The Journey to Grade 9’s at GCSE
The grade often provides victors with a warm feeling of satisfaction, yet the journey to attaining a grade 9 is not by any means easy; instead, it is one that is filled with great diligence and persistence.
Attained by a rare percentage of students, a grade 9 can unlock various positions at post-16 as well as providing students with the upper-hand when it comes to assessing and comparing different University Applications. For example, if there were two candidates – both of whom had achieved immaculately at A Level as well as having the required work experience in the field, then a potential differentiator may be their GCSE grades (although this may differ from University to University).
Nevertheless, it is better to act now in preparation of the future: regardless of what you may wish to do later on in life, having a grade 9 – or even an 8 – can be highly beneficial…
The following bullet-points are some of the greatest advice from past students who have attained the magnificence that is a grade 8 or a 9 – both of which are equivalent to the old-school A*:
• Good revision means less revision. For revision to be ‘good’, remember to engage with what you are learning. Although for many this means writing it down in your own words and processing the information, this isn’t the case for everyone. Simply thinking or talking through the information presented to you can work wonders. It will mean that when faced with an unexpected exam question, you will be able to think on your feet rather than simply regurgitating.
• Play the game. It’s important to realise that the examination system we must all abide by? Yeah, it’s a game. And games have rules which – in this case – rules made by the examiners. This is why it’s important to look at mark-schemes. These act like cheat-sheets of sorts by telling you what the examiner wants to see. Remember, the aim isn’t to write something that is unique or inspiring, just what examiners look for as they tick off boxes in the mark-scheme.
• Focus. I’m sorry to be an unwanted wake-up call but it’s essential for you to know your limits. Having a laugh with mates is all well and good but you have more than enough time outside of class. Focus on what the teacher is saying; make notes the first time round to make sure you soak up as much as possible. If you don’t understand, that’s fine – approach the teacher in question or even an understanding peer. The bottom line is: you have to interact with the lesson and focus on the topic at hand from the very beginning to do well with the content. Just focus.
• Pay attention. Yet another unwanted pearl of wisdom… As mentioned before, when in lessons: listen to the teacher. This is because – believe it or not – your teacher knows what they’re on about (at least most of the time). He or she has tonnes of experience with the exam board you are about to face and know exactly what the ‘hooks’ are that examiners look for. They also have experience with different students – most of whom have different learning styles. Chances are they’ve come across a previous student who struggled with the same aspects of the curriculum before and probably already have methods at hand to help overcome these struggles.