All posts by JK educate

11+ interview questions

It is becoming more common for independent and state-selected schools to use interviews as part of their selection process at 11+. For a child of 10 or 11 years old, this can be a daunting prospect. And just like the 11+ entrance exam, the 11+ interview needs preparation.

Putting your child through the 11+ without adequate preparation can make the experience stressful and traumatic, and can knock a child’s confidence badly. By preparing your child for the 11+, it gives them the best chance of success and ensures a positive learning experience.

This guide gives you everything you need to prepare well for the 11+ interview. It explains the 11+ interview process and its purpose, gives top tips on how to ace the 11+ interview and the type of 11+ interview questions your child may be asked.

WHY IS MY CHILD BEING INTERVIEWED?

Before preparing for the 11+ interview, it’s important to understand why your child is being interviewed and what the school is looking to assess. Of course, every school is different, with perhaps a different ethos or subject focus, but the reasons for the 11+ interviews are the same.

In a nutshell, the 11+ interview is an opportunity for the school to gauge a child’s confidence, social skills and interest in joining the school. The school is also assessing if your child is a suitable match for them. They want to know that your child will fit in academically and socially and exhibit behaviours that the school expects from its pupils.

They are looking for evidence that your child is intelligent, has critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, is committed to studying, participating in extracurricular activities, as well as having the confidence and the ability to talk well about a range of subjects.

HOW TO PRESENT AND CONDUCT YOURSELF IN THE 11+ INTERVIEW

The way in which your child presents themselves during the 11+ interview is just as important as the answers they give. First impressions count. Behaviour and conduct send strong signals to the interviewers about the child’s ability to act appropriately, contain their behaviour and perform under pressure.

Here are some simple yet important tips on how to present and conduct oneself in an 11+ interview:

1.) Dress appropriately in neat and tidy clothes, such as a smart school uniform or formal clothing.

2.) Arrive in plenty of time for the interview so your child is not rushed and flustered beforehand.

3.) Maintain good posture, try not to fidget (holding hands together in your lap is a good way to keep them from unconsciously moving around when nervous) and maintain a friendly, confident demeanour throughout the interview.

4.) Greet the interviewer(s) with a confident handshake while making eye contact and wait to be invited to sit down.

5.) Use positive body language, such as nodding and smiling, to convey engagement and enthusiasm.

6.) Speak clearly and confidently. If your child makes a mistake or gets flustered, they should simply acknowledge the error, correct themselves and continue.

7) Try to be relaxed, but not too casual – sit upright, and maintain eye contact and polite demeanour. Don’t use informal language or slang. Your child should imagine speaking to a friend’s parent and use the same tone.

If your child isn’t naturally very self-confident and tends to get restless, it is important to practice the interview setting with them, so that they can learn to keep eye contact and sit still whilst listening and responding to questions with confidence.

Working with a tuition agency like JK Educate is a great way to get focused tuition and expert advice in preparation for the 11+. Specialist tutors experienced in the 11+ can provide ‘insider knowledge’ on the 11+ and the selection process at specific state and independent schools. If you are able, seriously consider 11+ tuition for your child. Or perhaps sign your child up for the 11+ mock exam practice or 11+ mock interview practice to give them the best chance of success.

HOW TO ANSWER 11+ INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

Interview styles differ from school to school. While most 11+ interviews use a 1:2 or 1:1 interview technique with one child and 1 or 2 interviewers, some schools interview children in groups of eight or ten, by asking them to engage in a group activity. Group interviews allow schools to evaluate a child’s social skills and ability to work effectively in a team.

Some schools ask the students to bring something with them to talk about, typically a favourite piece of work from Year 6 or some other personal item, and then base the interview around this. While others focus purely on asking a series of questions that are the same for each interviewee.

Whatever the style of interview employed, the way in which your child should answer 11+ questions is the same:

1.) Do your research about the school so you can show awareness of the school’s history, approach and achievements during the interview.

2.) Listen carefully to the question, take a moment to gather your thoughts, and then respond thoughtfully. There’s no need to rush.

3.) Clarify the question. If your child does not understand what is meant by a particular question, they should not feel embarrassed about clarifying, it is always better to do this than to answer a different question.

4.) Use clear and articulate language to express thoughts effectively. Try not to use repetitive language if possible, it helps to use a wide range of words that demonstrate a good vocabulary.

5.) Keep answers concise and focused, avoiding rambling or going off-topic. Equally, avoid one-word answers. Aim to provide thoughtful explanations that demonstrate understanding.

6.) Provide specific examples and experiences to support the answers given.

7.) Be prepared for follow-up questions and be ready to expand on answers if required.

8.) Be enthusiastic and convey keenness to join the school and contribute to the school’s community.

TYPES OF 11+ INTERVIEW QUESTIONS TO EXPECT

While it’s impossible to predict the exact questions that will be asked in an 11+ interview, there are common questions that come up time and again.

Here is a list of the types of questions asked in the 11+ interview. Spend time with your child preparing answers to these questions and practice the interview technique as much as possible before the big day.

General interview questions:

Tell us about yourself.
How do you manage your time between schoolwork and extracurricular activities?
Describe a challenging situation you faced and how you overcame it.
Who is your favourite author and why?
Name someone from history who you admire.

Academic questions:

What subjects do you enjoy the most, and why?
Which subjects do you find most challenging, and how do you cope with them?
Can you explain a topic you’ve recently studied in detail?
How do you approach problem-solving in Maths or other subjects?
Tell us about a school project you are particularly proud of.
Tell us about a piece of group work or teamwork you were involved in.

Questions on extracurricular interests & hobbies:

What hobbies or extracurricular activities are you involved in?
How do your hobbies or activities contribute to your personal growth?
Tell us about a project or activity you’ve undertaken outside of school.
What are your hobbies and interests?
What do you do in your spare time?
What do you typically do on a Saturday afternoon?

School and learning environment questions:

What do you like about your current school?
If you were a headteacher, what would you change at your current school?
Why do you want to attend this particular school?
How do you envision yourself contributing to the school community?
What type of learning environment do you prefer, and why?
Why do you want to come to this school?
What do you like about our school?

Questions on personal goals and aspirations:

What are your academic and career goals for the future?
How do you plan to achieve these goals?
What do you hope to gain from attending a new school?

Behavioural questions:

How do you handle challenges or setbacks in your studies?
How do you collaborate with peers in group projects?
Describe a situation where you showed leadership and initiative.

Abstract questions:

Is it important to be kind to people?
What would you do if you did not have to work when you are older?
What would you do if you won the lottery?
What is the biggest problem facing the world at the moment?
If you could be an animal, what would you choose to be and why?

DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS?

Towards the end of the interview, students will usually be asked if they have any questions. It’s always good to prepare 1 or 2 questions for this section of the interview. Think of questions that you and your child genuinely want to know about the school, not what you think they want to hear. Example questions could be:

  • What extracurricular activities or clubs are available for students at the school?
  • How does the school support and encourage students to pursue their academic interests and passions?
  • How does the school foster a positive and inclusive learning environment?
  • I particularly enjoy X and X subjects, how does the school support students focusing on these subjects?
  • What makes this school so successful?

BEING FULLY PREPARED

By preparing for the 11+ interview as well as the 11+ exam, you give your child the best chance of 11+ success. Turning the 11+ experience into a positive learning journey that bolsters their confidence and teaches them skills they will use throughout life.

To be fully prepared for the 11+ exam and interview, consider working with a tuition agency like JK Educate. JK Educate offers effective and targeted 11+ tutoring, including mock 11+ exam practice and mock 11+ interview practice.

The JK Educate 11+ tutoring includes:

  • A personalised teaching plan is created for each student based on their existing knowledge and what 11+ elements they are taught at school. The teaching plan is updated and evolves throughout your child’s journey so tutoring is targeted and effective.
  • Each student is carefully matched to an ideal individual 11+ tutor, based on learning style and personality. This is a key element in our students’ success stories.
  • Highly sought-after, experienced tutors who undergo a rigorous selection. Tutors are also trained in specific 11+ tutoring techniques and curriculum content by the unique JK Academy.
  • Unique JK 11+ teaching packs are regularly updated to reflect the ever-changing requirements of the 11+ exam boards and the individual schools’ entrance exam procedures.
  • All of JK’s private 11+ tutors are monitored by JK’s senior team throughout the entire 11+ tutoring journey, whether they are in-person or online 11+ tutors.
  • Parents receive regular, detailed feedback including their child’s progress against the agreed targets.
  • 11+ interview preparation sessions focus in detail on what schools are looking for and include opportunities for individual 1:1 interviews, group interviews and practical activities as well as a bespoke interview for a parent and a child.
  • Individual interview preparation sessions at times that best suit you.
  • Mock exam practice with exams that have been specifically written by 11+ experts, commissioned to reproduce the challenges and standards that will be tested in the 11+ selective secondary school exams.

At JK Educate, we have an outstanding success rate with our 11+ students, our recent cohort achieved a 97.4% pass rate in the 11+. This reflects the exceptional 11+ tutoring delivered by JK through our experienced and highly sought-after 11+ tutors combined with the unique JK learning materials.

To find out how we can support your child through the challenges and rewards of the 11+ get in touch with us today.

 

How to Get a 9 in GCSE Biology

Students often get nervous about their Biology GCSE exam as the subject requires remembering a lot of information. This creates anxiety about whether their grade boundaries will be high enough.

If you’re aiming for a grade 9 in GCSE Biology, you may be feeling stressed about your revision. Getting a high grade in GCSE Biology is essential if you want to study the subject at A-Level or want to go on to Biology-centric subjects, such as medicine, at university.

In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to achieve your goal of a 9 in Biology including study materials, recommended revision techniques and other valuable advice from the expert GCSE tutors at JK Educate.

