Our Northgate News Team recently interviewed some Year 11s (Poppi – Head Girl, Abi – Deputy Head Girl, Blake – Deputy Head Boy and Chris – Prefect). They wanted to find out a bit more about coping with GCSES, how best to manage workload and top tips to revise. Here’s what they had to say.

How should I approach my lessons during KS3?

Poppi: Make sure you have a positive approach to every lesson, and enjoy them! In lessons, the content will build the foundations for the things you need to know for your GCSEs, so everything you learn will help you in the future!

Blake: Always try your hardest! I know that the younger years may feel very far away from GCSEs, but trust me, the time flies. Make the most of the early years and always give 100%. It’ll be worth it on results day!

Abi: Enjoy, learn, have fun, study, focus.  Be prepared for every lesson! Like Blake said, being in the younger years feels like ages away from being in GCSE years, however trust me you will be in year 11 sitting them exams before you know it. 

Chris: I would approach all my lessons with curiosity and an open mind, because you may find that you really enjoy a subject and this helps you learn and remember things.

How does the workload shift from Year 9 going into GCSE years, and how can I manage this?

Poppi: There is an increase in the work going from KS3 into KS4, but it’s definitely manageable! Aim to do your homework the day it is set if possible, this means you have more time to do the things you enjoy! Try not to leave things to the last minute- always give yourself plenty of time. Also, your friends will be doing a lot of the same subjects as you, you can revise or work together and make it more fun.

Blake: When you transition to KS4, there will be some more work yes, as you’re approaching mock exams and GCSEs, but the trick is to not get overwhelmed. I would recommend doing any homework on the day you get it if possible so you have more time on other days to relax. Don’t leave things until the last minute, it’ll just cause you to stress out and panic.

Chris: The workload itself does not shift very much, however if you previously haven’t been paying the most attention in lessons then I would just change my attitude towards it and you should be fine.

What are your biggest tips for the transition into GCSEs?

Poppi: It will seem scary at first but you will have so much fun! Try your best in every lesson, and don’t be afraid to ask for help – some things get tricky but everyone in your class is doing it together. Some subjects offer clubs at break / lunch / after school, these can be super helpful if you want to work on different areas of each subject.

Blake: It’s not as scary as it seems, so don’t feel intimidated. Think of it like you now get to study the subjects that you want to do! Keep trying your best and giving it your all; the later years are extremely important when it comes to revision and improvement, so I would recommend putting aside a little time in the day or week to study, as it’ll help you remember what you’ve been learning and really hone your memory, to help you in exams.

Abi: Enjoy the younger years, getting to know the school, teachers and making friends. However making sure you are still focusing in lessons throughout the years the transition to GCSEs aren’t as bad as it seems. You will be revisiting everything you have learnt in the younger years. 

Chris: You’ve got to realise that from then on anything you are learning in lesson could be in your GCSE exams, so making lots notes and clear writing in your book will help you remember and revise.

How can I revise effectively?

Poppi: Revision doesn’t have to be done independently! Sometimes it is nice to have some quiet time to revise by yourself but revising with friends is super fun! They can help you in subjects you are in together, and question you on subjects that you don’t do together. Another tip for understanding topics and revising is to try and teach someone, it means you have to understand a concept in order to teach it. You just need to find the technique that works the best for you! Also, you don’t need to revise for 6 hours straight the night before a test! Try revising for a week or so before the day of the test in short chunks, taking breaks to give yourself time to recover.

Blake: First of all, find a revision technique that works for you. That could be creating mind maps, reading from textbooks, online videos, just anything that you find helps you remember and understand the subject area. I would also highly recommend setting yourself goals, and rewarding yourself for them. For example, you could study for an hour and then have an hour of free time. And the most important one: Please take breaks!!! Studying for three 30 minute sessions with a 10 minute break in between will be a lot more effective than one session of 1 hour 30 minutes, as your brain has time to process the information.

Abi: firstly GET ENOUGH SLEEP! This helps massively. Do not overload your brain, split your work/revision up over a week into smaller chunks. This then also allows you to have time away to rest and enjoy your other hobbies. Little and often it’s more effective then cramming loads of work in the night before an exam. Another main thing is do make sure if you are stuck or unclear with anything ever, ask your teacher. It will help your understanding of the task clearer and I’m sure the teachers would be more then happy to help! 

Chris: Personally I like to utilise the various resources and websites the school has subscribed to such as Seneca, because they are programmed to get you to learn and memorise information.

How can I balance my school work with things I want to do?

Poppi: Make sure you take time to do things you enjoy! School is important but so is looking after yourself. Make a revision timetable, or set aside specific nights to do homework or revision. This way you can still do things you find interesting! Try out different routines and find what works for you!

Blake: Allow yourself to have that time! Just because you’re in the GCSE years it doesn’t mean you have to study 24/7. Just try to find time to study or revise, and get into a routine. You could study in the morning, and have the evening to yourself, or you could break it into chunks throughout the night. Just don’t burn yourself out, as that’s as good as not studying at all. Give yourself breaks, and let yourself process the information you’ve taken in.

Abi: Balancing study work and free time can be hard. However it’s so important to have time away from studying and revising. Relieving stress within your body. It’s so important to not worry and to have time away doing either sports or crafts, anything you enjoy doing even if it’s only for half an hour. 

Chris: I have never had a problem with not having enough time to do homework and other school work despite playing 2 instruments attending several clubs and rugby on Sundays, so you should be fine.

And finally, do you have any other advice or tips?

Poppi: Enjoy your time at school! My friends have been super helpful and I’ve had so much fun with them. Make the most of every opportunity available to you, and just have fun!

Blake: Don’t let the prospect of GCSEs scare you. As long as you find out what works for you, and don’t overwork yourself, I’m sure it’ll be a breeze. 

Abi: Start preparing yourself early however, have fun throughout school and take each and every opportunity that is given to you!

Chris: Approach every subject with curiosity and interest.

A big thank you to Poppi, Abi, Blake, Amelie and Chris for giving such valuable advise. Remember, if you are struggling at all with revision, workload, exams or something else, please speak to someone. There are plenty of people at Northgate that can help and give you advice and support you.