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GCSE- Private candidate what are the best resources per subject

I'm a private candidate so was wondering what the best resources for each subject would be considering I'm also aiming for the higher grades 8-9 and really need help as I'm going to be self studying.

My subjects I will be studying are:

English language, English literature (Educas) Romeo and Juliet, A Christmas Carol and Blood Brothers and the poem anthology from Educas but I don't know what books are the best to use to study from or if I'm missing any and whether any of Mr Salles resources are worth buying.

I'm also taking Maths (Pearson Edexcel), Biology, Chemistry and Physics (AQA) and was thinking of getting cgp books for the sciences but wasn't sure and was wondering if it was worth buying any textbooks or if studying from a revision guide alongside past papers would suffice for grade 9. I'd really appreciate any help as I'm going to be self studying and am currently struggling on what to do and need the higher grades.
(edited 6 months ago)
Reply 1
Hi,

For English Literature there's the cgp books, York Notes revision guides (which people argue are better than the cgp ones i've used neither for english) and websites like spark notes and LitCharts. Some things are limited on LitCharts though unless you have the monthly membership but i can get you the pdf's with the extra information on if you'd like - just message me if you'd like them i dont mind!

Knowunity is also a great app - people upload their notes, ask questions and answer them, talk in group chats specifically for each subject and each exam board and theres even things like AI Essay assisstants on there that go through your essay and tell you where to improve. I highly recommend it

I really liked the cgp books for science i found them super helpful, but i used websites like seneca, Physics and Maths tutor and youtube videos a lot of the time too - alongside past papers. If your not sure about getting the revision guides though, i suggest getting them second hand rather than buying new ones so your not spending as much money on something that you may not use as much. Theres also not much difference between the older books and the newer ones, i used my sisters cgp books and they had all the same content in as the new ones, the only difference was that the newer ones have an online version that you access with a code on the front page.

If you have anymore questions feel free to ask, but i hope this was helpful!
Reply 2
Thank you so much! I'll definitely look into everything you mentioned, and yes I'd really appreciate if you could send the pdf notes. What did you use for english language? Also, with using all those resources mentioned, what grades did you manage to get for each subject?




Original post by loulai_
Hi,

For English Literature there's the cgp books, York Notes revision guides (which people argue are better than the cgp ones i've used neither for english) and websites like spark notes and LitCharts. Some things are limited on LitCharts though unless you have the monthly membership but i can get you the pdf's with the extra information on if you'd like - just message me if you'd like them i dont mind!

Knowunity is also a great app - people upload their notes, ask questions and answer them, talk in group chats specifically for each subject and each exam board and theres even things like AI Essay assisstants on there that go through your essay and tell you where to improve. I highly recommend it

I really liked the cgp books for science i found them super helpful, but i used websites like seneca, Physics and Maths tutor and youtube videos a lot of the time too - alongside past papers. If your not sure about getting the revision guides though, i suggest getting them second hand rather than buying new ones so your not spending as much money on something that you may not use as much. Theres also not much difference between the older books and the newer ones, i used my sisters cgp books and they had all the same content in as the new ones, the only difference was that the newer ones have an online version that you access with a code on the front page.

If you have anymore questions feel free to ask, but i hope this was helpful!
Reply 3
Original post by luna10
Thank you so much! I'll definitely look into everything you mentioned, and yes I'd really appreciate if you could send the pdf notes. What did you use for english language? Also, with using all those resources mentioned, what grades did you manage to get for each subject?


No worries!! I'll send you a message soon with the google drive link that has them in once ive found it again!

For English Lanuage i'll be honest i just winged it, i didnt really revise for it because i hated it so much. I didnt have the revision guide for it, mainly used websites online like BBC bitesize or resources that our teacher gave us, and past papers off AQA website and getting a teacher to mark them. (In your case being a private candidate id assume you'd have a tutor to mark it or if your with an online provider a teacher/tutor on there). My brother who did his GCSEs last year had the English Languae CGP book tho and it looked quite good, i looked through it when i was helping him revise and i honestly wish i had bought one when i did my GCSEs haha.