HOW HARD IS IT TO GET A 9 IN GCSE BIOLOGY?

While GCSE Biology can be a challenging subject for many, achieving a grade of 9 is not out of reach. For those who regularly put the study time in, understand the application of the concepts in the curriculum and study smarter, not harder, a grade 9 is truly attainable.

Nobody knows for sure where the grade boundaries will be set because each year there are small differences in the difficulty of an exam paper. This is why every year there will be small changes to the grade boundaries.

In a normal exam year, grade boundaries are agreed during a process called “awarding” that takes place after all the exams are marked. Senior examiners from all the exam boards compare samples of exam papers from the current and previous years. This is to ensure that standards have been maintained over time, and a grade 9 in 2020 is comparable with a grade 9 in 2021 and 2022, and so on. In this process, the Senior Examiners also take into account:

  • Feedback from examiners about the exam paper
  • Data about the previous achievements of the cohort of students taking the exam
  • Previous statistics

Without knowing exactly what the grade boundaries are for a grade 9 score this year can be disconcerting for students. Don’t let this stress you. Focus on tactical systematic revision and do the best you can to increase your confidence. Feeling confident that you have prepared well will help you to feel more relaxed when exam day comes, and this alone can be a game changer for your exam performance.

WHAT PERCENTAGE DO YOU NEED FOR A 9 IN GCSE BIOLOGY?

The percentage needed for a grade 9 varies from year to year as it is, of course, linked to the grade boundaries. Approximately, we can say grade 9 is awarded to those in the top 5% – or 1 in 20 candidates.

To work out approximately what percentage you need to get a grade 9, you can refer to the previous year’s grade boundaries as a guide. Using that figure you can calculate the percentage score needed. So you can practice your GCSE Maths at the same time!

Here’s an example of how to calculate the percentage score:

The exam has a total of 200 marks. If 165 marks are needed to get a grade 9 that percentage can be calculated as: 165 ÷ 200 x 100 = 82.5%

82.5% is the minimum grade needed to get a grade 9 in this example.

Here’s another example; the exam has a total of 180 possible marks. 130 marks are needed for a grade 9. The percentage needed is 130 ÷180 x 100 = 72.2. In this example, 72.2% is the minimum grade needed to get a grade 9.

If you want to calculate your overall grade, including your coursework and exams, you can use an online tool like this one to make the calculation easy.

To help you calculate the score you need here are the grade boundaries, by examining board, for GCSE Biology in 2021 and 2022:

EDEXCEL Max mark 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 U
Nov 2021:
Foundation Biology 200 –  –  –  –  115 95 69 43 17 0
Higher Biology 200 150 130 110 87 65 43 32 0
June 2022:
Foundation Biology 200 –  –  –  –  115 95 69 43 17 0
Higher Biology 200 165 147 130 107 85 63 52 –  –  0
AQA Max mark 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 U
Nov 2021:
Foundation Biology 200 –  –  –  –  119 102 74 46 18 0
Higher Biology 200 130 114 98 81 64 48 40 0
June 2022:
Foundation Biology 200 –  –  –  –  126 104 76 48 20 0
Higher Biology 200 144 123 103 80 58 63 25 –  –  0
OCR Max mark 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 U
Nov 2021:
Foundation Biology 180 –  –  –  –  80 63 46 29 12 0
Higher Biology 180 128 112 97 78 59 40 30 0
June 2022:
Foundation Biology 180 131 116  102 83 65 47 38 0
Higher Biology 180 125 110 95 78 61 45 37 –  –  0
WJEC Max mark A B C* C D E F G
Nov 2022: No data available for this year
June 2022:
Foundation & Higher Biology 180 162 144 126 108 90 72 42 36
CCEA Max mark A B C* C D E F G
June 2022:
GBL1 Foundation  102 94 84 70 56 42 28
GBL1 Higher 140 112 103 84 84 70 63 –  – 
GBL2 Foundation  116 –  –  108 96 80 64 48 32
GBL2 Higher 160 128 117 108 96 80 72
GBL3 Foundation  72 67 60 50 40 30 20
GBL3 Higher 100 80 73 67 60 50 45

UNDERSTANDING THE EXAM

The exam contents and format can vary slightly depending on the examining board, but here’s a general overview of the exam format:

  • Multiple-choice questions: These questions present a question followed by several response options.
  • Structured questions: These questions may require shorter responses, such as filling in the blanks, labelling diagrams, completing tables, or matching items.
  • Extended writing tasks : These questions require more detailed and extended answers. You may be asked to explain biological concepts, describe processes or analyse experimental data, for example.
  • Practical or experimental skills: The exam may also include questions or tasks that assess your practical knowledge, such as interpreting experimental data, planning investigations, or evaluating experimental procedures.

Most exam boards assess GCSE Biology with 2 written exams, often referred to as Paper 1 and Paper 2. The duration of each paper can range from 1 hour to 1 hour 45 minutes, depending on the examining board. It’s important to check the specifications and guidelines of the examining board relevant to you. If you are not sure which examining board your school uses, ask your teacher for clarification.

WHERE CAN I FIND GCSE BIOLOGY PAST PAPERS?

Past papers are a great way to test your knowledge and improve your time management skills during the exam. They also allow you to familiarise yourself with the exam format and style. Past papers are easy to find, just be sure to use the past papers and marking schemes from the examining board relevant to you.

Where to find past papers:

Online – Revision World provides a wide range of past papers for GCSE Biology.

Examining boards – Each examining board has past papers and marking schemes available on their websites:

AQA – www.aqa.org.uk

OCR – www.ocr.org.uk

Edexcel – www.edexcel.com

WJEC – www.wjec.co.uk

MASTERING THE CONTENT

To get a grade 9 in GCSE Biology you need to have a solid study schedule that covers all the curriculum you have learned. You must start revising early, cramming at the last minute is not enough to get top marks.

Start by creating a study schedule and set specific goals, such as covering 2 curriculum topics per week. Identify your weak areas and focus on these, but don’t forget that you need to revise all the content in the curriculum, not just the ones you know least about.

Test yourself regularly to know if your revision is on target. You can do this in a study group with friends by asking each other questions based on the curriculum, by asking a family member to quiz you based on your study material or find online quizzes and tests. Use different learning and testing methods to keep things interesting and as a way of testing your knowledge in different ways.

Visual aids such as flashcards and mnemonic devices can be effective ways to consolidate big topics down to small prompts that trigger your memory. Mnemonics can be words – such as a phrase or acronym. A visual mnemonic could be a flow chart or other visual cue. Or create a ‘memory journey’, which involves making up a story or journey with each part of the story being a memory prompt.

To learn more about how to use mnemonics for revision check out these examples .

When revising content you should do more than just read your notes. Review the course book material, study with friends, find videos online about the specific topic you are studying and do quizzes – all these different inputs will keep you on track so you don’t get bored throughout your revision time.

Working with a private tutor is an incredibly effective way to study and revise. The tutor knows your target subject inside and out, having helped dozens if not hundreds of students like you. They know how the examining boards test and the common pitfalls that students experience. Working with a tutor will build your confidence also – which is a common factor for poor exam performance. Having their expert one-to-one support is priceless. So if this option is open to you seriously consider it.

GCSE BIOLOGY PRO TIPS AND EXAM TECHNIQUES FROM EXPERT TUTORS

Here at JK Educate our highly experienced and knowledgeable GCSE tutors have helped hundreds of students reach their GCSE potential. Here are some of their pro tips for achieving success in GCSE Biology:

Make a plan
Make a detailed revision schedule using the exam board specification as a checklist for each curriculum topic. Break topics down into smaller sections and spread them across your revision schedule. Remember that you will be revising for many GCSE subjects so start early, plan breaks into your schedule and don’t try to cram too much into one revision session or a week’s schedule. A steady constant pace will get you the best results.

Create a revision guide
Using the main curriculum topics as a starting point, go through all your class notes for each topic to ensure that you have all the information to work from. Create a ‘cover sheet’ for each curriculum topic that highlights key topics, formulas, units of measurement and any other key terms that relate to that topic. Create a summary paragraph for each cover sheet that sums up the topic. Be sure that you understand what you’re writing here and not just copying notes.

Mix things up
If you don’t have a preferred style for memorisation, be sure to utilise lots of different techniques in your revision. This not only minimises your chances of daydreaming but it can make difficult topics fun. Students can get bogged down in complicated terms and processes when revising Science subjects.

Try different learning methods such as watching Youtube videos for any tricky topics and concepts you struggle with. Write notes on what you’ve learned, try to explain the concept to a friend or family member (recalling information in this way solidifies learning very effectively) and use mnemonic visual aids as a way of expressing detailed topics in a simple form. Connect concepts and information to real-life examples to enhance your understanding.

Practice the exam
You are not just revising the curriculum of Biology but you are also learning how information should be presented in the exam, how questions may be asked, and how to answer exam questions in a way exam boards are looking for.

Failing to read the question carefully is a common way for students to drop marks in the exam. Practice analysing the exam question carefully, paying specific attention to keywords and command terms used. Review answers from top-mark students. Observe how they structure their answers, give as much detail as possible, use examples to demonstrate understanding and problem solving and show their process of thinking such as the formulas used.

Exam technique
Past papers are perfect for this. Be sure to practice many and score your finished paper using the marking scheme so you can track your strengths and weaknesses. Practising exam time management is also important. Time yourself, and practice answering the questions you know first, then come back to tricky questions later, so you don’t waste precious exam time.

Revise with friends
Don’t just sit in your bedroom reading your notes alone – this is a guaranteed way to get bored and start daydreaming. As well as being an ineffective way to memorise information. Find a friend who you can study with, you can test each other and share different ways of revising and recalling information. A big study group can be a fun way to practice recall – make teams and quiz each other, turning it into a game.

