Updated: Jun 23
The proportion of the highest GCSE grades awarded in England this year has jumped by 26%, in the wake of the government’s examinations U-turn, according to figures released by the regulator Ofqual. The proportion of entries awarded the highest grade, 9, also rose from 4.7% last year to 6.6% this year, according to Ofqual but what does it take to achieve this prestigious grade? Here are 9 top tips from level 9 students.
Tip #1 Have The Right Mindset
What is the difference between a student who attains a level 7 and a student who attains a level 9? We spoke to several level 9 students and they had one thing in common - Mindset. You have to want to achieve the best grade possible, one grade below isn’t good enough. What struck me was the passion and hunger these students demonstrated, a willingness to achieve and go the extra mile for their studies without looking back.
Tip #2 Start Revising Now
Revision starts now, September 2020, you may think your GCSEs are far away but in reality, they are 9 months away. Every minute counts and top performers tend to start their revision as soon as possible. Don’t leave your revision too late, give yourself space and time to cover content and learn it inside out to secure those top grades.
Tip #3 Use Exam Papers after Completing a Topic
Students study differently and that is perfectly fine. At ED TREE we promote each student's unique needs and focus on personalised learning. We provide assessments for students after every topic and level 9 students agree. You should use exam papers after completing each topic and use mark schemes to check your answers.
Tip #4 Revise With A Friend
There are many benefits of working with your peers when revising for your exams, and for some, it is one of the best ways to revise. Whether you are with just one other person or a larger group, having the opportunity to openly discuss topics from a different perspective and approach while bouncing thoughts and ideas off one another to help each other with problematic materials can help improve your understanding. Study groups or working together over the phone can be beneficial and more effective than working alone. By working through material out loud and picking up tips from one another you will realise the benefit of this study technique; it will help you to memorise difficult topics and important points will become better understood.
Tip #5 Find A Study Style Which Suits You
Do you prefer reading textbooks and making notes or do you prefer jumping straight into questions? Not all revision methods will work for you. At ED TREE we tailor learning materials to student needs and we recommend you should do the same too! If you prefer learning with videos, keep watching and learning or if you prefer revision cards, get writing. Find the best method for yourself and consistently revise to help you secure those top marks.
Tip #6 Take Every Opportunity
Does your school offer revision classes? Is your teacher free during lunch to answer some questions? Take every opportunity you can to learn. Attend every class and make sure you ask questions if you are unsure about a concept. Don’t get discouraged or lost in your comfort zone. If you are having trouble with certain topics, talk to your teacher about it. Whatever you can do to help secure your grades is something you have to explore. Be passionate about your education and take each opportunity as they come.
Tip #7 Study Smarter
Study smarter rather than longer. If you are revising 8 hours straight a day there will come a point where information is not being retained. Evidence shows regular short chunks of revision lead to better results rather than one long sit. Get rid of distractions such as a mobile phone and games to knuckle down and focus on your studies. Set yourself goals so you know exactly what you want to concentrate on and how you will cover the topic. Studying smarter will not only save you time but help you achieve better grades.
Tip #8 Focus On Your Weaknesses
We all have different strengths and weaknesses but it is important to identify them. If you can successfully identify your weaknesses then you can target these areas to help cover any misconceptions or gaps in knowledge.
Tip #9 Look After Yourself
Get plenty of sleep. Go to bed at the same time every night. Eat properly. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of vitamins will make you more alert and positive. Now, more than ever, your five-a-day is crucial. Keep moving. Exercise can train your brain, like a good diet, regular exercise will make you more alert and positive. Don’t use your phone just before you go to sleep. To get the right kind of sleep, you need to clear your mind and wind down first.