GCSE, IB & A Level Courses and GCSE Sixth Form Colleges
We provide a comprehensive service tailored for learners taking their GCSE courses, meeting the needs of first-time learners and students who are resitting their GCSE examinations. We can also assist with the application procedure as well as school open days and interview advice. An important part of the procedure is not only matching the child to a school where they will thrive academically but moreover to place them where the pupil will be happy and flourish.
What are GCSEs?
GCSEs, an abbreviation for General Certificate of Secondary Education, consist of a series of mandatory end of Secondary School examinations. With individual experiences of GCSEs often determined by select subject choices, timetabling and exam content is primarily based around learner level and subject selection. Centred around testing student’s ability to retain knowledge across a breadth of subjects, the GCSE qualification involves the theory of a subject, with pupils tasked with applying their knowledge on paper. Dependent on the subject, practical elements and coursework loads may carry a heavier grading percentage, with select subjects working with examination boards that assess pupils based on their coursework (rather than purely through examinations). Preparation for GCSEs generally begins in Year 10 through the implementation of mock-testing in classrooms, with Year 11 mostly reserved as a revision year, where learners are tasked with referring to content learnt across their years at Secondary School to best complete their GCSEs.
What are the GCSE Subjects?
GCSEs in England are most commonly taken in Years 10 and 11 in Secondary school, with the majority of schools asking their learners to select their ‘optional’ subjects in Years 8 and 9. There are set GCSEs that all pupils must take in England, with most pupils sitting examinations in an average of 9 subjects.
Mandatory subjects at GCSE include the core subjects:
– English Language
– English Literature (compulsory in most schools)
– Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics)
The specifics of Science examinations are dependent on your child’s predicted grades. Science can be split into three separate Sciences (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) for learners who are scoring higher in their practice tests in Year 8 and 9, or into two combined Science GCSEs, for learners who are performing at a lower grade average. Generally speaking, some schools will also have other select mandatory subjects for learners to take GCSEs in, this is dependent on individual schools.
Optional subjects at GCSE are dependent on what resources schools are privy to and whether enough students select the subject (as this effects school funding). The most common optional subjects include:
– Modern Foreign Language subjects including French, German, Spanish, Mandarin and Japanese (in some cases taking a Modern Foreign Language is compulsory).
– Humanities subjects including History, Geography, Religious Studies.
– Arts subjects including Music, Drama, Art & Design, Media Studies, Dance.
– Technical subjects including Design & Technology, Food Technology, Computer Science.
– Physical Education can also be taken as a GCSE subject, though still a compulsory lesson for pupils in Years 10 and 11.
The majority of GCSE subjects are written exams, with most subjects involving a written examination format with an accompanying element of coursework that is completed throughout the later years of the course. This can be executed in a manner of forms, dependent on the subject area, including project work, artwork/ portfolio work, investigations, experiments/ hypothesis work and fieldwork (class trips). The particular subject area will require work from your child indifferent forms. A contrasting example is evident between a pupil that chooses French as an optional subject and a pupil that takes Art & Design. French requires learners to sit a written exam, a reading exam and to participate in a speaking exam. Art & Design on the other hand is coursework based, with an exam delivered at the end of the course, often asking learners to respond to a given title/heading. Some subject areas require learners to sit exams at the end of every unit of work, whilst others solely involve a series of end of year exams.
GCSE Examination Boards and Grading
GCSE grading changed in recent years, changing from an alphabet system ranging from F-A* to now using a numerical system, ranging from 1-9, with 9 ranking as the top grade. Examining bodies such as AQA, OCR, Pearson and WJEC Eduqas all use this numerical grading system, marking and awarding GCSEs. Regulators of qualifications in England, Ofqual offer GCSEs, AS and A Levels, setting rules for examination boards to follow. The Department for Education are in control of setting subject specific content that GCSEs, AS and A Levels must cover, ultimately measuring school’s performances from grading tables.
What is the Passing Grade?
Comparatively to the old grading system:
A* – 9
A – 8, 7
B – 6
C – 5 (Strong PASS), 4 (Standard PASS)
D – 3
E – 2
F – 1
G – 1
U – U
How to revise for the GCSEs & can GCSE tutors help?
Starting early when preparing for your GCSEs will enable you to best prepare for your GCSE examinations. Practicing in your own time using past papers is useful in most subject areas and can be done by asking your subject teacher for resources to work from. Completing your homework in a timely manner can assist with negating unnecessary stresses, meaning the sooner you complete it, the sooner you can spend your time revising for upcoming examinations. It is important to have access to your examination timetable so that you can plan ahead, allocating revision for different times and dates. Attending school and maintaining focus in lessons can be tricky during stressful learning periods but working collaboratively with your friends and asking your teacher questions whilst you can is ultimately going to benefit your examination confidence later. Finding a personal tutor that works best with your educational needs. Having a tutor will enable you to overcome the hurdle of one teacher having to cater to a whole class of learners, enabling you to experience one to one, tailored sessions that target your individual learning and revising needs. A personal tutor can also create specifically tailored resources for you to work with in your own time, making your revision time effective and personalised.
Mayfair Consultants offers at-home, one-on-one private tuition in a wide variety of GCSE subjects to clients living across the London area, preparing students for the pre-A Level/ BTEC track. We will help with understanding content outlined in syllabi, gaining specific skills required to effectively tackle the GCSEs and how to score on the examinations. Our fully qualified GCSE tutors are highly skilled specialists, with many holding postgraduate degrees (Master’s and PhD) in specific subjects you want to focus on. They offer clear, concise explanations and stimulating approaches, helping to support the needs of every client.
Useful GCSE Revision Links:
If you would like to arrange schools entrance consultancy, sixth form colleges, One year GCSE and A Level Courses and resit years or enquire about our schools placement service in England as well as schools entrance tests and external examination sessions, please call us on Tel: +44 (0) 207 665 6606or you can send us an email via our contact form.
Tailored One Year GCSE, A Level and IB courses for first time candidates and resit students. We also offer external examination services through our partners where individual subjects can be sat at the January and June sittings.
If you’d like arrange schools entrance consultancy, sixth form colleges, One year GCSE and A Level Courses and resit years or enquire about our schools placement service in England as well as schools entrance tests and external examination sessions, please call us on Tel: +44 (0) 207 665 6606or you can send us an email via our contact form.