Use online resources
There’s a wealth of information online, from study schedule templates and quizzes to past papers, videos, online forums and much more. Working with a tutor is one of the most effective revision methods. One-to-one tutoring can assess your knowledge, give tips specific to you, and you can tap into their wealth of knowledge and experience. JK Educate offers online GCSE tutors so no matter where you are in the country you can benefit from their expertise.

MANAGING EXAM STRESS

The exam period is a stressful time. Fear of failure, the pressure to perform well and high expectations from yourself and others can add to the stress. Intense revision periods and last-minute cramming can result in feeling burnt out and overwhelmed by the time exam day rolls around, all of which will negatively impact your exam performance.

It’s important to manage your stress during this time. Here are a few tips to keep you calm and focused:

  • Create a study environment that promotes focus and relaxation. Revising while feeling calm and relaxed means you will be able to absorb and learn much more effectively.
  • Practice mindfulness and deep breathing exercises. Stress is physical as well as mental. Deep calm breathing practices instantly calm the body and mind. Try deep breathing exercises every day, and use them as a way to calm yourself if you find your anxiety rising.
  • Take regular breaks, making sure you plan this into your study schedule. Revising all day with few breaks is much less effective than short bursts of focused revision. During breaks be sure to get outside, take a walk, do some sports, or other activities that you find enjoyable and relaxing.
  • Seek support from family, friends and professionals. Remember that those around you not only have experience of what you’re going through but they know you well and are rooting for you. Don’t be scared to ask for help from teachers, parents and tutors. Teachers and tutors can offer detailed guidance and support. Equally, friends are not only great study buddies but can give us a safe space to unload our feelings and share ideas.

GET SET FOR SUCCESS

With this clear guidance you have all the tools you need to optimise your revision efforts and get you closer to achieving a grade 9 in GCSE Biology. Following these steps and being as prepared as possible for exam day will give you the best chance of success while keeping stress and anxiety at bay.

If you still have concerns about your revision technique, or ability to learn particular topics in the curriculum, seek the support of a professional tutor. Working with a tutor is the fastest and most efficient way to get your studies on track while boosting your confidence.

Get in touch with JK Educate today to find out how an expert GCSE tutor can help you . We offer flexible tutoring services face-to-face or online with our highly experienced and much sought-after tutors. Call us on 020 3488 0754 or fill in our online enquiry form .

THE BENEFITS OF VOLUNTEERING FOR CHILDREN

Teaching children to give back to the community has countless benefits for their mental and emotional development as well as encouraging them to get involved in the world around them and learn new skills. A great activity that is often overlooked is volunteering. Although volunteering often focuses on helping others, there are many personal benefits that children can gain. As a result, it can pave the way to academic and interpersonal success.

Here we list some of the great benefits of volunteering for children, and most of them apply to adults also!

1. Encourages cooperation

Most volunteer experiences for children will be in settings where they’ll need to work in a team, often with people other than their typical peers. Different volunteering roles can teach young children the importance of listening to directions and how to relate with others. These roles can also teach older children to take responsibility through leadership or to listen to the thoughts of their peers. One very important skill all children learn from volunteering is how to work together as a team. They’ll learn what it’s like to share a common goal with others, and how to work together and compromise in order to achieve that goal.

2. Helps build empathy

To teach children compassion, it’s important to put them in scenarios in which they hear stories from people who come from different backgrounds. Through acts of service for those less fortunate than ourselves, and working alongside people of different ages and backgrounds, your children will build a deeper sense of empathy, as well as broaden their world-view.

3. Sparks interests and passions

Throughout primary and secondary school our children usually learn sports or crafts that are framed as extra-curricular or hobby activities. This can help them understand what sparks their interest and why, which can serve as a window to their sense of identity.

When volunteering, children are exposed to new environments, occupations, activities and skills they don’t usually get to see during their typical school-home routine. This can help them find new hobbies and activities and inspire their future careers.

4. Builds self-esteem

Self-esteem can plummet during secondary school, especially for young girls. It’s not just that pop culture and societal norms tend to send a message of inadequacy to them. It’s also because their brains develop in a way where their maturing emotional intelligence can also lead to overthinking.

It’s critical in this stage to encourage your children to learn about and embrace their specific talents and skills to foster good self-esteem. When your child or teenager volunteers, they can get in touch with and learn new skills that they hadn’t noticed before. This enforces the idea they can make a difference in the world around them and distracts them from their inward-looking thought patterns.

The feeling of having purpose helps foster a sense of independence. They’ll start to feel more capable of personal achievement at home, in school, and in their personal lives as they become motivated to push themselves a little further in all they do.

5. Develops leadership skills

The confidence your child gains while volunteering in combination with the ability to learn planning skills and deal with real-life issues is the perfect recipe for a young leader. Volunteering teaches important leadership skills learn such as:

  • Planning – To reach any goal, you need a plan. Your children will learn not only how to plan projects like meals and portions for homeless shelter volunteering, but how to plan to achieve an organisational goal.
  • Negotiation – Sharing a common goal with a team is learning the ability to compromise with different kinds of people to achieve that goal.
  • Operations Management – Witnessing a project from start to finish can help children learn the best processes for projects.

These leadership skills will serve them in future roles in both their personal and academic worlds. And these experiences can also help them abstain from peer pressure.

6. Meet new friends

In their search for identity, teenagers can often feel lonely or isolated, especially if they have a hard time finding others who share the same interests. Volunteering unites like-minded individuals with similar interests. Meeting these people can help remind your child that there are plenty of people like them in the world who care about the same things they do.

7. Volunteering increases gratitude

Volunteering often opens children’s eyes to experiences that are less fortunate than their own. Even as adults, we sometimes don’t realise what we could be grateful for. However, when we meet people at a shelter who don’t have a home or send packages to military personnel stationed overseas, it helps us learn not to take things for granted.

8. Reduces stress, anxiety and depression

Whether your child is struggling with their mental health or not doesn’t matter. Volunteering has innumerable mental health benefits that have been proven time and time again.

Volunteering has been shown to decrease stress levels, depression, and anxiety and boost overall health and satisfaction with life. When we help other people, it activates the reward centre in our brains and releases serotonin, dopamine and endorphins. That’s why many people often feel better after volunteering. We are innately wired to feel this way because we are social animals and the survival of the species depends on cooperation and caring for each other.

In addition, participating in volunteering can help children take their minds off what’s causing them stress. There’s a feeling of gratitude that comes along with volunteer work that buoys us up and encourages us to do more for those around us. It has just as positive effects on depression. When we are depressed we tend to shy away from social interaction and people, even though they are the very things that make us feel better.

9. Improves self-awareness

By taking part in activities that positively impact the world around us, people become more aware of their habits. As a result, it becomes easier to complete future positive actions. For example, someone who has spent time with the homeless may be more likely to first think about donating old clothes instead of throwing them away. Children who have spent time planting trees and making their community look better may be less likely to litter.

10. Inspires giving

The act of volunteering can show children they can make a difference even when they don’t have money. In fact, in many cases, it is giving our time to others that matters the most. For example, children can volunteer at a retirement home and spend time with the elderly who have no family members or at an animal shelter caring for homeless animals. When they know they have made a difference in someone else’s life, they will be excited not just about receiving but giving as well.

WHERE TO FIND VOLUNTEERING OPPORTUNITIES FOR CHILDREN

Volunteering takes many forms, from helping out an elderly neighbour by doing their grocery shopping to taking part in organised events for a charity. One thing is for sure, there will always be a need to help somewhere in your local community.

Talk with your child and find out if there are specific volunteering that they might be interested in. It could be something completely different which they have never considered, or it could be helping out a cause that is already of interest. Remember that for children, or anyone, if they have never experienced volunteering before they may have reservations or may not be able to think of the type of volunteering they would like to do – because they have never experienced it before.

Role modelling volunteering is the most powerful way you can engage your child in community participation, and it can be a great family activity to do together.

Here are some organisations and ideas to get you started:

The Duke of Edinburgh Awards lists over 21 volunteering ideas for children on their website.

The Volunteer Now organisation has a youth volunteering portal where you can find opportunities relevant to you and your area.

The Prince’s Trust list volunteering ideas and organisations suitable for children on their website.

Volunteer First list specific volunteering opportunities for 13 – 17-year-olds in various regions around the UK.

A-LEVEL RESULTS DAY 2023: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

As A-Level results day creeps closer, students up and down the country are eagerly awaiting the outcome of 2 years of hard work. The excitement is palpable but for many, it’s a time of uncertainty and high anxiety.

However you feel about A-Level results day, you need to be prepared for several possible outcomes. Whether you achieve your expected results, surpass them, or fall short, there will be actions you need to complete depending on your results.

In this guide, we explain what you can expect on A-Level results day, how to prepare for it and the possible things you may need to do depending on your A-Level scores.

WHEN IS A-LEVEL RESULTS DAY 2023?

A-Level results day is on Thursday 17 August 2023 in England. Scottish results day is Tuesday 8 August 2023.

You can collect your results from your school or college as soon as it opens in the morning. Most exam boards will make results available online from 8 am on the same day.

Students will be able to access their UCAS applications on the UCAS Hub from 8 am on results day and will be able to add a Clearing choice from 1 pm.

PREPARING FOR A-LEVEL RESULTS DAY

It’s important to be prepared for your A-Level results so you’re ready to spring into action on the day. If you have applied for a university place, then you have a lot riding on your exam results. It’s important to know what actions you need to take, depending on your results.

Whatever you do, don’t panic and try to stay calm. By reading this guide and preparing in advance for the day, you will give yourself the best chance of dealing with your exam results calmly and efficiently, which will make the whole experience a lot easier.

Hopefully it’s a day of success and celebration, but even if not, you need to know what the results will mean for your education/career plans and what actions you will need to take.