My GCSEs got interrupted due to covid so i didnt do proper exams like everyone else would have done, our grades were determined on classwork, small assessments each week at the end of year 11 and mock exams we did in year 10 (that i did terribly in since i didnt bother to revise much having the mentality of "oh they're just year 10 mocks they don't mean anything only the real exams matter i don't need to try too hard"). Once covid hit though i tried to turn my grades around and work harder but it didnt really pay off for me, i was still super happy with my results though - especially since most of my gcse's were taught online where my teachers had no idea what they were doing, and im not the best at academics. These are what i ended up getting on results day though:

Maths - 6
English Lit and Language - 7 and 6
Combined Science - 77

I also didn't have Litcharts back at GCSE i only got that at A-Levels but i wish i knew about it sooner. I only used my work from class and revision sources i made for myself, or our teacher gave us.

My sister, who also told me to use the websites and books i suggested to you, got 8's and 9's though - she's always been naturally smart and worked hard, i haven't lol so its definitely possible. She use to tutor me and my friend for maths since we struggled so much, i use to use hegarty maths for maths and i use to love it, but i think it's called Sparx now since thats what my brother used at GCSE from the school and he said it was the same?
Reply 4
Original post by loulai_
No worries!! I'll send you a message soon with the google drive link that has them in once ive found it again!

For English Lanuage i'll be honest i just winged it, i didnt really revise for it because i hated it so much. I didnt have the revision guide for it, mainly used websites online like BBC bitesize or resources that our teacher gave us, and past papers off AQA website and getting a teacher to mark them. (In your case being a private candidate id assume you'd have a tutor to mark it or if your with an online provider a teacher/tutor on there). My brother who did his GCSEs last year had the English Languae CGP book tho and it looked quite good, i looked through it when i was helping him revise and i honestly wish i had bought one when i did my GCSEs haha.

My GCSEs got interrupted due to covid so i didnt do proper exams like everyone else would have done, our grades were determined on classwork, small assessments each week at the end of year 11 and mock exams we did in year 10 (that i did terribly in since i didnt bother to revise much having the mentality of "oh they're just year 10 mocks they don't mean anything only the real exams matter i don't need to try too hard"). Once covid hit though i tried to turn my grades around and work harder but it didnt really pay off for me, i was still super happy with my results though - especially since most of my gcse's were taught online where my teachers had no idea what they were doing, and im not the best at academics. These are what i ended up getting on results day though:

Maths - 6
English Lit and Language - 7 and 6
Combined Science - 77

I also didn't have Litcharts back at GCSE i only got that at A-Levels but i wish i knew about it sooner. I only used my work from class and revision sources i made for myself, or our teacher gave us.

My sister, who also told me to use the websites and books i suggested to you, got 8's and 9's though - she's always been naturally smart and worked hard, i haven't lol so its definitely possible. She use to tutor me and my friend for maths since we struggled so much, i use to use hegarty maths for maths and i use to love it, but i think it's called Sparx now since thats what my brother used at GCSE from the school and he said it was the same?

Thank youu, I've got a lot to do then I'll look into the english language book and the websites and pdfs and everything you sent and then organise everything else I need to do, I really appreciate it thanks!
Reply 5
Original post by luna10
Thank youu, I've got a lot to do then I'll look into the english language book and the websites and pdfs and everything you sent and then organise everything else I need to do, I really appreciate it thanks!


Your welcome!! I should still have things from GCSE like maths higher checklists and old essays - i have my sisters old essays too that were grade 9 if you ever need examples, just let me know i dont mind sharing them if theyd be helpful to others

Good luck with your GCSEs!!
Reply 6
Original post by loulai_
Your welcome!! I should still have things from GCSE like maths higher checklists and old essays - i have my sisters old essays too that were grade 9 if you ever need examples, just let me know i dont mind sharing them if theyd be helpful to others

Good luck with your GCSEs!!


Yes those and anything else would always be greatly appreciated, Thank youuuu, good luck with your studies too!
Reply 7
Original post by luna10
Yes those and anything else would always be greatly appreciated, Thank youuuu, good luck with your studies too!


ofcourse, ill message you the google drive link now :smile: and thank you!
Reply 8
Original post by loulai_
ofcourse, ill message you the google drive link now :smile: and thank you!


Thank you so much I really appreciate it
Reply 9
Original post by luna10
Thank you so much I really appreciate it


Please ignore some of the advice you have been given. The GCSEs changed in 2017 and I really would not recommend any 'old' CGP books.

For Maths the best resource is this: https://www.drfrostmaths.com/courses.php?coid=13 as you canwork through the course

Are you home educated and have you sorted an exam centre?
Reply 10
Original post by Muttley79
Please ignore some of the advice you have been given. The GCSEs changed in 2017 and I really would not recommend any 'old' CGP books.

