Year 10 going into 11 with a few questions.

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xhyper22
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Hello I'm starting year 11 in a few weeks but I am also curious as to how I can do well in my GCSEs(the new 9-1 ones). In my school, we recently had internal end of year 10 exams and my the predicted grades I have obtained are as a result of how I did on those tests. Here they are from highest to lowest:
Maths 9
Further Maths 9
Physics 9
Chemistry 8
Biology 8
Religious studies 8
History 7
French 7
English language 7
English literature 7
Product design A(still old system)
I really want to improve these grades. My year 11 mocks will start in mid december. I want to push chemistry, biology and RS to 9, product design to A* and convert all my 7s to 8s. Ideally, I want straight 9s but doesn't sound possible not least because the media claims that there will be a sharp drop in GCSE grades. I am quite happy with my maths and further maths, the sciences I can polish up(just need to revise), technology is fine but I'm worried about the rest. I am following the OCR exam board for RS which means a lot of content to learn. The book is like 450 pages long and filled with text. Idk how I can improve my listening and speaking in french. With history, again the problem is the amount of content there is to learn and it is basically the same as RS. For English literature, we are not allowed to bring our studied texts into the exam so we have to memorize everything(novels, poems etc). English language, I just don't know how I can revise for it. I am confident with my biology but the exam board we are following is eduqas. Now there is a problem with is. The exam board have not published a 9-1 textbook meaning that we only have school notes to revise for which may not cover everything. What can I do about this? So far, I have been using the AQA biology book the school have given us as well as an old IGCSE book and a book from singapore that I just happen to have. Another thing that worries me is that there may be a few questions in my exams that are not covered by textbooks. Can this happen? Can the textbooks the school supply to students not cover everything you need for the exams?

To summarise:
* How do I prepare for religious studies, both englishes, history and french in general as well as the specifics I mentioned earlier?
* What is the best strategy for studying eduqas biology?
* Do the textbooks cover everything or do you have the use more resources like the internet?
* How hard is it to get 9s? How hard do you have to study?
In my year 11 mocks, I am aiming for 9s in both maths, 9s in all sciences, A* in product design, 9 in RS and history if possible( though I'll probably get 8), 8 in french and finally 8s in both englishes. Basically out of 11 subjects, i hope to get half of them to 9s and the other to 8s. How can I achieve this by mid December? Are there any tips or any guidance that can be useful to me?