Before results day read what each of your offers mean from the universities that have offered you a place. Understand what Clearing is, how the process works and what results you need to go to the university, apprenticeships or job that you have applied for.

You will also need to check how your exam results get to your chosen universities/colleges – most go directly to UCAS from the awarding organisations, and UCAS send them on to your chosen universities. But if not, you need to send your exam results to your universities or colleges yourself. You can check this information on the UCAS website.

On the day of your results, there are a few things you need to take with you when you collect your results. These are especially important if your grades are lower than expected:

  • A fully charged mobile phone and phone charger – in case you need to go through Clearing.
  • Download the UCAS Clearing app from the iOS or Google Play store.
  • Calculator – to work out your UCAS Tariff Points.
  • UCAS letter – with your UCAS ID number (and log-in details) and conditional offer grades
  • Copy of your reference and their contact details.
  • Your UCAS Clearing number – this will only be available on UCAS Hub if you’ve been rejected by both your first and insurance choices, and become eligible for Clearing.
  • Your personal statement – universities you speak to in Clearing will be able to see your personal statement and may ask you questions about it.
  • Contact details for universities you  have your eye on as back up places via Clearing.
  • Pens and paper – this may sound obvious but they are essential for the Clearing process as you may speak to several universities all of which will be supplying you with lots of information.

WHAT HAPPENS ON A-LEVEL RESULTS DAY

Results can be collected either online direct from the exam boards or from your school/college. Most schools and colleges will have an online portal where you can find your results but most students go to their school to collect them.

Collecting results in person is often preferred for several reasons; if your results are not what you were expecting your teachers will be available to help advise your next steps. If you have achieved the results you were hoping for, you will be with all your friends and peers to celebrate your success together.

It’s best to go to your school or college as early as possible on the morning of results day. If your results are lower than predicted this gives you time to prepare your next steps, such as contacting universities through Clearing which is available from 1 pm onwards.

When you collect your exam results from school you will probably receive a results slip. Teachers will be available to talk you through your results and what they mean. You can also see here what your results will look like and how to interpret them. If in doubt, speak with a teacher who will be able to help you.

Whatever results you achieve there are likely actions that you need to take, let’s review the potential outcomes you may face:

YOU’VE JUST MISSED YOUR PREDICTED A-LEVEL GRADES

If your results are just below what you were expecting, it may still be enough to be accepted by one of the universities that you have been offered a place by. If this is the case, then you need to contact the relevant university and accept the offer via the UCAS Hub.

If you’ve missed the grades by just a few marks, you should talk to the university in question. While they’re under no obligation to reconsider their decision they may listen to you if you plan to appeal any grades.

If your results don’t seem right and your university place is under threat, you could request a review of marking or moderation by the exam boards through their post-results services. Appeals can be made to Ofqual by schools and colleges in England on behalf of their students. Bear in mind that if you appeal, your grade can go up, down or stay the same. Throughout this process keep the university informed of your plans, as there’s a better chance that they’ll reserve the place for you.

You might also be offered an alternative by your chosen university, which will be classed as a ‘changed course offer’ which you’ll need to accept or decline. The UCAS Hub is available from 8 am on results day but it can often take a few hours for UCAS to update and allow you to make any changes.

If the above scenarios are not relevant to you and your grades are not enough for your conditional offers, then you will need to go through UCAS Clearing to see what places are available at other universities. The Clearing process is available from 1 pm onwards on results day. So, you will have a few hours in the morning to review university places that you identified as potential back-ups and ensure you have the contact details and relevant information to go through the Clearing process. If you need to go through Clearing you may find this detailed guide to  UCAS Clearing useful.

YOU’VE MET YOUR INSURANCE OFFER

If you miss your firm offer but meet your insurance offer, you can still go to one of your top two universities. Good work! Check on the UCAS Hub, if this shows as unconditional, you don’t need to do anything further for now. Remember, this may take a while to update in the UCAS Hub on results day. If it is still showing as conditional by lunchtime on results day, you should phone the university to find out what the hold-up is.

If you accept your insurance choice, you will need to change your student loan details using your online student finance account. You might be entitled to slightly more or slightly less financial support depending on where you’re now going to study but this does not need to be done on results day.  You can wait for your confirmation letter from the university to arrive. Of course, you will also need to think about sorting out accommodation at your new university. Alternatively, if you wish to decline your insurance offer, you can still go into Clearing.

If you miss your firm offer and insurance offer the university may accept you for a different course. This will show up on the UCAS Hub as an unconditional place with substantial changes to your original choice, with details of the new course. You have five days to decide whether to accept this alternative. Read the course description carefully and be certain that it is a course you want to do.

GRADES ARE MUCH LOWER THAN PREDICTED

Obviously, this is a disappointing outcome and may be upsetting for you, especially if friends are jumping up and down around you screaming “I got my results! I’m going to uni!”. Whatever you do don’t panic or feel that your entire life is over, there are lots of options open to you and it doesn’t spell disaster for your future.

Go and talk to your teachers at school or college who will be available on results day to help you. They know your circumstances best and are there to help advise you about what to do next. Don’t panic – remember, lots of very able people either don’t go to university straight from school or don’t go at all.

Your main options are to:

1) Enter Clearing to see if your grades are acceptable to another university.

2) Retake your A-levels next summer and reapply for next year’s entry to university. No results will be held against you, you can start the whole process again completely from scratch.

3) Forget about uni for the moment and either get a job, take a gap year, go to college to do a non-degree course, or do a traineeship or apprenticeship.

GRADES ARE MUCH HIGHER THAN PREDICTED

If you significantly exceed your predicted results first of all give yourself a big pat on the back. This is a huge success and reflects the hard work you put in during the months leading up to your exams. Once the UCAS Hub updates on the morning of results day you’ll be sent a confirmation from your firm choice. All you need to do is accept the offer and spend the day celebrating your success and look forward to going to university.

For some students achieving much higher grades than predicted can open up the chance of university places that they thought were not within reach. If this is you, and you have researched the alternative university courses that you would ideally like to attend with your higher results, then you can opt to self-release into the Clearing process and apply for a different course.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

In most cases, UCAS will receive your exam results and send them on to the universities which have offered you a place. If you are an international or EU student you may need to send proof of your results certificates or transcripts to the university, college, or conservatoire yourself. Different course providers have different policies for how they want to receive results, check with them so you know if you need to take action.

In this situation, it’s really important that you send your results/certificates yourself to your chosen course providers as soon as you receive them. You can check on the UCAS website which examination boards do not send results to UCAS, and in which case you will need to send the results yourself.

Once you have received your results and taken the necessary actions as detailed above your next steps are:

1) Sort out your accommodation for September. Don’t wait around as the best of what’s left will get snatched up quickly. This guide to finding accommodation in Clearing might help.

2) Get your finances sorted. This includes adjusting any university loans you have applied for and considering expenses you need to factor into your budget.

3) Research the area. If you’ve gone through Clearing and you’re heading to a different university than first thought you need to do some research about the university, the course and the town/city in which you will be living.

CELEBRATING ACHIEVEMENTS, STAYING POSITIVE AND SUPPORT RESOURCES

No matter what A-Level results you achieve, it’s important to take the time to acknowledge all your hard work over the last 2 years and celebrate your graduation from school. The build-up to results day can be stressful and you may feel so anxious or have such high expectations that by the time results day rolls around anything short of perfection may feel disappointing.

Remember that A-Levels are a stepping stone and part of your educational journey, not the be-all and end-all. Hopefully, you will have learned in this guide that there are numerous options available to you, even if you receive much lower grades than predicted. Try not to get caught up in the drama of the day by maintaining a realistic and positive perspective.

If you need support and advice regarding your A-Level results, check out some of these resources:

  • Exam Results Helpline (ERH): 0808 100 8000 – The ERH is a collaboration between UCAS, the BBC and the Department of Education. This free telephone exam results helpline for students is neutral, knowledgeable and non-judgmental. Lines open from 8 am on results day.
  • Talk with teachers, friends and your parents. These people know you and your circumstances the best. Talk through your concerns with them to help you decide your next steps.

THE BENEFITS OF TUTORING SERVICES

If you choose to resit your A-Levels, or you will sit your final A-Level exams next year, it’s worth considering A-Level tutoring services.

A-Level tutoring is a fantastic way to bolster your A-Level learning and can be invaluable to students who lack confidence or feel they need some extra with their course. It can also be incredibly useful to work with different tutors who may have different approaches to learning and can teach you different revision techniques. All of these can boost your study skills, build confidence and improve your chances of getting the A-Level grades you want.

A-Level tutoring can be done in person or online and is completely flexible depending on how much tutoring you wish to receive. To find out more about A-Level tutoring with JK Educate and how it can help you get in touch by phone on 020 3488 0754 or via the online contact form.

ARE YOU READY FOR RESULTS DAY?

Now that you know what to expect on A-Level results day you should be feeling a lot calmer. Preparation for the day is key so that you’re ready for all the potential outcomes.

Whatever your results may be, remember that A-levels are part of a bigger educational journey and are not the only path to career success. Keep calm, be prepared, and maintain a positive mindset and you will find exam results day is a lot more enjoyable than you might have imagined.

If you would like to find out more about how tutoring can support your educational journey, either at A-Level or undergraduate level, get in touch with us at JK Educate today. We offer a range of support and tutoring services for students of all ages and all levels, no matter what your needs are.

Call us today on 020 3488 0754, or complete our online enquiry form. We are ready to help you achieve your best.

HOW TO CHOOSE GCSE SUBJECTS

If you’re in Year 8 or Year 9 at school, you will soon be deciding on GCSE options that you will study until the end of Year 11. It’s an exciting time for students. This is the beginning of crafting your future education and career prospects, and the first opportunity to decide for yourself what you want to study.

