After two difficult years of COVID-19 disruption, the government has chosen to provide pupils with additional support in preparation for their exams.
In collaboration with exam regulator Ofqual, the Department for Education (DfE) has published guidance on the 2022 GCSEs, AS and A-levels exams.
What changes have been made to the 2022 exams?
In light of the school closures and learning losses young people have experienced, allowances have been made to help them succeed in their studies.
The guidance states that:
- Students will not need to cover the entirety of the curriculum content in subjects such as GCSE English literature, history and geography. Pupils will study and be tested on fewer topics.
- In subjects such as GCSE maths, physics and combined science, students will be provided with a sheet covering all the formulae they need in the exam.
- GCSE, AS and A-level pupils in all other subjects will receive ‘advance information’ regarding the topics that will come up in the exams so they can focus their revision.
- Adjustments have been made to practical assessments in sciences and art and design, because of the COVID-19 restrictions that stopped students from engaging fully with these subjects. AS and A-level art and design students will be assessed on their portfolios only.
- Exam boards will make grade boundaries more lenient so that more students are able to get higher grades in 2022 compared to before the pandemic.
How to prepare for your exams
Most young people sitting their GCSE and A-level exams this year will have never sat formal exams in their lives. It’s ok for them to feel anxious about such a big event and it’s important to remind them that they don’t have to be perfect.
The government has made adjustments to help young people succeed so they need to do their part to ensure they are well prepared.
Offering advance information is one of the biggest changes to the 2022 exams. Students will be given prior notice of what will be on most exams to help them with revision.
- Find advance information from exam boards
The first step in preparing for final exams is to find out which exam boards your child’s school uses. Schools often use multiple exam boards depending on the various subject qualifications they offer. AQA, OCR and Edexcel are the most popular. Each exam board has published the advance information for most of their GCSE, AS and A-level specifications.
The type of advance information provided for each subject will differ. For example, study aids may be provided in exam subjects such as maths and science but not in PE because it is assessed through practicals and coursework.
Remember that the advance information will not provide all the answers, they are just there to propel students in their revision. It is still necessary for pupils to develop a strong understanding of their subjects.
Find advance information and guidance from exam boards below:
- Create a study timetable and stick to it
With most GCSE students studying between 8 to 13 subjects, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Creating a study timetable your child can stick to is the foundation of excellent exam preparation.
The first step is to determine how much time they have to revise by finding out the exam dates. Once that’s done, use the advance information guidance to figure out what subjects need to be prioritised.
Break the subjects into smaller topics and spend appropriate time on each. If your child already has strong knowledge on a particular topic they may want to spend more time developing a weaker area.
After a full school day, your child may only have a couple of hours to revise each day so support them with this. Start with splitting revision into 30-minute increments so the timetable remains manageable and achievable. Some days they may have more time and other days you might have less so remember to be flexible and realistic. They will do well as long as they are consistently working towards their goals.
You can make your own study planner here.
- Learn how your child likes to study
The process of learning is different for everyone. Teachers are taught that the classroom should be a place that facilitates learning and your child’s revision space should do the same. If the environment is noisy, distracting and uncomfortable, it will be harder to concentrate.
Some students love to get up early to study, while others prefer an evening revision session. Coloured pens, cool notebooks and educational apps can also help to make revision more enjoyable. Speak to your child and establish which methods work best for them.
A poor learning environment and ineffective study methods can make learning close to impossible and strip away all the fun. This will make it less likely for your child to enjoy studying and they’ll be reluctant to do it.
Study methods are always changing so don’t worry if something seems to have stopped working for your child. We will be covering some effective scientifically proven study techniques in a future blog post which will be coming soon.
Sitting exams can be a scary ordeal but it doesn’t have to be. Ensuring that your child is fully prepared for their exams will help curve any looming anxiety. Hopefully, the techniques above will help you support your child, leave a comment below if they do!