A Parent’s Guide to GCSE’s

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GCSEs were first introduced in 1988. The new GCSE was thought to be an improvement on the old O Level system as there were more subjects available and the examination process was more child friendly. The grading system is cause for some confusion among parents today. Until 2016, GCSEs were graded on a letter scale – from A to G with a score of C being about equivalent to a C in the old O Level system.

Understanding the new GCSE grading system

Instead of being graded with A* or A, B, C, D etc, papers are now given numerical scores.

9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, or 1. The highest grades being 9, 8 and 7. These replace A* and A. The top 20% of results are those grades 9. 

When do students make their GCSE choices?

This is done at the end of year 8 or 9. Schools generally hold options evenings at this time of year and your child will be able to learn more about the various choices and how each is assessed. This is also your chance to find out more about the various options.

When should my child start revising?

This is usually begun in January but there are a variety of factors to consider. How able is your child? How efficient are they at study? 

When do exams begin?

Usually from May the 14th to June 22nd in years 10 and 11. Your school will keep you informed but it doesn’t hurt to ask in advance so you’re prepared. Results are released in August; usually during the third week.

How can I help my child?

Educate your child on the process so that they feel empowered. Help them to revise by ensuring they have a quiet space in which to work. Ensure they eat a good diet and have a balance of work and play. Stress will not help them get the results they desire. A school with good pastoral care is important during the GCSE years; this independent school in Wellingborough ensures that their pupils feel supported and safe during their time at the school.

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