For some students, this can be a daunting task. The subjects you choose will have an impact on your future education and career prospects, but try not to let this cause you anxiety. Choosing your GCSE options and having control of how you steer your education is enjoyable, empowering and rewarding.

So, what are the options for GCSE subjects? And how do you choose which GCSEs you would like to study? In this guide, we detail how to make the right GCSE choices for you, including how many GCSEs to take, and what to do if you are unhappy with your choices once you start.

Remember that this is the start of an exciting journey, view it with positivity and enthusiasm and you will not only enjoy the experience a lot more but are more likely to make the right choices.

How many GCSEs should I choose?

On average, most students study nine GCSE subjects, some less, some more. Remember your GCSE goal is to secure the best grades possible, in order to give yourself the best options for A-levels, university and beyond.

It’s important to note that the more GCSEs you take, the harder it will be for you to keep up with your studies, as you’ll be juggling many subjects at once. This will also leave less time for your other commitments and hobbies, which are important for maintaining good mental health and alleviating stress. If you overload yourself with too many GCSE subjects your grades will suffer so it is ultimately counterproductive.

While GCSE choices and grades are relevant to sixth form and university admissions, they are less critical for the majority of universities. Universities want to see that you can achieve good grades, not that you can get average grades in lots of subjects.

For more demanding degree courses like medicine or veterinary science, universities may have some minimum GCSE requirements. You can find these requirements on the university websites under the relevant course requirements. UCAS has some good advice and recommendations regarding GCSEs and how they impact university admissions and they have produced this guide for GCSE students.

For some students, there is a degree of competitiveness that creeps in when deciding how many GCSEs to take. But this attitude is unhelpful in order to make the right choices. Ultimately, the number of GCSEs you choose is not as important as the grades you achieve, so don’t obsess about this. Focus on what is right for you because it will be you doing the studying, revision and exams, not your peers.

Which GCSE subjects are compulsory?

Compulsory subjects that are mandatory to take at GCSE level are often referred to as the ‘core subjects’. These subjects are Maths, English, and Science. However, depending on your school you may be offered Science as a combined subject (earning you 2 grades). You may also be required to do an additional compulsory subject.

Let’s break it down by subject:

A GCSE in Maths is worth 1 GCSE overall and is compulsory in all schools.

A GCSE in English is a little more complicated: there are 2 separate GCSEs: English Language and English Literature. English Language is compulsory in all schools. The vast majority of schools will offer English Literature as an optional subject, and in some cases may require it as a compulsory GCSE.

Science GCSEs take one of two routes: Separate Science GCSEs (Biology, Physics and Chemistry) – also known as Triple Awards Sciences – will earn you 1 grade in each Science subject taken (or 3 grades if you take all 3 separate Science subjects). The Combined Science GCSE, which combines all three Science subjects into one course, will earn you 2 grades. This means that taking all 3 separate Science subjects is more work than taking Combined Science.

The Government requires students to complete Combined Science as a GCSE subject (earning you 2 grades). However, if your school doesn’t offer Combined Science, you will be required to choose at least 2 separate Science subjects as an alternative.

Different schools naturally have different preferences on what they wish their students to take for their GCSEs. This means schools have the option to make additional subjects compulsory as well as the ones advised by the Government. Common subjects for schools to choose to make mandatory are Religious Studies, History, Geography, and a Modern Foreign Language.

Check with your school to find out what GCSE formats are offered and which subjects are compulsory for you.

10 Tips for choosing GCSE subjects

Once you understand what GCSE options your school offers and which subjects are mandatory, you can then start to seriously consider which GCSEs you’d like to take. For some, this can be a time of anxiety and peer pressure, causing them to be indecisive or to make bad decisions. Remember above all else that your GCSE choices are YOURS.

Consider what you enjoy and what you’re good at. If you are one of the few Year 8/9 students that have a clear idea of what you would like to study in further education, or even know what career you would like to pursue, then this will influence your GCSE options and make your choices much easier.

For most GCSE students further studies and careers are a distant concept. There is nothing wrong with this whatsoever. If you fall into this category, then the tips we give below are even more pertinent and we hope will help you make clear, well-informed choices.

So, whether you know exactly what university course you are aiming for and what job you would love to do, or you feel overwhelmed with choices and have no clear future academic/career route, the tips below will help you make the best decisions that suit you.

Here are our top 10 tips to help you make good GCSE choices:

1) Choose Subjects You Enjoy

We cannot emphasise this enough. There is a strange misconception that examination study should be a chore and should require hard work with no pleasure. The truth is that subjects you enjoy at school are a signal for future career possibilities. It is likely a greater indicator of a passion or a talent than anything else and there is some benefit for future contentment in heading towards something you enjoy. Even if the subject will only ever be a hobby or interest, we all need these too.

Choosing a GCSE subject that you dislike will likely spell trouble ahead, making studies boring and laborious, and making it unlikely that you will go on to study that subject in higher education.

2) Consider Your Future Goals

You may not have a clear route map of where your studies are heading but you will know what subjects you enjoy and are good at, and therefore, what fields of work may be of interest in the future.

Maybe you enjoy the arts or are good at languages. Build on these strengths by continuing to study them. The subjects you enjoy are often the subjects that you will excel at.

If you don’t know what career you want to pursue (like most students at this stage), then you should aim to keep your options open. Studying a range of subjects will provide you with a good overview of different topics and different ways of studying. This can help you identify what subjects you’re best at and will mean different avenues are open to you at A-Levels.

Talk to your school’s career advisor to see if you can get a feel for what kind of career you might like to do.

3) Look at the Requirements of Sixth Forms and Universities

If you do have some ideas about further education, such as what you might like to study at sixth form and beyond, take a look at the requirements for these courses. Most schools, and pretty much all universities, publish on their websites the admission criteria for each course. If you can’t find the information contact the school or university and ask for a copy.

This information can greatly inform your GCSE choices. If you want to study medicine then you need to take a minimum of 2 Science subjects, ideally 3. If you want to study engineering, then Maths and Physics should be your first picks. If you want to become a History teacher, then you will need History GCSE.

4) Strike a balance

All good things in life require balance, and whilst we advise you to choose some GCSE subjects you enjoy and are passionate about it’s also important to strike a balance between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ subjects so that universities can see how varied your abilities are.

A ‘hard’ subject is another way of describing what’s called a facilitating subject – those preferred by universities when applying for a range of degrees. This includes core subjects like Maths and English, but also the three sciences, modern foreign languages, and things like economics and politics at A-Level.

‘Soft’ subjects are generally more practical or vocational, for example, photography, media studies, art and design, drama, and the social sciences. A balance between technical, academic, and practical subjects demonstrates that you’re a well-rounded learner.

5) Consider Workload and Timetabling

You should also aim to strike a balance in workload. Look at the marking scheme for each GCSE subject you are considering. Some GCSE subjects, such as Art and Drama, are based heavily on coursework, so if you find exams a struggle then you may want to balance your GCSE workload with some subjects that do not depend significantly on your exam results.

Be aware that timetabling also plays a part. For example, if Music and Drama lessons take place at the same time, you will have to choose which subject you would rather study. Try to choose subjects that complement each other, in terms of workload and timetabling but also subject combinations that keep your options open for the future.

6) Beware of ‘Non-Preferred’ Subjects

This caused some surprise a few years back when people became aware that some universities, and even some sixth forms, have a list of ‘non-preferred’ subjects that they take into account when assessing admission applications.

This is more of a consideration for you at A-Levels when the subjects you choose will heavily influence your university options and will be scrutinised by university admissions boards to which you apply. However, this can also be an issue for some of the top sixth forms and colleges so it’s worth being aware of.

Some top universities consider certain subjects too ‘soft’, and don’t challenge the skills and knowledge of their students. Examples of ‘soft’ A-Levels include PE and Sport Education, Art & Design, Business Studies and Performing Arts.

Being aware of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ A-Levels at GCSE stage can be very useful. Picking ‘hard’ GCSE subjects could put you in a better position to go on to pick A-level subjects that universities prefer, therefore making it easier to be accepted on a university course.

As a general guideline, consider picking mainly ‘hard’ GCSE subjects to keep your future options as open as possible, and then pick one or two ‘soft’ subjects because you’re really interested in them, or it specifically matches the direction you want to take.

7) Talk it Through With Teachers/Parents/Careers Advisors

Getting advice from others is a thorny topic. You should get advice from a variety of people who are experienced and knowledgeable – such as teachers, parents and careers advisors. It’s not a good idea to take advice from peers – who have no experience with the GCSE process and its future impacts and are just as likely to be confused or unsure as you are.

Teachers’ opinions are valuable, but not without potential bias. Teachers have a certain vested interest in attracting some students to subjects. If the student has an aptitude for a particular subject then the teacher will be extra keen to get the positive outcomes they will bring. Therefore, even though teachers act ethically and in the best interest of students, they are not unbiased. However, it is a good idea to speak to teachers and see if the subject is a good fit.

A careers adviser can assess your interests, skills, and goals, and help you decide what the most relevant subjects would be for you. You might have never considered working in accounting or marketing before, simply because you never knew what they involved. Don’t dismiss career options based on your preconceptions.

Take your parents, teachers and career advisor’s opinions on board but ultimately choose what’s right for you.

Now for some important don’t do’s…

8) Don’t Choose Subjects Because You’ve Heard They’re “Easy”

What’s easy for one person may be difficult for another. Choose your GCSEs based on your strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes, and take into account the points we’ve detailed above.

Maybe some of your friends think some of the ‘soft’ subjects are easier, but as we have already discussed, this is no way to choose your GCSE subjects and is likely to set you up for future failure rather than success.

Ultimately, the only easy subjects are the ones you enjoy and are good at. Another good reason to choose your subjects is based on your aptitudes and not those of others.