I am very sorry for asking so many questions but I would like to know everything in this single post. Once again, my GCSEs will follow the new 9-1 system in all the subjects except product design. I will be taking them in 2018. I go to a grammar school if that means anything hence the internal exams.
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Rocco123
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Hi, I can try and answer some of your questions but as I did the old-style GCSEs in all my subjects I'm only really guessing about how difficult it is to get 9s. I got all A*s in my GCSEs.
-For English lit I made sure I knew the texts inside out, did lots of practice essays at home and did a bit of additional internet research for the historical texts so I could better understand vocabulary and the attitudes of the characters.
-For English language I did past papers and practised summarising texts (I did the CIE iGCSE).
-For French I bought a revision guide which came with a CD so I could practise listening exams, and for reading/writing I did past papers from the AQA website, as well as compiling a list of good phrases and vocabulary which I could use
I didn't do history or religious studies GCSE I'm afraid.
The textbooks are good for sciences (mine were at least) but I think I supplemented all my others with a little internet research, particularly for good case studies for geography.
Getting 9s is difficult, according to the BBC only around 2-3% of candidates achieve a 9, which is less than half of those who got an A* previously. Advice generally is to keep revising, don't cram if you can help it, and make sure you have an outlet for stress - mine is singing and playing the violin, but this could be anything. Good luck!
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xhyper22
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Thanks very much. Havent thought about revising that way but will certainly give it a go! Just a few more questions if you dont mind. Do year 11 mocks test you on the whole content for that GCSE or just stuff you have covered? 4 months doesn't seem enough to completely learn everything. Also I hear people saying that if you study too much, you 'burn out'. Idk what that is. How can I avoid it? Finally, do medical universities like Cambridge or any universities really care about GCSEs? I thought the only thing important about them were college or sixth form applications which are not that hard I guess. In my school the minimum is just four 7s which might sound demanding but I can manage it. Technically universities should only look at the most recent exams-A levels.
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Zoe32
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Hi
Congratulations on your year 10 mocks they are really good grades. For learning content like dates I found quizlet which is an app really helpful. One of my friends told me about it and it hepled me during my exams. It allows you to make flashcards and create games to help you learn. You can also use other people's flashcards but sometimes you need to be careful as the information may be wrong or from another exam board. Some universities like Oxford and Cambridge do look at Gcses but they also use interviews as well to see if your suitable - I think there is a thread for that question. For science I also used quizlet especially near the end! For english past papers and learning quotes was the best way for me but i have always struggled with english language so needed lots of practice. If your worried about textbooks covering everything I would check with your teacher. Hope this helps and good luck!
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Rocco123
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It's ok, I hope some of that helps. Our year 11 mocks just tested us on the content we'd covered so far, but I'd ask your teachers when you get back after the summer just to be sure. It is true that you can burn out, I think the best way to avoid that is to save some past papers for the days before the exams, and also as I said have an outlet for stress. There is an optimum amount of study time for every person, which is basically how long you can study for without losing the will to continue. I set myself study goals, so like 'finish writing notes on x chapter of the course for x subject' by the end of the day/week, which helped motivate me, other people like revision timetables. GCSEs are becoming increasingly important to universities due to the A Level reforms, which mean that all A Levels are now linear courses, so the AS Levels you take in them do not count towards your final A2 grade. This means that a lot of schools no longer take AS Levels, and so by the time you apply to university the only public exam grades a lot of students have are their GCSEs. Cambridge have a reputation of being a 'snobby' university - they ask for your UMS marks in each subject as well as grades, so they definitely matter. GCSEs are also important in sixth form applications, generally sixth forms do have some flexibility if you just miss your offer though. In my school it was 6 As and you could only take A Levels in subjects you achieved a minimum A grade in, so a few of my friends who knew they weren't capable of achieving more than 6 As put their effort mostly into the subjects they wanted to take for A Level.
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xhyper22
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There's a problem though with my motivation I think. I can study for around 2 hours then take a break then thats when i pretty much get sidetracked from studying. Also is it possible cram now without burning out? People can do it near the exam. While we're talking about this, will past papers be usefull in the 9-1 gcses? There are only like 2 specimen papers and I wondering if anything older could ?
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cheese_pizza1
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I don't have much for the other questions but I got 3 9s (maths + englishes) and the rest A*s.
In English lit I was working really hard but still getting a 7 - until I spent two lunchtimes a week working with my English teachers to bring up my grade (a month before exams) and doing as many past papers and practice questions as possible. By this year I got full marks in my lit paper and a mid-range 9 in my language.
I cannot stress enough how important past papers are (especially for English!!), and also try and have a few key quotes which you can say LOADS for and could be useful for a number of themes. if your teachers run masterclasses/sessions - utilise them! Try and get as much 1 on 1 analysis on your work as possible and make sure you know the AOs as the AOs are the only way to get the marks!
Good luck next year!
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cheese_pizza1
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Also if you struggle staying focused, start your revision much earlier and do little and often so you don't burn out.
I also got very unfocused, especially after the first 20 exams and I struggled to continue giving my all to revision, so I worked on a system of 'hours'. Each day I had to do 6/7 hours, so if I woke up late I'd have to do them on the evening, or I could do them little and often with large breaks in between. It helped as I didn't have a 'timetable', per se, and I could bargain my way out of revision if I didn't feel like it, by just doing more later.
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xhyper22
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Ok I can do that. Sounds good. But I still want to know whether past papers that followed the old GCSE system will prove useful in studying for the new 9-1 GCSEs. There are just not enough specimen papers.
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thekidwhogames
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(Original post by xhyper22)
Ok I can do that. Sounds good. But I still want to know whether past papers that followed the old GCSE system will prove useful in studying for the new 9-1 GCSEs. There are just not enough specimen papers.
The old papers are really useful. I'm going to year 11 so I'm doing mostly new spec subjects (apart from RS/Psychology). For old-spec subjects, past papers is a MUST obviously. Now to answer your question, for 9-1 past papers are really important. For science, e.g., I'm doing OCR 9-1 and recently did the new mocks - I've realised that whilst obviously it's harder, the style of questions and examination is very similar. I did past papers for OCR, watched videos and used revision guide (CGP) and the CGP exam practice book and that helped me achieve quite well (9s).