For Maths the best resource is this: https://www.drfrostmaths.com/courses.php?coid=13 as you canwork through the course

Are you home educated and have you sorted an exam centre?

The books i mentioned are the 2017 cgp ones i was referring to buying second hand rather than buying new and the fact you may not be able to actually use the online code in the front of them since i wasn’t able to use the ones in mine because it said it’d already been claimed and expired. I only had one older version than 2017 of the books in maths which was a different exam board anyways, i probably should have worded it better and mentioned that - thank you for pointing it out and clarifying better!
Reply 11
Original post by Muttley79
Please ignore some of the advice you have been given. The GCSEs changed in 2017 and I really would not recommend any 'old' CGP books.

For Maths the best resource is this: https://www.drfrostmaths.com/courses.php?coid=13 as you canwork through the course

Are you home educated and have you sorted an exam centre?

I have done my GCSEs 3 years ago during covid so i received predicted grades and decided to resit them as i wasn’t sure at the time what i wanted to do but i made my mind up and the course I want to do at uni requires higher grades 7 and above for 7 subjects, so I made the decision to resit them. Booking for edexcel exams opens some time in October and so haven't booked yet and im not sure about the others yet.

Also for maths, is maths genie ok to use as well as the link you sent? And should i switch exam boards for english as the one i had was educas, as there is more resources out there for AQA like Mr Salles and was wondering should i buy mr Salles books instead of cgp or york notes as people have been praising them.

i have bought some cgp books already but i think they are after 2017 I'm not sure how to check though.
(edited 6 months ago)
Original post by luna10
I have done my GCSEs 3 years ago during covid so i received predicted grades and decided to resit them as i wasn’t sure at the time what i wanted to do but i made my mind up and the course I want to do at uni requires higher grades 7 and above for 7 subjects, so I made the decision to resit them. Booking for edexcel exams opens some time in October and so haven't booked yet and im not sure about the others yet.

Also for maths, is maths genie ok to use as well as the link you sent? And should i switch exam boards for english as the one i had was educas, as there is more resources out there for AQA like Mr Salles and was wondering should i buy mr Salles books instead of cgp or york notes as people have been praising them.

i have bought some cgp books already but i think they are after 2017 I'm not sure how to check though.


OK so have you done your A levels? Have you identified a centre to sit your exams? Itd be best to use one centre for all of them.

AQA is the most common baord for Englsih - there's Mr Bruff as well. Why not see how you go before you buy more books?
Reply 13
Original post by Muttley79
OK so have you done your A levels? Have you identified a centre to sit your exams? Itd be best to use one centre for all of them.

AQA is the most common baord for Englsih - there's Mr Bruff as well. Why not see how you go before you buy more books?

I did a levels one year then my teacher told me to switch to btecs so did that for 2 years. Yes i looked at exam centers near me. i haven't bought any books yet for english just for my maths and sciences which is why i was asking.
Original post by luna10
I did a levels one year then my teacher told me to switch to btecs so did that for 2 years. Yes i looked at exam centers near me. i haven't bought any books yet for english just for my maths and sciences which is why i was asking.


If you are changing board for Eng Lit do check the books by looking at the spec. There's so much good stuff online now.
Reply 15
Original post by loulai_
Hi,

For English Literature there's the cgp books, York Notes revision guides (which people argue are better than the cgp ones i've used neither for english) and websites like spark notes and LitCharts. Some things are limited on LitCharts though unless you have the monthly membership but i can get you the pdf's with the extra information on if you'd like - just message me if you'd like them i dont mind!

Knowunity is also a great app - people upload their notes, ask questions and answer them, talk in group chats specifically for each subject and each exam board and theres even things like AI Essay assisstants on there that go through your essay and tell you where to improve. I highly recommend it

I really liked the cgp books for science i found them super helpful, but i used websites like seneca, Physics and Maths tutor and youtube videos a lot of the time too - alongside past papers. If your not sure about getting the revision guides though, i suggest getting them second hand rather than buying new ones so your not spending as much money on something that you may not use as much. Theres also not much difference between the older books and the newer ones, i used my sisters cgp books and they had all the same content in as the new ones, the only difference was that the newer ones have an online version that you access with a code on the front page.

If you have anymore questions feel free to ask, but i hope this was helpful!

hello, are you still available to download litchart pdfs?
Original post by loulai_
ofcourse, ill message you the google drive link now :smile: and thank you!
Can u pls send it to me as well

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