9) Don’t Choose a Subject Based on the Teacher

The chance that you get the same teacher in Year 10 is small. Schools like to give students a variety of different teachers and different approaches.

The personality of a teacher can make a subject more appealing, but choosing your GCSE subjects based on this is a big mistake. You may not have the same teacher next year, and without that teacher, will you still enjoy the subject? Teachers will leave schools, be allocated to different departments, or may not teach you when you change year groups. Bear this in mind when choosing.

10) Don’t copy your friends

Deciding what GCSEs to take is your decision and it will affect how you choose your A-Levels and later your university course. Make sure you are making GCSE decisions based on valid and honest reasoning.

Although taking the same classes as your friends may make your lessons more fun or give you someone to sit next to, having your friends around won’t help you when you have to sit tests and exams in that subject.

It’s therefore important not to choose something simply because others around you are. It also means that when you see your friends outside of lessons, you’ll have more to talk about, and you’re more likely to make new friends in your new classes.

When do I need to choose my GCSE options?

Thinking about what GCSE subjects to study should be done as soon as possible. You may not come to a final decision straight away but giving yourself time to contemplate makes the process less stressful and you’ll have time to research and get advice where needed.  

The deadline date for deciding on your GCSE subjects will differ from school to school. Students usually choose their GCSE subjects in Year 9, although some schools may let students choose their options in Year 8.

The exact time in Year 9 when students have to choose their GCSEs varies between different schools. Find out these key decision dates from your school. It’s important to know when these decisions have to be made, so you can be fully prepared and not have to rush.

What if I’m unhappy with my choices once I start?

If you feel really unhappy with a GCSE subject you have chosen, there is usually a chance to change. But this will depend on your school. Before making any changes, make sure that the subject you want to swap to won’t clash with any of your other GCSE options. And if you already have an idea of what A-Levels or university course you want to take, be sure you aren’t dropping a necessary subject.

It’s important to decide whether you want to continue with a subject or not as soon as possible after starting. This is because GCSEs are a lot of work, and you don’t want to have to start and catch up on a new GCSE subject after completing half of another one.

Remember, no door closes firmly shut just because of GCSE options. There are ways of narrowing focus later in your academic career, so try not to sweat the small stuff. If you’re unhappy with your GCSE choices talk to your head of year about switching before making any firm decisions.

Extra guidance and support

Follow these tips and you are sure to make the right GCSE decisions for you. However, we appreciate not everyone’s GCSE journey is so linear and straightforward.

If you need extra guidance and support JK Educate is here to help you through every step of your academic career. We offer face-to-face and online tutoring for 13+ entrance exams, GCSEs, A-Levels and more. Our services include GCSE revision workshops, mock exam practice, interview preparation, school admissions advice and academic assessments.

Our tutors have a proven track record, are passionate about education and love working with children. Our team is made up of deputy heads, senior managers, subject specialists and class teachers. So, whatever your educational needs JK Educate has the experience and resources to bring out the best in you or your child.

Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help. Call us on 020 3488 0754, or contact us through the website.

What’s the Difference? State School Versus Private School

How does the 11+ compare?

The Importance of Choosing the Right School

Deciding on the right school and educational journey for your child is one of the most crucial and future-defining decisions a parent can make. It’s no wonder that the decision is fraught with hesitation and uncertainty.

The UK education sector is broadly divided into two main types of schools: private schools and state schools. Here we discuss the key differences between a state school and a private school and how these two types of schools are set up and run.

Our aim is to give you better insight into the UK school system and the variations between a private school and state school, to help you make an informed decision and provide the best possible education to your child.

Here at JK Educate we are experts in helping families get the best out of the UK education system. We support children and their parents on their educational journey through our tutoring and consultancy services. We are here to provide expert insight into the school system to enable you, the parent, to navigate the best course for your child.

If you would like to know more about how we can help you and your child please refer to our available services or get in touch by phone on 020 3488 0754.

What’s the Difference Between Private Schools and State Schools?

There are some key differences between a private school and a state school. These differences will play a huge difference in the educational experience for your child, the level of support they receive, the subjects available to them, and how the school is regulated. Let’s take a look:

What is a State school?

All state schools are one hundred per cent government or local authority funded. Students are typically selected based on their proximity to the school and do not pay a fee to attend. There are several types of state schools, which can make the matter confusing. The most common ones are:

  • Community schools, also called local authority-maintained schools or comprehensive schools. These schools are not influenced by business or religious groups, follow the government’s national curriculum and are fully regulated by the government. There is no entrance exam or fees to pay, children are accepted into the school based on the proximity of their home to the school, known as a catchment area.
  • Foundation schools and voluntary schools, are funded by the local authority in which they are located but have more freedom to change the way they do things compared to community schools. For example, foundation schools are sometimes supported and governed by representatives from religious groups.
  • Grammar schools can be run by the local authority, a foundation body or an academy trust – they select students based on academic ability through an entrance exam (known as the 11+), prioritising places for students who achieve the highest scores. The 11+ exam focuses on students’ knowledge of maths, English, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning skills.
  • Academies and free schools, are run by not-for-profit academy trusts and are independent of the local authority. As a result, they have more freedom to change how they run things (such as setting their own term times) and can follow a different curriculum. Trustees of the academy are responsible for the performance and standards of the school. Academies are often supported by sponsors such as businesses, universities, other schools, or faith groups.

What is a Private School?

Private schools, also known as independent schools, public schools, non-governmental, privately funded, or non-state schools. Private schools are not funded or governed by the government or local authorities and are privately owned and funded. As such they do not have to follow the curriculum set out by the government and have the freedom to administer the school as they see fit.

Funding typically takes the form of charging a term or yearly fee to students, and often also incorporates financial support from businesses and universities. Private schools are governed by a board of trustees and governors who oversee regulations and standards.

Admission to a private school often requires an entrance exam and interview. Many offer scholarships for students of exceptional academic talent or other abilities, such as sports or music, for example.

In the past, private schools were often referred to as public schools. However, the term ‘public school’ is misleading. ‘Public school’ originally referred to a small group of boys’ boarding schools which, in 1868, were given independence from the Crown, church or government in favour of management by a board of governors. The original seven were Charterhouse, Eton College, Winchester College, Harrow School, Rugby School, Shrewsbury School, and Westminster. Nowadays, there are hundreds of private schools, consisting of boys, girls, co-education, boarding and day schools.

State School versus Private School – Key Differences

The greatest difference between a state school versus a private school is the funds available to the school. The higher level of funding in private schools allows greater facilities and opportunities to be provided to their students. As the key objective of most private schools is to train high-achieving students to enter top universities, many have established a working system and schedule that specifically targets such needs.

Here are some of the key differences:

Extra-curricular activities

One of the key benefits of attending a private school is the extra-curricular activities on offer. In state schools, extra-curricular activities are few and far between (especially in recent years with cost cutting across state schools resulting in many extra-curricular activities being axed). They are often considered as an ‘extra’ in that they are not thought of as key elements in a child’s education. Extra-curricular activities in state schools tend to focus on sports, although grammar schools are known for their academic focus which sometimes reflects in the extra-curricular activities that they offer.

In private schools, a broad range of extra-curricular activities are offered and are seen as an integral part of a child’s education. Extra-curricular activities often include a wider variety of different sports practice, visual and performing arts, clubs of all kinds, advanced sports training, interest groups, community service and volunteering awards schemes, such as the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme.

This can give students opportunities to explore more interests, become more well-rounded and gain deep-rooted passions. Not to mention giving students experience of collaborating in groups, managing their schedules, helping students to build a network at an early age, and encouraging them to explore and define their own personalities.

In addition, private schools tend to place an emphasis on offering more support for struggling students or students with specific needs which can be harder to access in state schools.

Government regulation

State schools are bound to government regulation and must adhere to the national curriculum, ensuring that all children in UK state schools receive the same teachings at the same time. Some state-run academies and foundation schools can adapt their curriculum to reflect their organisational purpose – such as a faith-based school including more religious lessons, for example.

Private schools, however, are free to set their own curriculum that they deem most beneficial for their students. This freedom allows private schools to adopt a curriculum and standards that expand beyond the limitations of most state schools. Intellectual, philosophical and religious programming, for example, can be integrated into the school curriculum.

Some people feel the national curriculum is too prescriptive and can be a hindrance to teaching quality in state schools, leaving less room for passionate teachers who might want to deviate from the main curriculum. This could result in children that are fantastic at passing tests, but less academically rounded than their privately-schooled counterparts.

All state schools require government certifications for teachers, while private schools may prioritise advanced degrees in the subject matter. Private schools may also accept teacher certifications from other educational organisations outside of the state-recognised certifications. Due to the nature of funding in private schools, it is common that teachers in private schools are paid more than in state schools, as a result, private schools are often able to attract and retain higher-level and/or more experienced teachers.

The availability of IGCEs in many UK private schools is a good example of how a non-government-regulated curriculum can offer students a wider variety of core choices and opportunities for future education. IGCEs (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) is the ‘international’ version of the GCSE qualification and is highly recognised and respected. This is beneficial for students who may wish to study abroad in the future.

Class sizes

There is a marked difference in class sizes between private schools and state schools. Primary and secondary schools see the biggest variation in class numbers, whereas A-level classes in both state and private schools have more comparable class sizes and remain typically small.

UK state-run primary schools have the largest class sizes – averaging 26.7 students per class in 2021/2022. In state-run schools a class is not deemed ‘large’ until it has over 30 students, at which point a 2nd teacher or teaching assistant is required in class to ensure that all children can be taught adequately. In private primary schools, the average class size is 16 students – that’s nearly 40% less than their state-run counterparts.

We can also see a stark difference in secondary school classes (pupils aged 11 to 15). In key stage 3, there are, on average, 22.3 students per class in state schools compared with 15 in private secondary school classes.