I sat RE this year so it's old spec - for new spec I'm not sure. For science, use mygcsescience/freesciencelessons/CGP revision guide/CGP exam practice book/random YT videos/past papers/solomon papers. It helps to also genuienly understand the topic - e.g. moles is moles regardless of new/old spec. It's just a bit harder. It also helps to learn some science AS (this will help you get 9s easily).

I also sat Maths this year and did quite well imo (in the 230s). I'm saying this not to boast but to show you that the following really helps (I only achieve level 5 in SATs). This is what I doid for Maths, do this and I guarnatee you will succeed:


Before we get started, here are some sites:Mathswatch (your teacher gave you your login I think) - https://vle.mathswatch.co.uk/vle/Mathsgenie (has videos, question booklets for every topic; do all grades including 9) - http://www.mathsgenie.co.uk/gcse.htmlCorbettMaths (has videos, questions, textbook practice, etc) - https://corbettmaths.com/contents/Examsolutions (has videos; his site is being fixed) - https://www.examsolutions.net/gcse-maths/Hegartymaths (videos) - https://www.youtube.com/user/HEGARTYMATHSEdexcel papers (has 9-1 papers and past spec papers; do all of them for practice) - http://www.mathsgenie.co.uk/papers.htmlAQA specimen papers (do only higher) - https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/math...ment-resourcesCGP Papers - https://www.amazon.co.uk/New-GCSE-Ma...D7MTEDC268GDAZBooks:CGP 9-1 Guide - https://www.amazon.co.uk/New-GCSE-Ma...aths+guide+aqaCGP 9-1 Exam Workbook - https://www.amazon.co.uk/GCSE-Maths-...+exam+workbookCGP 9-1 GRADE 9 Workbook (has nice questions; suggested if you're aiming for a 9 which you should) - https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/GCS...BHT067CT2K99T6
Do this for every topic and repeat:

- watch videos of that topic (let's call it topic X) from: mathswatch (do their worksheets and interactive questions), mathsgenie (watch their videos and do their worksheets), corbettmaths (watch their videos; do their questions and textbook exercises, examsolutions, & hegartymaths (do mathswatch worksheets)
- go to topic X on your CGP guide and do their questions at the bottom of the page/end of topic
- go to topic X on your CGP exam practice workbook and do the questions and obviously mark it
- go to topic X on your CGP grade 9 workbook and do the questions and mark it

Repeat for all higher topics

Then:

- sit the Edexcel papers (all of them; old and new spec)
- sit the CGP 9-1 practice papers
- sit the specimen papers

Then you should be getting grade 9 top marks. Let me know if you want any help Image
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cheese_pizza1
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Not sure where they were from but we bought packs of 18 papers for maths (6 sets of each paper) for new-spec.
IMO they weren't all as hard as some of the questions on paper 2, this year, however in general they fit very well with what the exam was actually like.
Past papers for English aren't as useful if they're old spec but we used to use lesson time to 'make' questions - i.e. Taking an extract and devising a question about it, then answering it. There are also loads of examples online of essay questions that could come up (for literature).
If you're in need of past papers for English lit, CGP and all of the revision workbooks tend to have at least 2 practice exam questions for each book (e.g In the back of my Macbeth book was one question + answer, and one question for us to do) and they also released 2 sets of English language papers, as did York Notes. Obviously these weren't done by the exam boards themselves but they were exactly like the papers we actually sat and only cost about £3 for VERY useful revision.
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xhyper22
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You're right about mathsgenie. Its truly amazing. So one of you said you took RS right? What exam board are you doing? Is it worth making notes in RS given the books are very long(well OCR anyway)? Also are older GCSE books viable or is it recommended to get the latest? My school havent given us all the textbooks.
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