that you can use: you could stick up post-it notes round your room with facts on – but remember not to stick them up straight – your eye will notice them more readily if you put them up at an angle!

You have all of the information and resources out there, read for you to use, including help from your teachers, all you have to do now is to put some work in and earn your grades!

Until next time, keep calm and REVISE some Science!

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