According to the Private Education Policy Forum (PEPF), the average student-to-teacher ratio across all classes (primary and secondary) is 8.6 students to 1 teacher in private schools compared to 17.9 students to 1 teacher in state schools. That’s double the number of students in a state-run school.

This means that students receive more teacher attention in private schools. This helps children to learn more effectively as it provides students with the chance to interact more with teachers, build confidence, ask questions, and get the attention they need to learn and progress.

Small class sizes also significantly improve class participation and interest in learning, as teachers can cater to the learning styles of different students and give more constructive feedback.

Most children have at least one subject that they struggle with at some point in their educational journey. Large class sizes can compound the issue as children struggle to get the attention they need from an overworked teacher, and the teacher has less time to notice and help students who need extra assistance. This can be demoralising for a child whose confidence can be affected by such a situation, and made worse if they feel they are unable to ask and answer questions in class.

At JK Educate, we offer personalised one-to-one tuition to students of any age and any ability. Our long-established and widely respected UK tuition agency delivers a raft of support for parents and students who want to get the very best out of their education. Browse our services or call us on 020 3488 0754 to find out how we can help you and your child achieve excellence in education.

Setting Your Child Up for the Future

While there is certainly more to consider than just class sizes and the availability of extra-curricular activities when choosing the right school for your child, the areas detailed above give an overview of the key differences between state schools versus private schools in the UK. When deciding on a child’s academic journey most parents are concerned about the academic potential and performance, along with the future academic and career prospects that they provide.

Although some studies have shown that students in the top sets of both private schools and state schools produce similar exam results, it can be argued that private schools produce children with a greater level of soft skills and have more networking opportunities. This can set them up well for success at university and in life.

It appears that most of the advantages of private schools are achieved through higher levels of available funding. Of course, there are always exceptions. There are some state schools that have more generous funding and some private schools that have less. Nonetheless, according to PEPF, the private versus state resources gap is approximately 3 to 1 on average. In other words, a privately-educated pupil will have three times the amount of money spent on their education as a pupil in a state school.

It’s not difficult to imagine how this translates into better facilities and learning opportunities for private school students. Many studies show the advantages and higher success rates for private school students when they go on to study at university or enter the job market. Here are a few top-level statistics:

  • According to The Guardian, although only 10% of pupils are privately educated, more than 40% of UK athletes who won medals in the London 2012 Olympics had attended independent schools. As well as the quality of the sporting facilities themselves, private school pupils also tend to have the opportunity to try different types of sporting activities than their state school-educated contemporaries.
  • A study of university entrants in 2013, found that 60% of independently educated students went to university, in comparison to 48% in the state sector. Of the 60% of independently educated university entrants, 37% went to a Russell Group member, such as the Universities of London, York or Warwick and 5% were admitted to Oxford or Cambridge. On the other hand, only 11% of just under half of the state school pupils who went to university attended a Russell Group institution and just 1% went to Oxford or Cambridge.
  • The Guardian reported that although only 7% of British children attend fee-paying schools, students from private schools make up 39% of Cambridge undergraduates (at Oxford, the figure is 43.2%).
  • A PEFP study noted that by the age of 42, men who had been privately educated were earning up to 34% more than their state-educated contemporaries. The gap was slightly closer in the case of women, with those who were independently educated earning 21% more than state school attendees. Even soon after graduation, the pay gap between private and state-school educated peers is evident: within six months the average difference is £1,300 per annum.

A Solid Base for Future Success

For parents who have this critical decision to make there are many variables to be considered in addition to the basic private school versus state school option. This includes the availability of schools in the area, funding and scholarship opportunities, family resources available to fund fee-paying studies, the learning style and strengths of the child, the philosophy and approach of the school, amongst many others. It certainly is a minefield.

If you are confused by the UK education system, you certainly are not alone. At JK Educate it’s our business to know the UK education system inside and out. We provide private tuition, child assessments, and education consultancy to children of all ages and abilities. If you would like help navigating the UK school system and want to give your child the best chance of success contact us today via our website or call on 020 3488 0754 to find out how we can help.

 

How to Get a 9 in GCSE Maths and Science

The GCSE grading system

Since the Government grading system changed from the alphabetic system (A* to G) to the new numerical system running from 9 to 1, it’s become much harder to get the highest grade. A 9 in GCSE Maths or Science is a higher grade than an A* was, as it is meant to differentiate the very top achieving pupils.

In 2022, Grade 9s made up 6.6% of all results in England across all GCSE subjects. So how can you ace GCSE Maths and Science? Here we give you our best tips to achieve success.

Start from a solid base

To excel in GCSE Maths and Science exams, you need to put the work in. Practice makes perfect, as we all know. You’ll need to work hard throughout your GCSE years in order to get a 9 in any subject, putting in regular effort rather than leaving it all until exam time.

If you’re aiming for a Grade 9 then you may need to look further afield for resources, other than just past papers, to help you excel in your weaker areas. If your school doesn’t provide study opportunities to review topics that you’d like to work on, then seriously consider attending an online revision workshop, like the online GCSE revision workshops that we regularly schedule at JK Educate. You can see the April schedule here.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to get a 9 in GCSE Maths and GCSE Science, here are some important general revision tips:

General revision tips

  1. Before you begin

Start with a complete set of classwork notes. Missed a class? Be sure to get a copy of the notes from your classmates or teacher. Review your notes against the syllabus to ensure you have everything in the syllabus covered. Are there any topics that have you baffled? Seek clarification from your school teacher or JK Tutor before you begin revising.

  1. Review the exam board specification

The specification contains everything that students need to know, understand and be able to do. Revision guides and textbooks follow the specification to a certain degree, but you should always use the specification first. This is to see exactly what you have to learn. You can then use your revision resources to learn or revise it. The specifications are all freely available from the exam board websites.

  1. Get comfortable with the structure of exam questions

It’s important to remember that all the exam questions are written from the board specifications. They are not based on textbooks or revision guides. If you look at mark schemes for recent past papers, you’ll see that every answer tells you which part of the specification the question comes from. The specification is very important. This is one of the many reasons past papers are so useful to have in your revision arsenal.

  1. Know what % score you need

The percentage needed for a grade 9 varies from year to year, depending on how other examinees have done. Grade 9 is generally awarded to those in the top 5% or 1 in 20 candidates. Know what you’re aiming for and review back to your existing marks and what percentage score you need in the exam to score a 9.

  1. Start as you mean to go on

Studying little and often is more effective than cramming at the last minute, so try to revise whenever you have an opportunity. Ideally, your final exam revision should have started in February, after your mock exams. Attend revision sessions whenever possible. Remember that JK offers GSCE revision workshops in all the major subjects.

  1. Gain comprehension:

While memorisation is important in learning, comprehension is the key to retaining information over the long term. One helpful way to build comprehension of a topic is to read it aloud. Another great way is to teach someone else, as this recalls the information from your memory and helps to solidify your knowledge.

If you have a younger sibling, they are your perfect students! If not, then set up a revision study group with other classmates and take turns asking each other questions or explaining a topic in detail to the group.

Top tips for getting a grade 9 in GCSE Maths and Science

Now, let’s get specific about maths and science revision. If you really want that grade 9 you need to put the effort in. Here’s how you can boost your revision efforts to give yourself the best chance of success.

  1. Make the most of past papers

Past papers are an excellent way to practise your maths and science skills and to find out where your weaknesses lie. You can then use this knowledge to work extra hard in those areas that you are less confident in.

However, just doing past papers isn’t enough. After each paper, you need to either mark it yourself or get someone else to mark it for you. Identify every section that you got wrong, then revise and practise that entire topic. Even if the question was 2 marks. Remember that those 2 marks can be the stepping stone between a grade 8 and a 9.

  1. Redo your mistakes until you cannot get them wrong

Past papers, quizzes, and revision workbooks can all help you identify your weak points. These are the areas where you need to focus your efforts (but be sure to revise the whole syllabus and not just the trickier topics). Remember to keep working on a topic or question until you never get it wrong, not just until you can get it right once or twice. This is essential if you want to maximise marks when it comes to exam time.

  1. Practise your mental arithmetic

Each exam board has some papers where calculators aren’t allowed, so don’t overlook the value of mental maths. You should be able to calculate simple arithmetic problems quickly and accurately, know your times tables up to 13 by heart, and be confident working with common fractions and decimals.

As well as mental maths, make sure you’re using the same calculator that you’ll be using in your exams from the start of your course (don’t use your phone calculator!) and learn all of the functions it has. For example, most calculators can store numbers in memory, give answers in standard form and give results to a specified number of significant figures, so make sure you get to know all the useful things your calculator can do for you.

  1. Workbooks

Practice papers and topic revision aren’t the only ways. Many of you may have already heard about the CGP books. They publish revision workbooks that are targeted at achieving grade 8 – 9. The workbooks are challenging, don’t let that put you off, you need to stretch yourself if you’re going to achieve that much sought after grade 9.

You can find grade 8-9 targeted books from CGP on their website.

  1. Find past examiners reports

Examiners usually release reports after exam season that detail how well students’ achieved that year and highlight common mistakes that were made. You can find these reports for free on the examination board’s website and are worth taking note of. For example, common mistakes in recent GCSE maths exams include dealing with 3D problems, knowing formulae, using calculators and organising the workings of how the problem was solved.

While you’re on the examination board’s website, you should also download a copy of the formula and data sheets which are available for Maths, Physics and Chemistry. These sheets contain all the formulae that you need to know, be sure to memorise them and be confident in using them.

  1. Revision workshops

Get yourself booked into one of our online GCSE revision workshops. This is a great way to relearn difficult topics, think about them in new ways, solidify knowledge and gain valuable insights from our experienced tutors. Check out the revision workshops we run every springtime here.

Our specialist maths and science tips are courtesy of JK Educate tutor Hiren Koyani.

To find out more about how JK Educate can help you or your child achieve GCSE success, contact us on 0203 488 0754, email us, or fill out our online enquiry form.

How many A Levels can you take?

Students are offered little respite as they jump straight into A levels after completing their GCSE exams. Pupils will normally be asked to select their desired A level subjects before March of year 11. It is incredibly important to pick the A level topics based on strengths and interests, as these topics will play a critical role in students future prospects. That is why you need to be well-informed on what they should study and how many they should realistically add to their workload.

What are A Level Qualifications?

A levels (Advanced Level Qualifications) are offered to students in the United Kingdom who have passed their secondary school education. They are a respected form of higher education that universities and professional sectors require you to complete in order to be accepted onto undergraduate degree courses or into a new job. Often studied over a two-year period, they are designed to help students develop a deep understanding of their chosen subjects.

A levels are typically divided into a variety of subjects, including arts, sciences and humanities. The grades a student can achieve in their A level exams range from A* to E. These are used by universities to help determine eligibility for admission and to make decisions about scholarships and financial aid.

As well as providing a barometer for universities to make their course selections, A levels are also an excellent way for students to gain transferable skills, such as critical thinking, problem-solving and communication, that are valuable across any discipline or profession.

How many A Levels do you need?

Universities and other higher education institutes require a minimum of three A levels to qualify for their courses – including the top performing Russell Group universities like Oxford and Cambridge. More may be needed depending on the individual course, but it is rare for a university to demand more than three.

You are, however, able to take as many as five A level qualifications upon completing your key stage four GCSEs or equivalent exams. Why would you take more than you need? At certain schools and colleges, students will be encouraged to take more to broaden their opportunities and personal development. Students may want to increase their chances of qualifying for different university courses. Each university will ask for A levels in specific fields depending on the nature of the degree. For example, a data science course might ask for students to have passed A levels in maths and physics to accept their application. By taking up to five A levels, students will be able to broaden their interests and therefore keep their options open as to their next academic steps.

The obvious downside to taking more than three A levels is the amount of work that needs to be completed. Just like their GCSEs, students will have to attend classes, study, and pass exams in each individual course – and this is where JK Educate can help.

How JK Educate helps you pass your A Levels

Qualifying with three A levels is more than enough hard work for the vast majority of students. JK Educate offers outstanding A Level tutoring from our pool of experienced teachers and professional tutors to help students thoroughly prepare for their exams. JK tutored students achieve success either through our sustained programmes or short-term boosters. Whether they need to get back on track with their studies, need specific preparation for an exam or subject, or just need that extra all-round support, JK Educate has the expertise to develop students’ skills outside the classroom.

Tutoring to suit your needs

JK Educate tutoring is available in-person in London or online internationally. We cater to all situations to deliver the best service possible. During summer months or Easter breaks, many of our JK students like to keep up with their studies via our online tutoring.

Our programmes are flexible to suit students’ individual situations, including:

  • Long-term A level tutors to offer support throughout the course, as often as daily or weekly.
  • Short-term tuition before mock or final exams to help with last minute revision.
  • Tutoring sessions during a school holiday, to cover A Level topics learned during the previous term.

Contact Us

If you or your A level student would benefit from:

  • One-on-one learning to focus on needs and strengths.
  • Targeted support for a specific A level subject or topic.
  • More confident exam preparation.
  • A personalised study plan.

Contact the JK Educate team to find a tutor today, or learn more about our A level tutoring.

How to take care of your Child’s Mental Health

How to take care of your Child’s Mental Health

Education and exams can be stressful no matter your age. But it is easy to forget that children feel the same pressures and anxieties as adults, whether it is in relation to physical or mental challenges, academic performance or school exams. Children understand the impact their education has in determining the schools they attend and their future careers. That is why it is vital we make ourselves available to support and nurture their talents during some of the toughest periods of their lives yet.

As parents, carers or guardians, we should be prepared to talk with our children and be alert to their thoughts and feelings. We should be on hand to offer advice and reinforce that we are here to help. Some children require more encouragement or extra academic aid.

Mental health in younger children

Even young children feel stressed, sad or anxious, and these emotions can affect their long-term mental wellbeing. It is possible for them to respond negatively to their daily life or education, so we must monitor and manage them as carers. Many may think that mental health is less of a worry in young children. But like any other age, we must keep a close eye on this aspect of their lives.

It is possible to use reablement techniques to maintain support for younger children. Reablement is a type of short-term rehabilitation service that helps people after a hospital stay, illness, or injury. Young children who have experienced stressful situations, as well as illnesses that have affected their ability to perform both educational and daily activities, may benefit from this.

Reablement helps children regain skills and independence. It usually involves aiding a child’s everyday activities such as bathing, dressing, and using the toilet independently. It might also include rehabilitation exercises to regain physical strength and mobility. These techniques will give your child the future confidence to carry out fundamental tasks.

Mental health during exam season

Exams are some of the most stressful times in a child’s life. They are yet another pressure on top of a society growing in concerns for the health of the planet and our living situations. Consider whether your child needs tutoring to give them the confidence they need to prepare for their exams, be it in advance of national exams or entrance exams as your child makes to move to a secondary school. That will involve learning more about your child’s thoughts and feelings and being aware of the actions you can take to alleviate as much stress as possible.

Communicate clearly and openly with your child. Make sure they know they can come to you at any time for help. Cooperate with them to explore different ways to cope with stress when times get tough. Ensure they are not suffering from any external stresses you can control. Encourage them to take breaks from revision if they find themselves overworked, and to enjoy physical exercise, hobbies and healthy eating.

Seeking Professional Help

Loving and supporting your child no matter their struggles and providing a safe, stable environment are key ingredients in maintaining good mental health – but in some cases this may not be enough. If your situation is escalating and you recognise severe mental health symptoms, seek medical help from a professional.

There are several types of medical professionals who can aid in maintaining a stable mental health: a child and adolescent psychiatrist or psychologist, a clinical social worker or a counsellor. Ask your local GP, paediatrician or school counsellor for the best option to suit your child’s situation.

What is the 7+ exam?

The 7+ exam is an assessment used by many academically high-performing prep schools as part of their admissions process for children aged 7 and above. It is designed to assess a child’s learning potential by using a variety of verbal, non-verbal, and quantitative reasoning tasks. If your child performs well in these exams, they will have more of a chance to be accepted into these distinguished schools.

You may think it is a little too early for a 7-year-old to take seated exams. But some parents opt for the 7+ over the following 11+ exams to relieve some of the stress children might experience whilst also completing their key stage 2 national exams in year 6. The 7+ exams are continuing to grow in popularity, and so we now accommodate more specialised 7+ tutors than ever to help prepare and support your child.

Your child could sit up to three 7+ exams for maths, English and reasoning. They usually take place in the Spring term for the beginning of the next academic year in September. Below is an outline of what they should expect when they take them.

What is on the 7+ maths exam paper?

In maths, your child will be expected to know at least their 2, 3, 4, 5 and 10 times tables and apply them in real world scenarios. Basic concepts of time, money and shape, will also be covered. The 7+ maths exam typically includes:

  • Problem-solving tasks using basic arithmetic such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
  • The need for quick and accurate mental calculations.
  • Problems that involve making comparisons or estimates.
    Fractions, decimals, and percentages.
  • Interpreting data, such as graphs and tables.

What is on the 7+ English exam paper?

The English exam leans heavily into creating writing and text comprehension. Your child will be asked to select facts from a reading and make answers in full sentences. The 7+ English exam will involve:

  • Reading a piece of text and answering questions about it.
  • Vocabulary questions requiring the correct definition of words and their use in sentences.
  • Grammar and syntax, where the child must identify and correct errors in a sentence or paragraph.
  • Spelling questions.
  • Writing tasks, in which your child must write a short essay or story based on a prompt.

What is on the 7+ reasoning exam paper?

More schools are now returning to using the reasoning exam because it displays your child’s learning potential. The contents of the reasoning exam are not on the national curriculum and so many parents feel they cannot help their child prepare adequately. This is where our tutors can help.

The reasoning exam is split into two parts:

Verbal

  • Puzzles, like identifying the missing word in a series of related words.
  • Analogy questions, spotting the relationship between two words and choosing a word that completes the analogy
  • Synonym and antonym questions.
  • Sorting words into categories based on shared characteristics.

Non-verbal

  • Pattern recognition tasks, paying attention to colours, sizes, angles and directions.
  • Riddles, sudokus and other word puzzles.
  • Spatial awareness tasks using Lego, jigsaw puzzles or even Rubik’s cubes.
  • Visual puzzles, interpreting diagrams or images.
  • Analysing the properties of different shapes and forms.
  • Reading information presented in graphs, tables, or charts.

What are the benefits of 7+ tutoring?

With the aid of a 7+ tutor, your child will be fully prepared with what to expect when they see the questions on the exam papers above. They will know what tasks they will have to answer, and how to process them within the allotted time. Here are the three main benefits of taking on a 7+ tutor:

  1. Our tutors are experts at identifying where children excel and where they need the most support in order to provide a fully comprehensive, fully personalised tutoring programme. This will provide them with a far higher chance to be accepted into your chosen academic school to receive a high-quality education.
  2. Acceptance into your chosen prep school is not only based on the results from the 7+ exams. They will take into account your child’s full academic record and personal qualities. Our tutors recognise this. Your child will feel an increased confidence in communicating and learning with a one-on-one tutor. They will reinforce key concepts and skills to help solidify their overall performance.
  3. Tutoring encourages independence and improved study habits. They will be more in tune with their time management skills and more focused on their learning, which will be instrumental in further academic success.

Find out more about our in-person or online 7+ tutoring programme. Call 020 3488 0754 or email us to select a 7+ tutor for your child.